Beauty and The Beast – Northern Ballet
Last night I was invited along to Theatre Royal Norwich to watch a performance of Beauty and The Beast from the Northern Ballet, Xene and Neva accompanied me.
I have to admit, this was the first time I had been to watch a ballet and I was unsure what to expect, although I knew the story of Beauty and The Beast, I was curious to see how it would be portrayed as a ballet, it certainly did not disappoint.
From the first moment that the dancers appeared on the stage, we were hooked, from the fabulous staging to the expressions on the cast’s faces, it had the entire audience mesmerised.
The story follows that of Prince Orian, (played by Giuliano Contadini) and his love of himself, which ultimately is his entire downfall, when the fairy La Fee Magnifique casts a spell on him turning him into a Beast, then enters her sister La Fee Luminaire who tells the beast that the spell can be broken if he can learn to love and be loved in return, not an easy task for someone so vain and selfish!
The entire scene is played out beautifully, with the Prince parading in front of the mirror, more concerned with his own reflection than any of his guests, and both fairies are stunning in appearance and dance. You are swept along with the story and feel every emotion.
Elsewhere in the Kingdom lived a wealthy man and his three daughters, Isabelle, Chantelle and the youngest Beauty. The two socialite sisters played by Rachael Gillespie and Dominique Larose are fantastic, their love of materialistic objects becomes quite apparent and their facial expressions had the entire audience laughing, their younger sister Beauty played by Dreda Blow was every bit the kind, caring lady that everyone adored, much to the dismay of her siblings.
Their perfect lives did not go according to plan when they were stripped of all their belongings (literally) and their spending ways were cut short, the entire house was packed up spectacularly with some very clever scenery, yet still Beauty was upbeat and positive.
They found shelter in the woods and Beauty quickly made it a home for them all, one morning her father goes out to find food and instead picks a rose for Beauty, which ends with an unpleasant meeting with the Beast.
The Beast offers to spare his life in return for one of his daughters coming to live with the Beast, which he agrees to. The entire telling of the Beast encounter is touching and you can feel their story without even hearing it. Whilst her father slept Beauty crept away and went to the Beast.
What follows is a touching and emotional roller coaster for both Beauty and the Beast, who is helped by his man servant Alfred (Hironao Takahashi) who is always there guiding the story along.
As time passes Beauty and the Beast begin to share moments and he realises how conceited he had been and wants to change, Beauty starts to realise that she has feelings for the Beast, which is all portrayed through the music and dance.
Eventually, like all good fairy tales it is a happy ending, he changes back to Prince Orian and they get married and live happily ever after.
All three of us absolutely loved it, and if the encores were anything to go by, so did the entire audience, my hands were numb by the end with so much applause.
If you have not seen this Ballet yet, I would strongly recommend that you do, it is taking place at the Theatre Royal Norwich until Saturday 29th October.
It is being performed at various theatres throughout the country until 7th January, for further details of Beauty and The Beast visit Northern Ballet