“You are never too old for Disney.” Unknown
I have said before and there is no doubt I will say it again (I’m prone to repeating myself, just ask my family) there is not enough good quality live theatre in Abu Dhabi! So when I heard that a hit Broadway musical was coming to the capital, my heart did a little song and dance routine (tee-hee) as one of the things I miss from the UK is going to the theatre, especially in the West End.
Myself, a friend and the teenager (aka Drama Queen ok Drama student but if the crown fits) channelled our inner Disney and went to see Beauty and the Beast last weekend, just over the road at Du Forum on Yas Island. The show stopped off in the capital as part of its international tour celebrating the Broadway musical’s 20th anniversary (played at the Palace and then the Lunt-Fontanne theatres on Broadway) and the show’s original creative team have been reunited for the tour, which included all the original costumes and set designs used in the much-loved and Tony winning Broadway production.
For those who don’t know the show is adapted from Disney’s 1991 film, an enchanting tale of love story about a prince with a cold heart who was turned into a beast by an enchantress and a book loving girl, Belle from the local village who has caught the unwanted attention of Gaston, the village’s resident lothario and show-off . The beast captures Belle’s father but takes her prisoner in his castle in exchange for the old man at her request and as time progresses she accepts him for who he is and puts love in his heart so he turns back into a prince before the rose from the spell loses all its petals, let me hear a big ahhhhhhhhh (excuse the very quick synopsis there Disney fans).
We were ‘papped’ by the waiting paparazzi on our way in on the red carpet
The show was a fantastic colourful and visual extravaganza with wonderful singing, dance routines, a live orchestra and in true Disney style just enough underlying adult humour to keep all ages entertained. It’s a shame the multi purpose venue did not live up to professionalism of the production and that the multi-cultural audience were not aware of theatre etiquette, i.e. don’t talk throughout the whole show, take phone calls and be generally irritating so that you spoil it for others (going to the cinema here is equally as frustrating too). Many times (much to the teenagers embarrassment) throughout the show myself, my friend and other audience members around us had to request people to be quiet, my message would be if you are not interested in watching/listening then stay at home, rant over!!
My blurry photo of the fabulous cast and stage
A tender moment between Belle and the Beast (source:www.timeoutabudhabi.com)
Belle and her father Maurice (source:www.gulfnews.com)
My favourite characters (from the movie too) were the supporting characters, the servants who have taken on the role of household objects under the spell put on the castle. Humorous French candlestick Lumiere, homely Teapot Mrs. Potts and her teacup son Chip were a delight as was the clock Cogsworth and their spectacular rendition of ‘Be My Guest‘ was on point in every way and definitely an audience favourite as was the beautifully romantic ‘Tale As Old As Time‘.
My favourite characters were the enchanted household objects (source:Amy Boyle)
Darick Pead as the Beast and Hilary Maiberger as Belle (source:www.abudhabievents)
Lothario Gaston and his ladies (source:www.gulfnews.com)
The shorter second half of the show climaxed with the beasts transformation back into a human after surviving an attacked by Gaston and he and Belle were reunited as a couple. One by one the household objects were also transformed back to human form as the spell was broken and the twisted tale was complete and in true Disney all’s well that ends well style.
Belle centre stage (source:www.uaestylemagazine.com)
This show was a fantastic example of good old musical theatre without any new-found technical wizardly just strong performances from all the talented cast, incredible costumes and perfect musicality. The teenager and I enjoyed our trip back to her childhood and a good old sing-song and I will overlook the overpriced programmes and underwhelming food options, whoops more ranting, not very Disney at all!
Unless otherwise stated, all photos on this page © Jo Brett 2014. All rights reserved.