Not entirely sure where to start with this at all. Oh, my word, from the welcome outside the theatre, red carpet treatment (technically for all the soap stars there, but we walked it anyway) a red rose per special guest/press and a small but scrummy rose fondant cupcake, to the buzz and excitement that seemed to be in every corner…
As per usual The Palace Theatre is always on top note on press night and tonight was no exception. Well done to the Palace Theatre and your super staff.
The show was incredible from start to finish and what a start it was with an incredibly famous voice kicking off the show off in style. The set was just wonderful with pieces moving seamlessly from one side to another either suspended in air or on the round. Sound and lighting were on point to, with no problems at all. The video effects were brilliant and added some highlights to the evening that I will not spoil for others. I was particularly happy to see that ensemble in wolf costumes had not been used and we had moved on to a better way of those scenes.
Speaking of costumes: wow is the only word I can use. They were wonderfully bright and beautiful – a huge well done to Ann Hould-Ward and her team. Hair and make-up also excelled with this production, simply perfect. Congratulations to David H. Lawrence.
The orchestra was led by Jonathan Gill and although a tad loud in some places, they played extremely well. Congratulations to all involved.
Now to the cast – to start, let’s talk about the ensemble (no-one really ever mentions the ensemble). They were absolutely brilliant. Each character shone from the baker to the book seller and the village lasses to Monsieur D’Arque. Just great – you cannot do a show such as this with a half-hearted company and I don’t think this ensemble could give any more. Truly incredible guys, keep doing what you are doing.
The dance routines which were choreographed by Matt West, who also directed the production, were fantastic – full of energy, never tiring (although I am sure they are) and full of Disney charm. I had to stop myself from standing up at the end of ‘Be Our Guest’ – it was ‘delicious’…
There are too many of the leads to mention as each of them brought something special and exciting to this production. No-one was out of place in the roles they were playing but I have to say that there were two who made me fall in love with Disney all over again…
The first I feel I must mention, not just for his portrayal of a very troubled soul, is Shaq Taylor who played the Beast, but his wonderful performance of ‘If I can’t love her’ which brought me to tears. He was magnifique… Cannot wait to see what he goes to after this…
But my heart belongs to one man tonight, and that is the amazingly talented Gavin Lee who played Lumiere. He sings, he dances (and boy, can this man dance) and his comedic timing was out of this world. He was, in a word sublime. Thank you Gavin.
The show can be seen at the Palace until 4th June & I encourage to you to go. You will not be disappointed. Thank you, team Disney’s Beauty and The Beast, for an outstanding show. Enjoy the rest of your run and your well-deserved standing ovations. https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/disneys-beauty-and-the-beast/palace-theatre-manchester/
Reviewer: Hazel Bumby
Reviewed: 6th April 2022
North West End UK Rating: ★★★★★