Never judge a beast by his feral furry covering is one of those time-honoured messages.
With Disney about to release a new version of Beauty & the Beast next year, Pahiatua Repertory is bringing the musical fairytale of Belle and her ‘‘companion animal’’ based on the well-loved 1991 animated movie, to the Tararua stage.
Director Hayden Giles said it was a huge show, one of the biggest the society had attempted.
Opening in Pahiatua’s Regent Theatre this week, Beauty & the Beast is the culmination of a mammoth effort by cast, crew, technicians and costumiers.
The costumes are the Weta Workshop-designed pieces of wearable art used for the 2008 Abbey Musical Theatre production.
‘‘Some of them for the characters of Cogsworth, Madame de la Grande Bouche and Mrs Potts are massive. It’s been inter- esting given the constraints of the Pahiatua theatre. Characters moving backstage have to be choreographed as carefully as they are onstage.’’
Some of the cozzies were a little worse for wear, and Giles praised his wardrobe department for repairing and for remaking some of them - namely the wolf and gargoyle costumes.
‘‘They’ve been awesome. This is the home of real community theatre - everybody does everything to as professional standard as we can get it.’’
The show may be a tight fit, but Giles is promising an expansive approach to the production.
‘‘We’re using gobo lighting, and this is the first Pahiatua production to use moving lights, and the first to use three projectors.
Steve Jenkins, Growltiger/Gus the Theatre Cat in the Abbey’s production of Cats plays the Beast, with Katie Monaghan as ‘‘the perfect Disney princess’’.
Nick Ross plays Gaston, while Globe Award winners Bruce Sinclair is Cogsworth and Grant Miller is Lumiere.
Musical director Shane Brown presides over a four-piece band that includes a flute, to deliver the challenging score.
‘‘There’s a lot of magic happening, and it’s something we are really proud of,’’ Giles said.
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Bruce Sinclair (Cogsworth), Grant Miller (Lumiere), Sarah Donnelly (Mrs Potts), Danielle Macdonald (Babette) and Gail Lucinsky (Madame de la Grande Bouche) in ‘‘Beauty and the Beast’’.