Theater Info for the Washington DC region

South Lakes High School Disney’s Beauty and the Beast

By • Apr 22nd, 2008 • Category: Cappies

The butler is a French candlestick, the cook is a teapot, and the wardrobe was once an operatic star. Such antics could only be possible in the fantastic world of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, which South Lakes High School brought to life.

With music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, and a book by Linda Woolverton, Beauty and the Beast was adapted from Disney’s classic story of love and acceptance. The beautiful but quirky Belle is eager to escape her “small provincial town,” despite the lustful advances of its most popular, and most pompous, citizen, Gaston. After Belle’s father is captured, she soon finds herself wrapped up in the world of a spell-bound castle whose residents are anything but common.

Marshall Severin lead the cast as the troubled Beast. Severin ably showed the Beast’s uneasy transition from callous and harsh to innocent and sweet as he fell in love with the beautiful Belle. His physicality made the character believable and his smooth, crisp voice produced some of the most memorable numbers in the show including “How Long Must This Go On” and “If I Can’t Love Her.” Contrasting nicely to the brazen fury of the Beast was the sweet and gentle Belle, played by Mary Davis. Davis brought to the part not only the talent, but the delicacy and grace called for as the leading lady.

South Lake’s supporting cast of quirky castle characters brought life and energy to many scenes. Lumiere was played by Alex Turner with every bit of charm, comedic timing, and physicality that the part called for. Turner made excellent use of a reliable French accent and smooth vocal performances to raise the energy level whenever he appeared on stage. Amy Girardi‘s solo as Mrs. Potts provided the perfect underscore for romantic scenes while Lauren Whitley‘s spunky flirtatiousness as Babette the feather duster lightened the mood.

While the cast as a whole showed obvious commitment, the ensemble was somewhat lacking in energy and vibrancy, especially during large group numbers.

While the music was at times too loud for the actors to be heard and the microphones had several technical glitches, the student orchestra was impressive, with a particularly praiseworthy performance given by James Ngyuen, the solo violinist. South Lake’s stage crew was also extremely efficient with complex scene changes that made them exciting rather than disruptive.

With talented leads and a committed supporting cast, South Lakes did an admirable job with this lengthy show of beauty and true love. After all, who doesn’t love a classic Disney fairy tale once in a while?

by Samantha Henry of Westfield

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