Leave your review of Beauty and the Beast at the Theatre Royal in Norwich

Eve Stebbing's review of Beauty and the Beast at Norwich's Theatre Royal:

I love the story of beauty and the beast: there are so many wonderful versions, including the brilliant 1946 film by Cocteau, La Belle et La Bete.

It would be easy to think that this fresh offering by Northern Ballet, coherent as it is, must be a part of the traditional dance repertoire, but in fact the score is a beautifully-thought out collection of pieces by a number of different composers, amongst them Debussy, Bizet and Poulenc.

Certain themes, including the music from the Babe film - (Saint-Saens Symphony no 3 organ) lull you into a comfortable sense of familiarity - which is in fact quite misleading, because this ballet is all new. Choreographer, director and costume designer David Nixon has created a very skillful piece of theatre, which would be equally enjoyed by children or adults.

And he's particularly interested in mirrors. Reflections are everywhere: as the show opens, we see the handsome prince, Orian (Kenneth Tindall) vogueing splendidly in his palace in front of his glass, with an army of bright young girls to adore him. He's so awfully vain, however, that a pair of fairies come to sort him out. One of them, clad in green and somewhat sprite-like (Victoria Sibson) turns him into the beast his soul resembles. The other, dressed all in flowing silver, like a 1930's dance floor goddess (Hannah Bateman) arrives to give him some hope: if he can love and be loved in return, all may be well...

Beauty (Martha Leebolt) has two self-endeared sisters (Jessica Morgan and Pippa Moore), who run up such enormous debts with their Issey Miyake type frocks, that they are initially repossessed in person by some debt collectors. They are soon given back, however (sans clobber) and the family ends up in the wild woods where the Beast lives... the rest I think you can guess.

The characterisation is broad and vivid and the dancers pound real power and energy off the stage, which lights up the old story like a spark.

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Beauty and the Beast runs at the Theatre Royal until Saturday. Visit www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk or call the box office on 01603 630000 for more details.

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