REVIEW: Beauty and the Beast the Musical at Birmingham Hippodrome

It’s almost two years since the country went into lockdown; almost two years since the curtain fell on Birmingham Hippodrome as it had only just welcomed the Tony Award-winning musical The Book of Mormon to its stage.

AD: Press night / gifted tickets

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But March 2022 is a whole different story. Theatres are back and filled with people eager to be a guest to a show, and what better way could the Hippodrome choose to mark the occasion than with a grand opening of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast the Musical.

Disney does fairytales well, there’s no doubt about it, and everything about Beauty and the Beast is just as magical as you’d expect; from the curtain artwork as you take to your seat to the grand set designs worthy of a place in any prestigious theatre, this is a show that really ticks all of the boxes – and then some.

Unlike the disappointing 2017 live-action remake starring Emma Watson, Beauty and the Beast The Musical does justice to the original 1991 animation that many grew up watching on a VHS tape, right through to children today who dream of becoming Belle in her signature ballgown.

The stage version follows the same plot as the movie, complete with the iconic characters and soundtrack that blend together with the set design to form a perfect package that leaves you with that warm, fuzzy feeling even on a cold autumn evening.

Beauty and the Beast is a true celebration of classic Disney, rivalling anything that you’d see at a Walt Disney World park.

As we move through the ‘tale as old as time’, which has a running time of just over two hours, we’re treated to a lavish and spectacularly camp performance of ‘Be Our Guest’, which for me was an absolute highlight, alongside high-energy choreography in ‘Gaston’, and step inside the cold dungeons of the Beast’s castle – all accompanied by some of the most incredible visual effects that I’ve seen in a very long time.

Fast-paced and fabulous, this version of Beauty and the Beast brings true Disney magic to the stage of Birmingham, and as we continue to work through some of the most challenging times, magical moments like this are something that’s desperately needed now, more than ever before.

It would be criminal of me not to praise the phenomenal cast – leads, ensemble, swings and understudies alike. Understudy Grace Swaby-Moore stepped into the shows of Belle and did a stellar job in nailing the classic songs, alongside a few new additions that add a little extra sparkle to the show.

Nigel Richards as Cogsworth, Sam Bailey as Mrs Potts, Gavin Lee as Lumiere. Credit: Johan Persson © Disney.

Gavin Lee and Nigel Richards easily stole the show for me and Lumiere and Cogsworth, joined by Sam Bailey as Mrs Potts, Emma Caffery as Babette and Samantha Bingley Madame. Shaq Taylor also excelled in his take on the Beast, showing perhaps a slightly new side to him that isn’t quite as prominent in the film.

But it’s not just the cast. From the design and stage production to the costumes, orchestra and everything in between, Beaty and the Beast is an absolute masterclass and spellbinding piece of theatre that deserves every piece of praise coming its way, Beauty and the Beast is a true celebration of the classic that many of us know and love.

A true treat for all ages to enjoy, beg, borrow and steal for a ticket, it’s worth it to be a guest at one of the most charming shows in town. Beauty and the Beast the Musical runs at Birmingham Hippodrome until Saturday, March 26. Click here to book tickets find out more.

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