Reviewed by Sarah Roche
I attended the opening night performance of Disney’s “Beauty & the Beast” at The Forum in Binghamton. What a fun show! Although I had been a little nervous about seeing a musical that I had assumed would be geared towards children, I found the show to be an excellent professional production that kept both the children and adults in the audience spellbound.
During the opening sequence, the musical matched the animated Disney movie so precisely that I wondered if the actors were lip-synching to the movie soundtrack. However, when a character’s microphone cut out for a split second, I realized that these actors really did sound exactly like the animated characters.
The play’s scenery and props were beautiful and allowed the audience to become completely absorbed in the play, moving easily from the bright and cheery town center to the dark and intimidating castle.
The ability to place people in costumes that so clearly depicted the animated characters of the movie was astounding. Lumiere’s light-up candle hands and Cogsworth’s glasses that formed the hands of a clock were adorable. The gargoyles that acted as sentries and assisted in moving set pieces were perfect in their role, adding extra pieces of life in an enchanted castle. The use of puppets for wolves was splendid.
This was exactly what you would expect from a professional touring company, a well-polished, entertaining musical that provided laughs and entranced the audience throughout its 150 minutes. Note: At Friday’s opening (June 3), the run time was a touch longer due to some technical difficulties that caused the show to stop just before the Beast was redeemed. My friend and I joked that a fairy tale that ends just before the spell is broken is simply life at its worst. Thankfully, the problem was corrected, leading to a spectacular visual display as the Beast was lifted into the air and transformed back into his human form.
Disney’s “Beauty & the Beast,” presented by the Broadway Theatre League, runs through Sunday (June 5). If you have a chance to see the show, I highly recommend it.