FUN FAIRYTALE ROMP: Georgina Mabbett (Belle) and Sascha Halbhuber (Beast). Photo: Val Adamson


DIRECTOR: Steven Stead

CAST: Georgina Mabbett, Sascha Halbhuber, Lyle Buxton, Rory Booth, Charon Williams Ros, Bryan Hiles, Liesl Coppin, Darren King, Peter Court

VENUE: Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre

UNTIL: January 6

RATING: *****

EACH year in the build up to the annual Kickstart Theatre family festive offering I find myself wondering how they could possibly up their game from the previous year, and each year they do just that.

Disney’s Broadway musical hit, Beauty and the Beast, is the show that Kickstart brings to Durban this year, and they’ve pulled it off with excellence.

Let’s start with the sets and costumes (Greg King). In terms of look and feel of the characters, the costumes are authentically periodic with an enchanted touch. There are also a few clever, almost magical, costume changes that see performers change character in the blink of an eye.

The set is a clever rotary design that ensures a quick change of scene, keeping up with the fast pace of the musical.

Director Steven Stead and musical director Shelley MacLean have done a great job of casting the characters and chorus for this piece.

Georgina Mabbett takes on the role of Belle with a stellar performance and amazing vocal ability. The Beast is played by Sascha Halbhuber – who last astounded Durban with his talents as emcee in Kickstart Cabaret. This time we get to appreciate a different aspect Halbhuber’s talents. He ensures from start to finish that he portrays the Beast in every aspect; from his body movement to his voice and constant grunts. His singing is amazing and will give you goose bumps. And he also makes for a dashing prince.

Lyle Buxton plays the villain Gaston, with Rory Booth as his idiotic sidekick, Lefou. The duo are a laugh a minute – Buxton with his butch persona and Booth with his lumbering character’s constant efforts to curry favour from Gaston.

Charon Williams Ros appears as tea pot Mrs Potts; with Joshua Milne as her son, Chip. Williams Ros presents the perfect kindly persona of Potts and, of course, she is always a pleasure to listen to with her singing. Milne makes a great effort at being the cute, enquiring little Chip.

Bryan Hiles as the debonair French candelabra Lumiére and Liesl Coppin as feather duster, Babette, will have you in stitches with their flirtatious interactions with each other – and other characters they come across.

Darren King is delightful as the control freak old mantle clock, Cogsworth; and Peter Court, as Belle’s eccentric inventor father, Maurice, is a scream. The chorus make for an amazingly professional group of support acts and each deserve kudos for their respective parts and for adding the cherry on top of this amazing production.

A great family entertainer for the festive season, this is one show which is surely not to be missed.

• The show runs until January 6 at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre, with performances Tuesdays to Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 2.30pm, Fridays and Saturdays at 7pm. Tickets range from R100 to R200. Book at Computicket. For block bookings of 10 or more contact Ailsa Windsor of Going Places at 083 250 2690 or e-mail [email protected]