Giving fun seekers another reason to head south for the holidays, the Mandurah Performing Arts Centre continues its nine-year entertainment tradition with the West Australian premiere of Disney’s much-loved fairytale Beauty and the Beast.
“We’ve always put on familyorientated theatre during the school break,” centre manager Beth Harvey said, “but this is our most spectacular venture ever.
“Last year, we heard on the grapevine that Beauty and the Beast was being released, and that people could apply for the rights. We jumped in quickly and were lucky enough to succeed.”
While not exactly a pantomime, this version, directed by Kim Angus, promises all the elements of great entertainment, and will appeal to both adults and children.
“The story (about a beautiful girl, Belle, kept in a castle by a terrible monster) is as old as time,” says Harvey. “And it touches on love, jealousy, revenge and finally, redemption. It’s got everything — a hero, a villain or two, a fantastic chorus and a happily-everafter ending.”
In fact, such is the size and popularity of the project that the centre has extended the musical’s season over two weeks.
Beauty and the Beast, choreographed by Daniel Box, features the captivating, award-winning score that made the animated film such a hit, plus seven new songs created for the stage version of the Broadway show by composer Alan Menken and lyricists Tim Rice and Howard Ashman.
“A major highlight is the full Disney version of the set and costumes,” Harvey said.
“Normally, we have someone come in and build our sets for each production but this one is huge — a masterpiece of elaborate, technical wizardry.”
Audiences can expect to be enchanted by a host of larger-than-life inventions and fun characters, including Cogsworth the talking mantel clock, Mrs Potts the warm-hearted teapot, (and her son Chip the teacup), Lumiere the suave candelabra, Madame de la Grande Bouche the opera-singing wardrobe and Babette the saucy feather-duster.
Harvey says 90 per cent of the semiprofessional cast come from the Peel region, while the other 10 per cent are based in Perth.
“They all work in other jobs (aside from theatre) but they are multitalented and so dedicated to this show and its intense, 12-week rehearsal period,” she says.
There will be 10 performances only, spaced over 14 days, and Harvey recommends people book early as tickets are selling fast.
“I think this classic tale about the true meaning of beauty is the best entertainment adults and children will find anywhere in Western Australia,” she says.
Disney’s Beauty and the Beast at Mandurah Performing Arts Centre runs nightly at 7.30 on January 19, 20, 21, 27 and 28, with matinees at 2pm on January 20, 21, 26, 27 and 28. Bookings on 9550 3921.