Thursday, 21 April 2011

Beauty and The Beast, The Rattonians, Congress Theatre Eastbourne

Beauty and The Beast
The Rattonians
Congress Theatre

20-23 April 2011

Performance seen 21st April

Main cast (appearance order)

Narrator David Morley
Belle Chloe Shearer
Gaston Damon Willer
Lefou Jonathon Stephens
Silly Girl Aimee Worrall
Silly Girl Louise Bateman
Silly Girl Nikki Brook
Cogsworth James Bell
Lumiere Thomas Hackett
Babette Emma Collins
Mrs Potts Melanie Adams
Chip Arlie Gurney  Finian Hackett
The Beast Alex Adams
Madame de la Grande Bouche Kathryn Greenwood
Monsieur D'Arque Paul Eccles

plus Company and live band

"It's excellent isn't it? It's as good as any West End production".

Not my words but those uttered by some visitors to Eastbourne, seated behind me, during the interval.

Once again The Rattonians did not disappoint delivering a lavish musical. The quality of these shows is such that you occasionally have to remind yourself that theirs are amateur productions.

The cast and huge company were superb, as always. Alex Adams was always going to be an amazing Beast and I expect that being cast as Belle was one of Chloe Shearer's most important roles yet for The Rattonians.
She was a great casting and vocally very impressive.

With over 100 in The Rattonians Company there were many, many more in this show than those named above each playing a thoroughly entertaining part.

There was some very clever use of scaffolding to create a temporary extension to the Congress Theatre Stage (giving the band partial cover). This worked really well. Often when The Rattonians have a large number on stage even the Congress's already large stage can appear crowded. This was certainly not the case tonight and even in the busiest of scenes, especially in the finale and whilst taking the final bows, there was never any shortage of space. The extension also meant that there were never any issues with lyrics not being heard as all voices carried well over the band and into the auditorium.

The very youngest members of The Company provided plenty of 'aaah' moments particularly at the end when these young performers had the chance to shine with some comical stuff too.

I've got accustomed to expecting greatness from the acting in The Rattonians and it was faultless as usual. So I turned my attention a little more to the set. Having seen the professional touring production of Beauty and The Beast at the same theatre 2 years previously I can honestly say this set was no less than impressive than the one used in that show.

For me, it was all spot on. From The Beast's mansion to Chip's (the young boy in a cup) body-less box illusion everything had been recreated in exacting detail. 

With The Rattonians traditional attention to detail with perfect costumes and impressive, entertaining, choreography I am once again unable to pick any holes in this show whatsoever. It therefore gets the same maximum mark that the touring professional production received in 2009.

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