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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


Review of Beauty & The Beast – 5 Stars


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



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