A beaut of a clas­sic re­told

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - MUSIC MATTERS -

My sixyearold’s fan­ci­ful hopes of a foot-tap­ping Dis­neyesque pro­duc­tion of Beauty and the Beast were quickly dashed by the first glimpse of the min­i­mal­ist set.

No, this was Peter­bor­ough’s en­ter­pris­ing Lam­p­house The­atre do­ing what it does best: Im­pro­vised set with a hand­ful of props - a wardrobe which is a por­tal to many places in­clud­ing a loo - an arm­chair, some steps, a suit­case and a model vil­lage and cas­tle - with a cast of just three play­ing all the parts. Quirky and a lit­tle bit bonkers at times, it was as en­ter­tain­ing as it was unique.

The trio make their first ap­pear­ance as the nar­ra­tors, staff of the Prince (played by James Blake But­ler) and stricken by the same curse that had trans­formed him into Beast.

And through their sto­ry­telling, char­ac­ter switches, mu­sic, song and hu­mour pro­vide 90-min­utes of great en­er­gised the­atre as the search for a good woman for him to love (Bee, played by Zoe Bul­lock) - only after a case of mis­taken iden­tity with her mother (Jill Dowse).

I did en­joy the in­ter­play be­tween the char­ac­ters and pup­pets in play­ing out a num­ber of scenes, par­tic­u­larly the tum­bling ma­sonry from the cas­tle. And the jour­ney to the cas­tle was clev­erly por­trayed to great ef­fect.

The char­ac­ter­i­sa­tion of the Beast (cos­tume made by Daniel Cook from Sys­tem of Strings the­atre com­pany) first seen in sil­hou­ette, was also a tri­umph.

Look out for per­for­mances through De­cem­ber at lam­p­housethe­atre.co.uk

Re­view: Brad Barnes

Photo from Thomas By­ron Pho­tog­ra­phy

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