Beauty and the Beast spins its magic

THE ROSE: Transformed from a disdainful prince, Tahi Paenga’s Beast must win the heart of Belle, played by Amelia Williams, before the last petal of a rose falls in Gisborne Musical Theatre’s full-scale production of Beauty and the Beast that opened to a full house last night. Picture by Stephen Jones Photography
Beauty and the Beast
Beauty and the Beast
Beauty and the Beast
Beauty and the Beast
Beauty and the Beast
Beauty and the Beast
Beauty and the Beast
Beauty and the Beast
Beauty and the Beast
Beauty and the Beast
Beauty and the Beast

"THERE'S a live orchestra?" a nearby audience member asked during interval at the opening of Musical Theatre Gisborne’s Beauty and the Beast last night.

“That’s magic.”

And magic it was. Driven by upbeat Disney energy, technicolour, fairytale sentimentality and a full orchestra – yes, Rebecca, a magic orchestra – the John Drummond-directed show is packed with variety, volume and unforgettable characters.

When Belle’s inventor father, played by Walter Walsh, is imprisoned in the Beast’s palace, Belle takes his place. A magic spell means the once-snooty prince, now hideous beast, must win Belle’s love so he can be restored to his noble self.

Debut actor Tahi Paenga’s growly Beast and Amelia Williams' spirited Belle are at the heart of the production but the richness of other characters, and huge chorus lines, spreads the onstage star light.

Peter Derby’s performance as Lumiere, the French-accented, hugely expressive candlestick holder was, well, magical, as was Lee Pascoe’s clock-character Cogsworth. Among other household items was Heather Derby, who explored her inner teapot to play a floating Mrs Potts and singer Madeleine Jones, as Mme De La Grande Bouche, was cast as a wardrobe.

Myles Ashworth as the chest-thumping Gaston, and would-be husband to Belle, chewed up the scenery – the inn-dance scene was a wonder – and his slapstick sidekick Le Fou threatened to steal the show.

There are too many secondary characters, dancers and singers to mention them all, but as an ensemble they bubble with energy and depth of character.

As with the relentless pace of the production, scene changes are swift. This is all the more remarkable given the size, depth and complexity of the palace, the west wing turret (complete with library), and the dioramic forest, not to mention Jasmine Sargent’s beautifully choreographed, stage-swelling, surrealistically costumed song and dance numbers.

The Beast’s transformation is glorious and brought some audience members to their feet. Where Paenga’s Beast played only beastliness it was as the reborn Prince that the accomplished singer excelled.

The musicians are a little hard to see over people’s heads but keep an eye on the Beauty and the Beast Orchestra, including members from all the orchestras and bands in Gisborne, conducted by Chris Reynolds.

It’s magic.

"THERE'S a live orchestra?" a nearby audience member asked during interval at the opening of Musical Theatre Gisborne’s Beauty and the Beast last night.

“That’s magic.”

And magic it was. Driven by upbeat Disney energy, technicolour, fairytale sentimentality and a full orchestra – yes, Rebecca, a magic orchestra – the John Drummond-directed show is packed with variety, volume and unforgettable characters.

When Belle’s inventor father, played by Walter Walsh, is imprisoned in the Beast’s palace, Belle takes his place. A magic spell means the once-snooty prince, now hideous beast, must win Belle’s love so he can be restored to his noble self.

Debut actor Tahi Paenga’s growly Beast and Amelia Williams' spirited Belle are at the heart of the production but the richness of other characters, and huge chorus lines, spreads the onstage star light.

Peter Derby’s performance as Lumiere, the French-accented, hugely expressive candlestick holder was, well, magical, as was Lee Pascoe’s clock-character Cogsworth. Among other household items was Heather Derby, who explored her inner teapot to play a floating Mrs Potts and singer Madeleine Jones, as Mme De La Grande Bouche, was cast as a wardrobe.

Myles Ashworth as the chest-thumping Gaston, and would-be husband to Belle, chewed up the scenery – the inn-dance scene was a wonder – and his slapstick sidekick Le Fou threatened to steal the show.

There are too many secondary characters, dancers and singers to mention them all, but as an ensemble they bubble with energy and depth of character.

As with the relentless pace of the production, scene changes are swift. This is all the more remarkable given the size, depth and complexity of the palace, the west wing turret (complete with library), and the dioramic forest, not to mention Jasmine Sargent’s beautifully choreographed, stage-swelling, surrealistically costumed song and dance numbers.

The Beast’s transformation is glorious and brought some audience members to their feet. Where Paenga’s Beast played only beastliness it was as the reborn Prince that the accomplished singer excelled.

The musicians are a little hard to see over people’s heads but keep an eye on the Beauty and the Beast Orchestra, including members from all the orchestras and bands in Gisborne, conducted by Chris Reynolds.

It’s magic.

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