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Beauty and the Beast: The Musical at Her Majesty’s Theatre

Review by Jessica Flynn

‘Beauty and the Beast’ was an absolute delight for all ages. A Disney production always chases perfection and this took the challenge in stride. It is hard to fault a show that was so exquisitely executed by every single cast member and backstage member - phenomenal. As a “tale as old as time”, it is about love and finding the true beauty within. In typical Disney fashion, it had moments for children and adults alike. There’s nothing quite like a thinly veiled innuendo to keep the adults entertained while the little giggles scattered through the audience were adorably timed with some of the big physical comedy moments of the cast.

I felt like a child again as I was completely wonderstruck by the ‘magic’ of the show; I audibly gasped when the Prince turned into the Beast! I have to say I found myself distracted at times trying to figure out pieces of the puzzle (Chip’s table and Mrs Potts’s arm of steel included) but honestly, I don’t want to spoil it for myself! Jim Steinmeyer, you are a genius.

The cast was outstanding, Belle, Shubshri Kandiah, and the Beast, Brendan Xavier, held their lead roles well on a stage full of talent. Their solo singing scenes were strong and held us captive to their spell. Gaston, played by Rubin Matters, was the man you hate to love, his gusto and comedic timing were excellent. As was their chemistry with Le Fou, played by Nick Cox, who was very funny too. Lumiere, Rohan Browne, was a scene stealer. His physical comedy was fantastic, using his prop candlesticks to their full potential. I loved their back-and-forth with Cogsworth, Gareth Jacobs. Mrs. Potts, Jayde Westaby, and Chip, Zanda Wilkinson, another dynamic duo of the crew, were absolutely wonderful and Chip was so heart-meltingly cute - I look forward to seeing his progression as an actor!

My favourite scenes were those with the ensemble. The ‘Gaston’ production number was mesmerising, mainly due to the coordination efforts of the cast clinking glasses over 821 times! However, the showstopper was definitely the ‘Be Our Guest’ number. It was a feast for the eyes, the costumes, the dancers, the music… I was in overstimulated awe, I loved it.

The set design almost felt decadently magical. The luxuriousness of the materials and intricacy of the wooden sets that the cast interacted heavily with made the set feel real and immersive. Belle’s home was a particular highlight for me and I loved her interaction with Gaston as they used the full breadth of the home throughout the scene. The automation of the set was clean and exact, so many kudos to the technical team. The sound and light effects made the audience feel a part of the show which made it an immersive experience. The theatre itself was not my favourite venue, there were some spots that were better than others… We were sat towards the back of the stalls and there were moments where the scene was happening at the top of the stage and it was cut off from our view although this only impacted about 5% of the show.

The first act of the show was jam-packed with action and was significantly longer than the second act if you need to think about your choc-top timing. I would have liked a bit more balance personally, but it still carried the magic throughout. That being said, the costumes in the second half definitely picked up a notch - although I am just a sucker for sparkle and Belle’s yellow ball gown absolutely dazzled.

Another world-class production by the Disney Theatrical Group - well done. Be sure to be a guest at the ‘Beauty and the Beast: The Musical’ until 24th November at Her Majesty’s Theatre.

Image Credit: Daniel Boud


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