IF YOU do just one thing in what’s left of the Easter school holidays this year, get along to see what is easily as good as a West End show here at Eastbourne’s Congress Theatre - Beauty and the Beast.
The show is the latest offering from the Rattonians and Rattonian Youth Group and is a polished and professional adaptation of the classic Disney tale of the handsome but conceited prince, who is turned into a beast - and his staff into statues - until he learns to love and be loved before a magical rose loses all of its petals.
Chloe Shearer is fantastic as the beautiful young bookworm Belle who eventually falls in love with Alex Adams’ beast. Add in Belle’s eccentric father Maurice, played by producer and director Mark Adams, Damon Willer who is a brilliantly funny Gaston, the jilted and self-centred suitor from Belle’s village, and a magnificent cast of more than 110 including children as young as seven and you have the perfect ingredients for an all singing, all dancing spectacular.
Our favourite scene was Be Our Guests when half the cast take to the stage dressed as knives, forks, napkins, plates, candles along with Mrs Potts, played by co-producer Melanie Adams.
There were a couple of first night hitches with the sound, but the scenery is colourful, the costumes amazing and there are some familiar songs which you can join in with and enjoy thanks to the real live music from the musicians.
There are so many star performances to mention - the wonderful James Bell as Cogsworth, Thomas Hackett as Lumiere, Jonathan Stephens’ portrayal of Lefou and the lovely operatic Kathryn Greenwood as Madame de la Grande Bouche. And of course the lead performers Chloe and Alex.
But everyone in this slick production deserves a huge pat on the back for such a professional show. From the smiles on everyone’s faces up on the stage, they enjoyed it as much as we did it.