The cast of Beauty and the Best this past weekend at SHN’s Curran theatre did a remarkable job communicating the importance of belonging through their radiant performance. I would highly recommend this show and you can purchase your tickets here as the show runs until January 5.
In the number Belle, the sweet relationship between Belle (Hilary Maiberger) and Maurice (Paul Crane) is apparent and such a joy to watch as the father and daughter uplift one another. Adventurous Belle is taunted and envied by the townspeople it’s a relief to see that her wonky father understands her.
The leader of the gullible townspeople, Gaston (Tim Rogan) with his trusty and hilarious sidekick, LeFou (Jordan Aragon) does not understand Belle but wants her hand in marriage. The prideful and spunky interactions between Rogan and Maiberger add so much to the already bubbling performance. Rogan’s true character ego comes alive in the explosive performance of Me. Matt West’s pristine choreography was so fun to watch as the townspeople danced and precisely clanged each other’s drinks mugs. Other explosive characters to note were the “silly girls” (Bonnie Kelly, Sarah Gawron, Tiger Brown) as they swooned and fainted over Gaston’s every move.
Who would have thought that a teacup pot and a dresser could teach one a lesson? In the familiar story of Beauty and the Beast, Kristin Stewart and Roxy York sincerely welcome Belle to the Beast’s estate as she is trapped there. Mrs. Potts (Kristin Stewart) and Madame de la Grande Bouche (Roxy York) balanced each other’s characters perfectly. As York comforted Belle in a grandiose operatic way while Stewart added a motherly touch.
Those two along with the sassy pair of Lumiere (Hasson Hazari-Robati) and Cogsworth (James May), were the group that helped Belle feel a sense of belonging. The juxtaposition of Belle being isolated in town to her being needed at the Beast’s castle was chiseled beautifully.
One beautifully crafted moment that stands out to me was the fight in The Mob Song between Beast and Gaston. Rick Sordelet did a wonderful job designing Gaston’s death while portraying the Beast as an earnest character. The next moments of Beast’s transformation into the Prince again was flawless, thanks to the lighting design of Natasha Kat, illusion design of Jim Steinmeyer and the help of some graceful sheets.
Every performer was radiant from the gossiping townspeople to Maiberger’s aria-like reprise of Belle. The graceful orchestra guided the story along its way to find true love in the end.