Beast show a little beauty
Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is a huge show. It requires expansive performances, monumental music, great singing, a ginormous set, and king-sized costumes.
The Pahiatua Repertory production of the musical fairytale showed just what can be accomplished in a little theatre with a big vision and a committed cast and crew.
Beautiful but bookish, independentlyminded Belle is trying to escape the unwelcome attentions of one beast, the self-centred vainglorious hunter, Gaston, and falls into the clutches of another.
Transformed into a monstrous creature by enchantment as punishment for his beastly attitudes, the stoney-hearted prince must find true love or forever be a bad-tempered brute.
His household retainers are likewise transformed into pieces of furniture, crockery and kitchen utensils, con-
Beauty and the Beast By Menken, Ashman & Rice Director Hayden Giles Musical director Shane Brown Choreographer Hannah Mills Pahiatua Repertory November 17 - December 3
demned to remain so unless the spell can be broken.
Katie Monaghan’s Belle had the right warm-hearted but no-nonsense demeanour for the role, handling her solos and duets with aplomb. The only problem was that the soaring backing track sometimes drowned out the words, and this affected performances across the production.
As the Beast, Steve Jenkins sang well but could afford to have a bigger presence, and milk the fearsomeness of his costume more.
Nick Ross as Gaston, ably assisted by Jason Ngarimu as his wimpy slapstick sidekick Lefou, hit all the right boastful buttons and was the ideal centrepiece for the lighter-hearted ensemble numbers.
An admirably animated Grant Miller shone inside the Weta Workshop candle suit as the as the lady-killing lothario, Lumiere. Miller’s illuminating performance was abetted by Sarah Donnelly’s Mrs Potts, Danielle Macdonald as feather-duster Babette, Bruce Sinclair as the crusty Cogsworth, and the delightfully expressive face of Ryan Ngarimu as Chip, the teacup.
The Weta-designed costumes are still impressive pieces of wearable art.
Director Hayden Giles, who also made an effective cameo as asylum keeper M D’Arque, kept it clipping along, the quick scene changes courtesy of overhead screen projections and wheeled-on sets.
With its "be kind to others" message, this confident and colourful production is in tune with seasonal sentiments.
Bruce Sinclair as Cogsworth with Grant Miller’s Lumiere in the Pahiatua Repertory Society’s production of "Beauty and the Beast".