A fairytale fantasy of sparkling talent – Northumberland Gazette – March 2011.
SPARKLING talent, superb costumes and stage performances brought fairytale fantasy to life at Alnwick.
Alnwick Stage Musical Society transported its audience from the wet and miserable evening outside into a world of princesses, dancing cutlery, talking ornaments and an enchanted castle with its fantastic production of Beauty and the Beast.
It tells the story of Belle (played by the amazing Ami Huntley), the daughter of eccentric inventor Maurice (brought to life by Norman Luke), who is dissatisfied with life in a small provincial French town, constantly trying to fend off the misplaced affections of conceited Gaston, played in a true chauvinistic style by Phil Gregory. A wrong turn by Maurice on his way to a fair, leaves him imprisoned by The Beast, a prince who was placed under a spell because he could not love, accurately portrayed by Michael Pearson. When Belle goes looking for her father, the pair meet and she discovers his castle, where even the teacups and cutlery can sing and dance having been transformed from their human roles.
The musical society portrayed the dark and eerie side of the fairytale with as much pizzazz as the heartwarming and comedy moments. The show is full of energy and colour and is probably the best to date that has been put on by this group.
Ami Huntley was perfect as Belle, she has an outstanding voice, and captured the true essence of the fairytale figure – graceful and beautiful. And Michael Pearson could give any beast a run for his money. With a superb costume he portrays the Disney character who is angry at becoming a beast but also shows the softer side. His solo performances fill the theatre, with his booming voice, which softens as he falls in love. Mention must be given to the fantastic performances by Lumiere, Peter Brown; Cogsworth, Steven Inglis; Mrs Potts and Chip, Sarah Purvis and Daisy Hope; Babette, Sally Pumford, and Madame de la Grande Bouche, Ali Wrangham.
All were absolutely brilliant.
What really made the show were the costumes – dancing gold forks and knives, salt and pepper pots, plates dressed like Vegas show dancers and more. It was lively, fun and full of energy and brought a great big smile to my face, as did the finale when the Beast is turned back into a prince and the couple live happily ever after. The production was superb from start to finish, and despite Cogsworth losing the hands on his clock face, it went without a hitch.
Everyone involved in bringing such a brilliant show to Alnwick, akin to a professional theatre group, should be immensely proud of their achievements.
I’m certainly looking forward to the next production.