It was fascinating to watch Beauty and the Beast in Cape Town just three weeks after having watched a production of that other great Disney musical The Lion King in London. There were so many South Africans on that West End stage that I lost count thanks to that show’s former run in Johannesburg. So hear this: This production of Beauty and the Beast makes the London production of The Lion King look comparatively tame and toothless. And that was some show.
“Sensational” and “spectacular” are words that have become almost meaningless because they are bandied about with such nonchalance that it’s hardly worth using them at all any more. So understand please that I mean the full intent and extent of the meaning of those words when I apply them to the production of Beauty and the Beast now on at Artscape in Cape Town.
The source material in itself is rich and compelling — such a great story, so creatively and entertainingly told with cleverly constructed songs in glorious arrangements. But then add some of the most magnificent sets and the skilful manipulation thereof that I have seen in a lifetime of watching and loving many of the great musicals. And the costumes, my God, the costumes, they’re ingenious. As for the smoke and mirrors of Mrs Potts’s little boy’s seemingly disembodied head, I haven’t a clue how they achieved that, have you? Love to know so if you have an insight into the magical arts please share it with us all.
Now add to all of the above possibly the best attribute of all — a cast so right for each role played, playing their hearts out, wrenching every last bit of drama, triumph, poignancy and humour from each line, whether sung or spoken and you have a show which truly deserves that other terribly over-used word: a triumph.
So yes, bring on the superlatives, bring them all. Or rather, get off your arse and on the phone to Computicket and book this show out for that is what it deserves. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

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Tony Jackman

Tony Jackman

Tony Jackman is a journalist, budding playwright and sometime chef. He's written two plays, An Influence of Ghosts and Blue Train Coming, and back in the day wrote loads of songs. He paints a bit in watercolours...