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Thanks to Birmingham Royal Ballet for arranging the press tickets for this review.
By Dave Massey twitter.com/BrumHour
Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Beauty and the Beast at Birmingham Hippodrome
Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Beauty and the Beast is at Birmingham Hippodrome until Saturday 2nd March and after seeing a ten minute preview at the Hippodrome season launch last month, I was more than excited about seeing this fantastic production featuring stunning music from Royal Ballet Sinfonia.
Belle (Delia Mathews) is in a beautiful private library, dreaming of stories and fairy tales, The Woodsman (Jonathan Payn) puts a prince under a spell and he becomes The Beast (Tyrone Singleton). Belle’s Father, The Merchant (Michael O’Hare) visits the Beast’s castle which is enchanted also and he falls asleep. He escapes with a wooden chest and a single white flower. Belle visits the castle herself holding the flower and the Beast has fallen for her. This was my general understanding of what was going on.
This is the second full ballet I’ve seen in the past month and exploring the world of ballet is as powerful as it is new to me. Ballet loves telling stories in clear sections and then there are demonstrations sections which are pure dance and movement. Enchanting is the word I’m going with, and not just because the story is enchanting too.
The costumes are expensive looking as is the set. The Beast looks like he’s wearing a semi see-through skin tight outfit and he seems to have spent a lot of time on a stairmaster in the castle as he has huge thighs! Belle is dressed in a more traditional ballet dress and her lined top reminds me of more traditional interpretations of the character of Belle. The set has huge sections, from the reception rooms of the Merchant which descend from the rafters, to the great walls of the Beast’s castle grounds.
After the first, more serious half of the production, there’s more humour to be found in the second half as the action shifts to a gathering of the towns elite with Monsieur Cochon (James Barton) pursuing the Merchant’s daughters (Laura Purkiss and Samara Downs) for their hand in marriage. The warmth the audience feels from this is as powerful as the serious sections.
It’s easy to see why this is a much loved production. Like Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Nutcracker this has a hugely devoted audience who will introduce other people to its spell. I can’t wait to see what Birmingham Royal Ballet produces next!
Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Beauty and the Beast is at Birmingham Hippodrome until Saturday 2nd March 2019. Book tickets here: birminghamhippodrome.com/calendar/birmingham-royal-ballet-beauty-beast and find out more about Birmingham Royal Ballet here: brb.org.uk
When not blogging theatre for #BrumHour, Dave Massey can be found eating crisps and claiming to be at the gym. And tweeting about Birmingham.