Walking into the Bord Gáis this week was like stepping into a magical land. Little girls were dressed up as Belle and big kids, like myself, were buzzing with excitement.
There’s always something otherworldly about heading to a musical but when I settled into my seat to watch Beauty and the Beast there was something even more special in the air. Perhaps it was because people are in the festive mood or because it was packed with excited children. Or maybe it is just the magic of this particular performance.
Full disclosure, I love musicals. As soon as a new one is announced in the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre I am immediately hunting for tickets. No matter how far away (I have my eyes on you SIX). And on top of that Beauty and the Beast is my favourite Disney movie. I fell in love with the classic film when I watched it for the first time as a wide-eyed tot. And since then I have been, well, a fan girl.
As soon as the overture started playing and the lights dimmed I welled up. The air was electric as a hush fell over the crowd and the iconic opening began. The musical follows the same plot as the film, a cruel prince is cursed after he turns away an old woman who asks him for shelter.
As if I wasn’t overwhelmed enough, the musical opens with Angela Lansbury’s voice, just as she did in the 1991 film as Mrs Potts to narrate the tale.
Then we move to a poor provincial town and meet our main character Belle. Just like the film, Belle is forced to live with the Beast and the pair soon fall in love. There are the sidekicks, the villains and everything in between.
The film had the upper hand of being a cartoon, meaning that it was easy to have a talking candlestick, clock and teapot. Making an enchanted Beast was all in a day’s work as was turning him back into a prince.
I wasn’t sure how they going to create this magic right in front of our eyes on the stage. Would it be just as magical as the film? Or would we, the audience, have to use our imagination?
The transformations from the set changes to the Beast going from a monster to a human left me wondering how on earth they managed to do that. I am still Googling the behind-the-scenes secrets to figure out exactly how they did it.
Of course, with every Disney musical, there is the showstopper – the moment that makes your jaw drop. And that couldn’t be more true of Beauty and the Beast and its gorgeous Be Our Guest. They pull out all the stops as Lumiere shows off the talents of the castle. If you weren’t on the edge of your seat before then you definitely will be after this iconic moment.
Thankfully, Beauty and the Beast has more than one showstopper. Gaston sees the vicious huntsman and his sidekick La Fou singing about, well, Gaston’s prowess.
Both Tom Senior who played Gaston and Alyn Hawke who played Lumiere got a well-deserved standing ovation.
Of course, Courtney Stapleton who played Belle and Shaq Taylor who took on the role of Beast were every inch the stars to land the titular roles.
Beauty and the Beast may be the best show that I have seen in the Bord Gáis over the years. And I have seen some incredible performances there. Tickets start at €51 and I would race to book them as there are only a few left.
Beauty and the Beast runs until January 8, 2023, at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Dublin.