6-8 November 2014
Reviewed by Amy Jones
Last night the Sunderland Empire hosted the Birmingham Royal Ballet’s production of the classic love story “Beauty and the Beast” directed by David Bentley.
Beauty and the Beast tells the tale of a Prince, who because of his cruel and wicked nature has been cursed to live as a Beast by The Woodsman. One day a merchant stumbles upon his castle and picks a rose to take home to one of his daughters, Belle, unfortunately the beast is angered by this theft but spares the merchants life. He demands that the merchant gives his youngest daughter, Belle, to live with him. Belle soon forgets his ugliness and grows to love him, the story shows their journey together to ultimately live happily ever after.
The lead roles tonight were played by Elisha Willis (Belle) and Tyrone Singleton (the beast / prince). Their interaction with each other was brilliant and their dancing was so graceful to watch, I enjoyed this pairing very much.
The staging throughout this play is fantastic – it is extremely clever how the stage changes from outside to inside the castle seamlessly. The attention to detail is extraordinary even with the animals on the top of the stage moved gently in the wind. Every scene and costume looked very expensive and well thought out – I feel that this is the best staging of a production I have ever seen! The theme throughout this production was very dark – much darker than that of its Disney counterpart which is definitely a credit to the director’s vision of the show.
One of the most enjoyable scenes was the ball held at the beast’s castle. The music was beautiful and the choreography between all the dancers was mesmerising. The costumes they had on were golden, like the background, and as the dancers were lifted the dresses flowed down, which was great to watch.
Overall I would give this 5/5, even if ballet is not your thing I still think most people would enjoy this production. It had enough light-hearted humorous moments to contrast the overall darkness of the story.
Tickets cost from £14.90 to £35.40 (plus £2.85 transaction fee).
Birmingham Royal Ballet’s production of Beauty and the Beast is at the Sunderland Empire until 8 November 2014. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 0844 871 3022.
Sunderland Empire, High Street West, Sunderland, SR1 3EX | 0844 871 3022