The story in this Beauty and the Beast ballet followed one of the original versions of the tale ‘La Belle at la Bête’ by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve. As we sat down to watch Beauty and the Beast Ballet in the Mayflower Theatre, we noticed the distinct lack of empty seats. In fact, there wasn’t any – it was completely packed so we knew that what we were about to see was going to be good. But how wrong we were. It wasn’t good, it was amazing! From the staging to the music, the costumes to the lighting, everything was just Beauty-ful! In the past we have seen the Sleeping Beauty Ballet so we vaguely knew what we were in for, but this blew us away.
The prince-to-Beast transitions were so quick and striking, without any use of CGI. It was as though you would blink and poof! The Beast is a prince again. Although there was no dialogue, the characterisation of the vain prince was evident with gestures and poses. The beast just had face make up and a wig with goblin like ears. And the costumes. Oh, wow. Stunning! They weren’t your typical ballet dresses but looked more like ballroom and prom dresses and they flowed like magic – just like the entirety of this ballet. So pretty. The creativity of the costumes for the enchantress was astounding. A giant cloak was used for the poor beggar woman and when the woman was rejected, the cloak flew off revealing not only the enchantress but two goblin creatures rounding up the party guest.
And there were no awkward pauses or mistakes. Everything and everyone was perfectly in sync. From the start to the very end. We would happily go and see this again.. and again.. and a third time. It was just wonderful.
Overall, we would give this a solid 4/5. Although, to be honest it is probably a five, but we don’t like giving fives as we feel there is always room for improvement. The atmosphere, music, lighting, staging, actors were all magnificent. Featured music included the main theme of Midsummer murders and Camille Saint-Saëns: Symphony No. 3 “Organ” in C minor. The lighting was subtle, the best use of it being when the Beast transformed and flashing green lights illuminated the stage. The set was used for seamless transitions. A perfect example was when furniture had to be taken off stage and part of the backdrop turned into crates. The use of the symbol of the rose was used throughout the entire ballet and was an integral part of the tale. One particular scene, which was fantastic, was when the female lead laid down on a throne that was a white rose. The quality of the dancing was incredible – it was evident how talented the ballet dancers were.
The only ‘flaw’ if you want to call it that, was one of the trap doors that were in the wall on the top left did not open properly, but that can’t be helped. We would definitely recommend this. Go. Go and see it. Now.