Beauty and the Beast: A Musical Parody

Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast: A Musical Parody

King’s Head Theatre

Reviewed – 2nd November 2018

★★★★★

“when it comes to great musical theatre it’s better to say “I’ll know it when I see it” and with Beauty and The Beast you’re looking at it”

 

Beauty and The Beast at the King’s Head Theatre stands as a testament that when theatre is funny, rehearsed and joyous not much else matters. Robyn Grant (writer and The Beast) and Daniel Elliot (writer) leave one the most generous pub theatres in London feeling selfish as the show bursts at the seams with energy, comedy and wit. Beauty and The Beast is billed as a trendy gender-swapped version of the classic fairy tale but immediately it throws off these constraints and shows itself as a brilliant musical satire of the Islington set with some unmatched comic performances.

At the centre of the show is a knowing, contemporary book and lyrics from Grant and Elliot and obviously supplemented by devising work from the whole cast. Jamie Mawson (Beau) plays the male Belle as a bourgeois North London son of a painter woman; foppish, innocent and vulnerable as he and his mother (played by the brilliant Allie Munro) are the perfect send-ups of the artist class. These performances paired with songs like “Have a Brunch” instead of “Be our Guest” are an insightful and playful tease of many in the audience, without being cruel.

The set, costume and props sit where they are supposed to, in service of the production. Puppetry, costume and lighting help tell the story as they speak but don’t shout. While not a high-value production, the team made the effort where it counts and the beast’s costume added bucketsful to Robyn Grant’s performance.

With strong and stable music and roundly good singing, the production stepped deftly over the pitfalls littered for smaller musicals. Our audience was in good hands with these young actors performing both technically and artistically. Without the pressure of musically complex songs, singers were able to relax and focus on the comedy and physicality of the songs.

At this late stage, it would be wrong not mention the stand out performances of Allie Munro (Le Fou Fou/Lumie/Maureen) and Katie Wells (Siobhan/Clockface) throughout. Despite not being in leading roles both gave generously from centre and side stage with performances that leave you sure you will see them again.

Overall, this show gave so much and yet we could feel that somehow it still had potential to grow. There will be much more to come from this show and there is no doubt that we will see it again, and likely in some grander setting. It’s easy to get theoretical about fairy tales with genders swapped but when it comes to great musical theatre it’s better to say “I’ll know it when I see it” and with Beauty and The Beast you’re looking at it.

Reviewed by William Nash

Photography by Nick Rutter

 

kings head theatre

Beauty and the Beast: A Musical Parody

King’s Head Theatre until 17th October

 

Previously reviewed at this venue:
East | ★★★★ | January 2018
Catherine and Anita | ★★★★ | February 2018
Mine | ★★★★ | March 2018
The Mikado | ★★★★★ | March 2018
Fishbowl | ★★★ | April 2018
Tumble Tuck | ★★★★ | April 2018
Baby Box | ★★★★ | May 2018
F*cking Men | ★★★ | May 2018
The Unbuilt City | ★★★ | June 2018
For Reasons That Remain Unclear | ★★ | July 2018
Glitterball | ★★★★★ | July 2018
Riot Act | ★★★★★ | July 2018
The Cluedo Club Killings | ★★★ | July 2018
And Tell Sad Stories of the Deaths of Queens | ★★★★ | August 2018
Hamilton (Lewis) | ★★★ | September 2018
Canoe | ★★★½ | October 2018
La Traviata | ★★★★ | October 2018
No Leaves on my Precious Self | ★★ | October 2018

 

Click here to see more of our latest reviews on thespyinthestalls.com

 

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