The Seton School Disney’s Beauty and the BeastBy Cappies • Apr 18th, 2010 • Category: Cappies
The Seton School invited the audience to be its guest in the well-known performance of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. A talented cast, astonishing set and complex costumes proved to be more beautiful than beastly in this nostalgic and heartwarming love story.
Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is the story of the studious and beautiful Belle (Monica Mosimann) who lives with her quirky father Maurice (Michael Hill). In her sleepy French town, Belle is pursued by the arrogant Gaston (Neil Blanchard) who controls the town. After her father disappears into the woods, Belle finds him in an enchanted castle ruled by the Beast (Justin Wykowski), who was a prince before being cursed by an enchantress. In exchange for her father’s freedom, Belle chooses to live in the castle, that is populated by dozens of lively ‘inanimate objects.’ Suave and easygoing Lumiere (Andrew Minarik) is a candelabrum; strict and nervous Cogsworth (Dillon O’Doherty) is a clock; and motherly and pleasant Mrs. Potts (Kelly Craige) is a teapot. Belle and the Beast must fall in love in order to break the curse, or the objects will never be human again.
Mosimann’s Belle was elegantly portrayed, and although the character itself was not dynamic, Mosimann made her role engaging by consistently remaining in character. Her vocals were impressively strong, especially her solos.
Blanchard proved to be one of the most powerful characters onstage. The mastery of his character Gaston was evident in his subtle mannerisms: from flexing his biceps and winking at the audience to crossing his eyes and purposefully mispronouncing his words, Blanchard became a villain almost worth rooting for. His coy smile became a signature of his character, and whenever Blanchard appeared onstage, his humorous persona as a conceited lothario commanded the scene.
The ensemble of castle servants also proved to be entertaining. The chemistry between Minarik and O’Doherty made for a plausible friendship. As O’Doherty acted as the stiff foil to Minarik’s poised character, the contrast always ushered laughs from the audience. Craige also had the difficult task of maintaining a consistent accent and singing the play’s namesake song, both of which she perfected.
The huge cast of more than 100 utilized every member with the unique technique of creating multi-leveled tableaus out of the scenes. Characters would be frozen in time, stopped mid-laugh or mid-sentence, in the middle of patting someone on the shoulder or gossiping to a friend. The idea of stopping reality allowed the audience to truly absorb themselves into this fantasy. Some accents slipped and there was occasional stiffness from the ensemble, but the actors’ exuberance and enthusiasm overshadowed any of the small and mostly unnoticeable problems.
An intricately designed set sported a balcony and staircase all set in front of beautifully painted backdrops, which created a dreamy mood despite being in a gymnasium. The unorthodox location, however, made for some distracting problems with sound. The costumes were intricate, especially the characters playing dinnerware. Spinning dishes, giant whisks, and a salt and pepper were just few to adorn the stage.
Beauty and the Beast is a story most everyone knows, but more importantly, a story that everyone can use. Seton School showed that people have the capacity to change for the better and that open-mindedness is the key to happiness.
Review submitted by Grace Donovan of Osbourn High School.
Photos by Jim Holmes.
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