Clowes Memorial Hall at Butler, through Oct. 16.
version of the original fairy tale published in France in 1740. The surreal
setting for this production becomes an extension of Belle's reply to Gaston, "Some
people use their imagination."
Emily Behny, a 2010 Ball
State graduate portraying Belle in this new touring company, is perfectly suited
for the independent, feisty, book-loving character who is instrumental in
changing the Beast into a 'new, improved prince.' While Beast's physical
transformation erupts from something akin to resurrection pyrotechnics, Dane
Agostinis' emotional growth as Beast into Prince is well-developed with humor
and pathos in his relationships with the castle's servants who were turned into
"things" — a teapot, teacup, clock, lamp, chest of drawers and feather
duster — by the enchantress who punished the prince for his hard
In the tradition of all good
storytelling, Disney's original 1991 film team and its succeeding live stage
musical creators developed dimensional characters and a plot with many
different strands. It's a cliffhanger to the end. Will Beast learn to love and
thereby gain love before the last petal drops off the rose? Will Belle turn
back and tend Beast? Will the nasty villagers repent? Will Gaston 'get it'?
Will his sidekick LeFou survive Gaston's punchings?
Every cast member stayed focused
and delivered characterization with minute details of facial and body
expressions in addition to fine vocal and dancing.
If you've seen earlier stage
versions starting in 1993, you'll experience a different retelling because the
designers, choreographer and stage director, along with the actors, bring their
own personalities forward. The show-stopping "Be Our Guest" number zips through
an encyclopedia of dance genres. Overall, it's a campy version for current