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30th Nov 2022

REVIEW: Beauty and the Beast at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre

Katy Thornton

beauty beast bord gáis

A tale as old as time, but one that never gets old…

I cannot tell you how excited I was to get to go to this show. As an avid fan of Beauty and the Beast I was intrigued to see how it would translate to a live stage, particularly the magical elements. Beauty and the Beast was supposed to come to Dublin in July 2021, but had to be rescheduled. In light of this, the anticipation, knowing this was going to be the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre Christmas offering, was off the charts, and as you’ll quickly pick up from my review, it did not disappoint.

Why you should go? 

Fans of the original 1991 Beauty and the Beast film, or even the more recent 2017 release, should make it there business to go and see this classic on-stage. The story stands up today as much as it ever did, a classic for people of all ages. That said, the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre recommends this show for children aged six and older.

Set the scene

Where do I even begin with the production of this show. I’ve now been to my fair few shows in the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, all with incredible sets, but I’ve never been to one of their Christmas shows. I knew the standard would be higher than normal, but my word, I was not expecting the quick changes of whole scenes, the lights, that the Beast literally looks like he’s levitating at one point.

They had a transparent screen to project images and scenes onto, for example the entrance to the castle. This screen was also used to give the impression that wolves were attacking, a difficult enough thing to create on a live stage, but hats off to them because they did it brilliantly.

A serious round of applause needs to go towards the set designer – to achieve what they did was nothing short of magic.

The Backstory

This story hardly needs an introduction; you’d be hard pressed to find someone who has never seen it, let alone heard of it. Beauty and the Beast made its Broadway debut 28 years ago. A tale as old as time, our protagonist Belle (Courtney Stapleton) longs for a life outside her small, provincial town in France, only to find herself held captive by a terrible Beast (Shaq Taylor), who can only return to his human form if he falls in love and finds someone to love him in return.

Throw in an angry, macho suitor, a household full of talking utensils, and some of the best tunes that Disney has to offer, and you’ve got an absolutely cracking show.

Image via Bord Gáis Energy Theatre website

The Highlight

It’s really a toss up between musical numbers “Gaston” and “Be Our Guest”. Both scenes went the extra mile with choreography, adding new show-stopping routines to the beloved musical, and the vocals were on another level. My measure for a great musical is its ability to make you want to stand up and dance yourself, and both scenes had me itching to be on-stage alongside the cast (fun fact, I was waitress #14 in a school production of Beauty and the Beast) (I’m joking about the number but I was stage chorus).

Serious kudos to Tom Senior who played Gaston and Alyn Hawke who played Lumiere, because both actors led their respective performances effortlessly.

Accessibility

According to their website, the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre supports “equal access” and opposes “all forms of unlawful or unfair discrimination.” If you need to book specific seating for an access need, you can contact the Group Bookings and Access Department. They are happy to assist with:

  • Wheelchair access seating.
  • Seating near an exit.
  • Particular access needs due to medical conditions.
  • Assistive Listening Loop Devices.
  • Bookings for access performances.

Beauty and the Beast does contain a lot of strobe lighting, flashing lights, smoke, and haze so that’s something to be considered before purchasing tickets.

The Access Performance Schedule is below:

Thursday 1 December 2022: ISL Performance

Tuesday 6 December 2022: Audio Described and Touch Tour

Thursday 8 December 2022: Captioned Performance

Performance Length

2 and a half hours, with a fifteen minute interval.

How long is it showing for?

Beauty and the Beast is running at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre from the 24th November until the 8th January.

Where is it again?

The Bord Gáis Energy Theatre at Grand Canal Square.

Prices from

Tickets for this incredible show start at €51. However, they are extremely limited, so if you’re tempted to attend, I wouldn’t stall on booking. You can purchase your tickets HERE.

https://www.instagram.com/p/ClOuLGosx6_/

Parking

There’s a good few carparks near the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, although they fill up quickly, so give yourself plenty of time to travel into the theatre. Alternatively the theatre is a 30 minute walk from Charlemont Luas Stop, or an 11 minute walk from the Grand Canal DART station.

Overall Thoughts

Given her recent passing, it was lovely to hear Angela Lansbury’s voice open the performance, just as she would have done in the 1991 film, when she played Mrs Potts. The nostalgia was real throughout the musical, but this detail was particularly touching.

I’m going to make a bold statement here and say that Beauty and the Beast is my all time favourite Bord Gáis Energy Theatre show to date. I’ve seen some incredible performances, from Wicked, to War Horse, to My Fair Lady, but this show was just in another league. The actor’s incredible singing ability, the dance routines, the constant shifting of the set and stage – I was smiling from ear to ear leaving the theatre last night.

For all those already lucky enough to have tickets, I’m truly envious of what’s ahead of you. And to those who were uhming and ahhing about whether to get tickets, wondering if it’s worth the money, I can whole-heartedly say that it is.

Header image via Bord Gáis Energy Theatre website

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