BWW Review: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST at Off Broadway Papakura
The only difference between a professional show and a community theatre one is the price of the ticket and I was once again convinced of this after the opening night of Papakura Theatre Company's 'Beauty and the Beast.' The cast deliver performances of astonishing depth, that are comparable to the work of professionals twice their age.
Under the direction of Regan Crummer, the cast of 22 youth performers were totally excellent and faultless in their performances.
The choreography was not only notably clever but well performed. Bravo to Emma Carr. The singing was equally as impressive. The performers have been ably led by Musical Director Michelle Thorne.
The set design was ingenious and scenes changed with a confident fluidity. The set and props were professional and artistic. It was obvious that hard work by some clever people has gone into creating it.
Meg Hargraves in the role of Belle, successfully conquered the challenge of a character who is initially naïve and inexperienced, yet fiercely intelligent and morally courageous. She is well matched with Matthew Farnell as the tormented Beast who successfully portrays the character's vulnerability and uncertainty.
All gave surprisingly layered performances, capturing not only the comedic quirks of this enchanting story, but also the drama of the predicament; from the convincingly egotistical Gaston (Oliver Winter) to Samara Czepanski who radiated maternal warmth as Mrs Potts, to Dylan Shore who was at ease as the suavely sophisticated Lumiere.
Special mention must go to 10 year old Mya Pritchard who radiated energy and joy in all she did, loving the stage and the audience responding accordingly. She was magnificent in her role as Le Fou.
The comedy was supported by the clever use of the backstage crew who crossed convention as they became part of the performance and interacted with both cast and audience.
These young performers deserve full houses.
Beauty and the Beast, Papakura Theatre, 41 Elliot Street 22-29 April