DIRECTOR, Kenn MacDonald
MUSICAL DIRECTOR, Clive Osgood
CHOREOGRAPHER, Megan Farrington
BELLE, Alex Yates
THE BEAST, Alan Thornhill
GASTON, Sam Barrett
LE FOU, Mike Byrne
MRS POTTS, Chloe Johnson
CHIP, Lydia Thornhill, Aidan Skelley
COGSWORTH, Tony Creasey
LUMIERE, Howard Bicknell
BABETTE, Carolyn Beaumont
MADAME DE LA GRANDE BOUCHE, Vicki Gavin
MAURICE, Hamish Donaldson
SILLY GIRLS, Katherine Chevis, Alice Manville, Jessi McCluskey & Kim Seymour
MONSIEUR D’ARQUE, Chris Ackroyd-Parr
Linette Ackroyd, Sally Barr, Val Bishop, Debbie Bowyer, Elizabeth Chester, Mary Coyte, Jane McMichael, Leanne Osgood, Helen Randell, Nancy Skelley
Jack Clark, Colin Fullick, Ben Johnston, Patrick Johnston, Alex Mackintosh, Graeme Somerville, Brian Upstell
Jemima Barr, Maddie Barr, Iona MacDonald, Isabel McMichael, Alice Simmonds, Milo Biddle, Tristan Skelley
WHAT THE PAPERS SAY…..
WHAT A BEAUTY OF A SHOW!
New to Haslemere, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I took my two young daughters, Emma (9) and Isobel (7) to Haslemere Hall over half-term, to see “Beauty and the Beast” performed by The Haslemere Players. Am-Dram, I thought – well, they will try their best and it will be a pleasant way to pass a Saturday afternoon. “Beauty and the Beast” is one of the girl’s favourite Disney animated films, so I was interested to see how the musical would fare.
Am Dram? More like West End! I was totally blown away by the performance which was very professional indeed – you could see how much work and energy had gone into this sparkling production by the high quality result. The atmosphere was charged, the scenery expertly painted, the Players joyful and enthusiastic, each well known song from the show was sung with gusto and the music itself, was played beautifully by an actual orchestra (now, I wasn’t expecting that!).
Emma and Isobel were entranced from the very beginning as the show opened with their favourite song “Belle”, beautifully sung by our heroine, a spirited girl bored by provincial life and played by Alexandra Yates together with an assorted rabble of extremely vocal villagers and sexy Silly Girls! After Belle’s eccentric inventor father goes on his travels, the scene rapidly changes and we are introduced to the ghastly Gaston, the obnoxious village he-man, who is keen to woo and marry Belle and his sidekick, Le Fou (great comedic timing from Mike Byrne). Gaston is played by Sam Barrett, a young man with a very bright theatrical future! What a voice, what stage presence – and the Haslemere Oscar goes to….!
We now find ourselves at the Beast’s castle where Belle’s father, well played by Hamish Donaldson, is held capture. Belle arrives to free her father and meets not only the Beast (a brilliant performance from Alan Thornhill – scary with poignant songs), but the castle’s enchanted cast of characters. This is where my girls sat up straight and couldn’t stop smiling as Lumiere, (the fantastic Howard Bicknell), Cogsworth, (played pompously well by Tony Creasey), Mrs. Potts (whimsical charm from Chloe Johnson Jones), Babette (an alluring Carolyn Beaumont) and the Wardrobe (great comedy from Vicki Gavin) led the song “Be my Guest” – and the stage filled up with enchanted plates, knives, forks, spoons, sugar bowls, milk jugs – you name it they had it! The costumes looked like they had stepped out of Disneyland – simply fantastic!
After a bad start, Belle and the Beast slowly start falling in love, which is music to the Enchanted characters ears, as it might break the spell that has made them into what they are. Feeling this could happen any day now, the Castle cast sing “Human again”, at times wistful, at times joyful – an extremely colourful performance!
The scene changes as Belle returns to care for her father and the Villagers, led by Gaston and the sinister Monsieur D’Arque (a hilarious camp performance by Chris Ackroyd Parr) plot to overthrow the castle and kill the Beast. However, the castle characters fight back and scare the Villagers away, the Beast and Gaston fight and He-man falls over the castle wall to his end, leaving the Beast at death’s door. Belle saves the day by declaring her love and then the miracle happens. With our mouths open in total wonder, we watched the Beast launch himself high into the air, twirl around with the help of coloured lasers and then miraculously transform into the human prince!
The household objects are equally transformed and reunited with one another – but there wasn’t a dry eye in the house when Mrs. Potts little boy (previously an enchanted cup within an ingenious trolley played sweetly by Lydia Thornhill) runs on stage to hug his now human Mummy….
A truly wonderful performance – well done Haslemere Players, can’t wait till the next show!