Forget everything you thought you knew about Beauty and The Beast and step into this new, sensational rethinking of one very little town and quiet village. It’s a tale as old as time, just not quite as true as it can be. There’s more than a few unexpected twists and turns in this show but each one more hilarious than the last. As soon as I hear the steam boat willy whistle, the hopping Pixar lamp, and the magical shooting star for Disney I know we’re in for a treat. But as we quickly discover, this won’t be a clean and child-friendly Disney special. Rather it’s going to turn everything we know about this magical fairytale quite literally on its head.
Simply stunning sums up this showcase, not least for its perfectly witty and scintillating lines, but also its simple yet effective set design. Situated in the King’s Head Theatre in Islington this small and intimate space is the perfect setting for our story to unfold. You’re in the midst of the action and it’s a show stripped back. It’s not a big production but that doesn’t stop it having the desired affect – leaving you with tears in your eyes and a stitch in your side. Fat Rascal Theatre, creators and performers for this brand new and beastly version encourage their audience to ‘laugh heartily, drink heavily and release your inner beast.’ Three things that I can ensure you will have no problem doing. The Fat Rascals set out for one thing – to do what the 2017 remake of Beauty and The Beast could not. Make a real musical, with real people, with real lessons and real impact. It does this flawlessly. Not only do they challenge gender roles they spend a lot of time referring to our female beasts ability to have hairy legs, etc. (‘as is her right.’) It’s funny yet poignant and done superbly. Yes there’s hints of Disney, the sentiment in the songs are the same but it’s done in a new way. It’s outrageous, it’s shocking but bloomin’ hilarious. I mean who would have ever expected Beau (our male Belle) to discover the Beast’s golden vibrator…yep, I didn’t see that one coming, either! If you want a real kick-ass heroine, a vivacious cast and side-splitting tale then this show has it all.
Perhaps most impressive of all is that this is such a small cast and crew. Five people playing the roles, and seamlessly becoming household objects and humans too – bloody magical. But keeping up appearances, shocking and making us love each and every one is sublime and honestly my hat goes off to each of them. Beauty and The Beast: A Musical Parody is the Disney nostalgia and real life comedy you never knew you needed. Energetic and hilarious from start to finish. The cast each put their heart and souls into the performance making you fall in love with their characters, even the ones you’re supposed to hate (I’m looking at you Siobhan, I HATED Gaston, but you I could still love to hate!). So much so, that each member shines for their own unique reasons. I expected our Beau (Jamie Mawson) and his Beast (Robyn Grant) to be sublime, and of course they were. But it’s their chemistry, Jamie’s honest yet awkwardly loveable character that makes you just want to scoop him into a hug. And Robyn’s voice is honestly magical, and then her cameo as Madame Oeuf is eggs-actly what we need, an extra layer to our show and equally eggs-cellent. Siobhan (Katie Wells) and Mr Spout (Aaron Dart) are flamboyant, raw and big presences on stage. But also charming and loveable – and who doesn’t want to hear a teapot speak with a strong (I think Scottish?) accent. Yet I have to say my personal favourite has to be La Fou Fou/Lumie (Allie Munro). She plays such a range of characters and each is more brilliant than the last. Forget her hat changes and mask just her presence on stage and the commitment to each character had me, at more point than one, doubled over in laughter. Allie has a truly bright future in comedy and I can’t wait to see what she, and the rest of this cast, do in the future.
This musical parody is what everyone needs. It’s lighthearted yet pokes fun at very real issues in today and it strikes that balance perfectly. This show may be a rehash/retelling of an old favourite but it’s one show I can see becoming a tale as old as time in its own right.
Title: Beauty and the Beast – A Musical Parody Cast: Aaron Dart, Robyn Grant, Jamie Mawson, Allie Munro, Katie Wells Book & Lyrics: Robyn Grant & Daniel Elliot Music: James Ringer-Beck Producers: Laura Elmes Productions in association with Fat Rascal Theatre Venue: King’s Head Theatre Duration: 100 mins Dates: October 31st 2018 – November 17th 2018 Tickets: Book tickets here.