“Be our guest, be our guest! Put our service to the test.”
Theatre Under the Stars and the cast of Beauty and the Beast invite you to be their guest at their wonderful production at Malkin Bowl in Stanley Park.
3 years or 33, or even 93!
Age didn’t matter, this was being hummed by many, as the audience of children, parents, and grandparents made their way out of the theatre and home. And everyone knows we are all children at heart.
It is hard to compete with the natural setting of the stage in Malkin Bowl. The moon is rising above in the blue sky and dusk is settling in. Birds fly in and out above the actors and the quick paced action.
A fabulous cast, under the very capable direction of Shel Piercy, present this production about a vain prince (Peter Monaghan) and his palace staff who are all transformed because of the prince’s selfish attitude towards an elderly (but magic) beggar, who asks for a night out of the cold in exchange for a rose. They can only be saved by the Beast learning to love someone, who loves him in return before the rose loses all its petals. Failure to do so will cause him to “remain a beast for all time” and the staff as various household objects. The staff desperately want their old persona, so encourage the prince to change.
Meanwhile in the neighbouring village, thoughtful, shy, bookworm and beautiful Belle (Jaime Piercy) is fighting off and ignoring the handsome egocentric Gaston (Dane Szohner), who boasts about loving her and asks her to marry him. She politely refuses.
Belle is worried about her crazy father, an inventor (Matt Ramer) who is lost in the woods and has inadvertently gone to the Beast’s castle for help, where he is now imprisoned.
Soon, though, Belle finds herself inside the Beast’s enchanted castle where she trades her freedom to grant her father his.
She is confronted by the magical castle inhabitants, Cogsworth the clock (Steven Greenfield), Lumiere, the candelabra (Victor Hunter), Mrs. Potts the teapot (Sheryl Anne Wheaton), and her son, Chip the teacup (Bodhi Cutler). They believe she could be the one to break the curse. So they throw her a feast and, simultaneously invite her to “Be Our Guest”.
The Beast takes a bit of convincing and expresses his fear that Belle could never learn to love him. Belle, on a tour through the castle enters the forbidden West Wing and discovers the rose. The Beast is furious at Belle, and they argue. But the others advise Beast to be a gentleman, because Belle could be the one to break the curse. The castle’s charming inhabitants discover that there is “Something There” that wasn’t there before and the two fall in love. However, both are reluctant to share this information. Belle looks into a magic mirror, a priceless gift from the Beast, that shows her father needing to be rescued from Gaston’s treachery and leaves the castle.
Gaston declares that Belle has rejected him for the last time. He tries to arrange for Belle’s father to be locked up in an asylum. He then convinces the villagers that the Beast is a monster, and the village is not safe until he is dead. The townspeople attack the castle, Gaston fights the Beast, and Belle appears just to see Gaston make his final blow. Seeing the Beast nearly dead, Belle admits she loves him just as the rose’s last petal falls. This breaks the curse, and the Beast is magically transformed back into the Prince. The entire cast returns for a final dance, and declare that the love of “Beauty and the Beast” will thrive forever. Instantly, Belle and the prince reappear in their traditional costumes.
The play is a delight in all ways. Choreography (Shelley Stewart Hunt) and music (Wendy Bross Stuart) blend seamlessly and set the mood for this wonderful tale. A live orchestra provides the music, lovely to hear as the overture plays.
Gorgeous costumes, especially with Belle’s stunning ball gown, provide a bright and colourful setting.
The set design is brilliant. The castle is cleverly shown from inside and out, including a grand staircase, a tower room and a magnificent library that excites our reader, Belle! It also becomes a village square, a beer hall with singing and clinking patrons, and a frightening forest with wolves.
The large cast, including a number of children, is superb and both Belle and the Beast are amazing with wonderful voices and regal moves. But it is the household staff, led by Cogsworth and Lumiere, that provide the levity and their antics tend to steal the show! You find yourself looking for their next moves. Mrs. Potts and Chip add to this as you watch the young boy who only has his head showing in the chipped teacup and the graceful moves of the teapot with its handle and spout! Gaston and LeFou, his accommodating sidekick (Nicholas Bradbury) also deserve a mention for playing the villains so effectively.
Altogether, you take a magnificent setting, drop in a unique outdoor theatre, provide a talented cast and support who get to sing and act in a classic story of vanity and karma with a happy ending, and you get this brilliant production of Beauty and the Beast.
Take a picnic supper or buy it there, bring the whole family because everyone will love it!
Be our guest!
Be our guest!
Please, be our guest!