Beauty & The Beast (A Musical Parody)
King’s Head Theatre
Reviewed – 13th December 2017
“a hilariously funny little show with a message at its heart”
From the very moment the show begins it’s easy to tell that this parody is not going to fall flat. It’s essentially a retelling of the classic Beauty and the Beast story but with almost every part being gender swapped. Not only does this allow for countless laughs, it also manages to make a number of points about feminism and traditional gender roles.
The company is small; with only five people to play many roles. Allie Munro performs the two main characters, which at one point are both onstage at the same conversing together. Aaron Dart plays a seemingly endless list of parts including the villagers, Mr Spout, Frank and the Mirror. The limitation in cast size does not compromise any of the humour as they all have such brilliant comic timing and delivery.
The cast are boosted from strength to strength by the cleverly written music (James Ringer-Beck), book (Robyn Grant) and lyrics (Robyn Grant & Daniel Elliot). ‘Have A Brunch’ is a particularly hilarious criticism of millennials’ phrases and obsessions. ‘Chevonne’ comes from the all too often unspoken fact that not all women are good; goodness has nothing to do with femininity. Their version of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ is one of the funniest moments in the entire show. Structurally the show works so well because every song is a carefully constructed parody by itself.
Another element that adds to the success of this piece is the way in which characters are created. All of the animated objects from the castle are played by normally dressed people holding items – for example, Mr Spout is just a teapot on a stick. The Villagers are woven sacks with googly eyes glued on them. It’s all just brilliantly funny when added in to the mix.
At its heart, the show is about highlighting the ridiculousness of gender norms and how we still don’t question them enough in today’s society. In the theatre I laughed from start to finish. Afterwards I sat realising how many subtle points they had made about stereotypes, and chuckled to myself at how funny some of those jokes were.
This is a hilariously funny little show with a message at its heart. It’s definitely not to be missed.
Reviewed by Katie Douglas
Photography by Nick Rutter
Beauty & The Beast
is at the King’s Head Theatre until 6th January 2018