DisneyDramaFestive 21/22MusicalReviewSouth West

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast – Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff

Reviewer: Beth Steer

Book: Linda Woolverton

Director: Matt West

When Disney’s beloved ‘tale as old as time’, Beauty and the Beast, returned to the stage in 2021 for a new, completely reimagined tour, it promised to be exciting.

Add to that the fact that, 27 years after its original Broadway debut, members of the original creative team have come together once more to work on the new production (including Alan Menken, Tim Rice, and Howard Ashman) – bringing the same magical soundtrack that we’ve come to expect to new life – and you’re left with something utterly spectacular.

In fact, by the end of the performance, there won’t be a dry eye in the house – from even the most cynical of stone-hearted, Disney-skeptic, theatre-goers.

What Beauty and the Beast manages to do in this fantastic performance, is evoke the nostalgia, elegance, and charm of the much-loved fairytale – all while making it feel entirely novel by injecting humour, startling special effects, and show-stopping choreography.

The characters are at once both familiar and brand new. The powerful leads (Belle by Courtney Stapleton and Beast by Alyn Hawke) transport the audience along with the traditional storyline, with incredible vocals and a sprinkling of Disney magic.

The rag-tag bunch of furniture friends (Sam Murphey as Lumiere and Sam Bailey as Mrs Potts are particular highlights) inject all the personality, fun, and emotion into the performance – with outstanding timing, chemistry, and panache.

While the cast are phenomenal, the absolute game-changer is the creative production – from the lighting to the choreography or the staging. It is truly breathtaking, revealing its secrets one layer at a time and constantly surprising the audience with clever twists and turns, sizzling entire-ensemble numbers, and dark portrayals of the wolf-inhabited forest beyond the Beast’s castle.

The orchestra are incredible too, and there’s nothing quite like hearing such classic pieces of music played at full tilt, while a glittering (quite literally) cast performs some of the most beloved scenes in Disney history.

What’s amazing is that – because of the sheer talent, scale, and pizazz of the entire production – it steers clear of slipping into the realm of the cheesy, and instead treads a fantastically magical line of the fairytale love story with a twist.

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast feels truly special. Don’t miss it.

Runs until 15 January 2022

The Reviews Hub Score

A truly breathtaking and unmissable masterpiece of theatre

The Reviews Hub - South West

The Southwest team is under the editorship of Holly Spanner. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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