REVIEW: “Beauty and the Beast” – frills, frou-frou and a beast’s meow
TFM Review: Beauty and the Beast by Pia de Ungria
Beauty and the Beast is perhaps one of the most familiar fairy tales, no thanks to Disney. In itself, it carries a timeless message of acceptance, of love seeing beyond the physical, and most importantly, of love triumphant. This is perhaps one of the reasons that it is a well-loved piece to be produced by theater companies.
Kids Acts Philippines’ Beauty and the Beast was an almost faithful adaptation of Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont’s original book of the same title. It began with the presentation of the story, told by a crowd about a girl named Beauty and how she met a beast. It was followed by a straightforward retelling of the beloved tale. Save for the appearance of Beauty’s three brothers and the appearance of a soprano, omnipotent story-teller, the story never strayed from the original.
The play, meant for children and young adults, succeeded for their target audience. It was fun, frivolous and perky, as any show for children should be. It featured two-dimensional props that gave a cartoonish feel to the play. Each piece was dragged in and out of the stage by theater hands as the setting changed. The lights were equally playful – colorful and moving lights were used to aid in the light-hearted atmosphere of the play, save for the excitable spotlights moving restlessly and around, at times blinding the audience members.
The actors and actresses played their parts well – they worked as a team and acted at pretty much the same energy level. No one stood out, and no one got left behind. It is noteworthy to mention that the singing voices of the actors and actresses were pleasantly refreshing – strong and never off-key. Beauty’s singing and speaking voice made her worthy of the name; it was dainty, it was all sunshine and rainbows. Amid the commendable performance was a noticeable lack of roar for the Beast. A beast is a force of nature, hulking and very intimidating – this Beast was nothing of that sort. He did his best to project his voice both in speaking and singing but it fell short of the terror beasts cast on people. The icing on the cake is the distinct Filipino accent and the smattering of British R of the Beast.
Overall, the play was successful in cheering the audience. Seeing the characters they have read or watched on TV come to life was indeed a treat to children. It was well-received, and well-loved by its audience.
Productions like these bring to children and their families a sense of togetherness, of being in the real world instead of the technology-driven lifestyle most would lead. If anything, this is a worthy way to spend family day and teach the children a thing or two about a life away from the claws of technology and social media.
Kids Acts Philippines’ Beauty and the Beast is still showing on August 7, 8 and 9 at St. Cecilia’s Hall in St. Scholastica’s College, Leon Guinto St., Malate, Manila. The show is on at 10:00AM, 2:00PM and 6:00PM. -PDU
Have you seen the show? What did you think?