Written by Gaston (patrick chavis)
Well, what can I say about this story? It has me in it, so it’s obviously fantastic. But really, and I do mean this sincerely, we need to go down the list of reasons 3D Theatricals’ Beauty and the Beast is a terrific night of theatre for the entire family.
You’ll find that Beauty and the Beast is aptly titled. Though they do call me a beast because of my serious flexing power, that’s not what the title of the play is referring to. The story is actually about another beast, a monster of sorts that lives in a castle. He wasn’t always that way. First he was a pretty good-looking prince. I mean he’s not Gaston good-looking, but he was all right. Anyways, because he was a tremendous jerk to an old beggar woman, he was cursed for all eternity to look like a mix between a dog and an upright lion. The only way for him to become his princely self again would be to learn how to actually love someone and have them love him back (tall order since he probably coughs up hair balls.)
Years pass and the self-centered, arrogant beast isn’t able to find anyone to fall in love with him. That is until the most beautiful girl in town (Belle) makes an attempt to save her father from this monster, by begging the beast to take her instead. What follows is the Beast’s half-hearted attempt to woo my angel and end his curse.
It would have been very easy to copy the Disney formula or do what has already been done. I’ve been in this show on Broadway. I’ve been in the Pantages production in Los Angeles as well. This production really carved a unique mark in design and flow, and it works. It really works.
The artistic choices to keep certain areas of the set completely dark and rely on delicate shading is not merely wonderful but brave. When they did use light, they used dark blues and purples to increase feeling. The characters aren’t as well-lit, but it’s enough and makes you focus more on the characters instead of the massive set, which is often a problem with this particular show–not in this production though of course, you’re welcome. The detail put into the costumes, color palate and effects, visually make this the best production of Beauty and the Beast I’ve ever flexed in.
Not to brag but the highlights most definitely come from me. Cameron Bond plays Gaston fantastically well. He really captures my humble nature. Bond is well seasoned in this role, and it shows. Though, I find it disheartening Belle would avoid my romantic advances (playing hard to get). I have to admit Afton Quast (Belle) is adorable on stage, and her performance is so nuanced, from the smirks and quips she gives when dealing with me (Gaston) to the terror and facial mannerisms she displayed when dealing with that dreadful Beast. It makes me fall in love with that bookish little woman all over again.
It’s pains me to say this, but the Beast does have talent. His rendition of “If I Can’t Love Her” transitions the story from dark gothic drama into a more passionate loving one. I can only describe it as beautiful and emotional. Alexander Mendoza’s Beast is frightening, funny and vulnerable. He’s very tall but hides it well until the right time, creating a real sense of intimidation that is exhilarating to watch.
It’s undeniable that Beauty in the Beast is a classic story created in what most call the Hey day of Disney films. And when your telling, “A tale as old as time,” there are a lot of expectations. 3D Theatricals not only succeeds in telling this story, but also elevates the material to a visually artistic level.
FEBRUARY 5 , 2016 – FEBRUARY 21 , 2016
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