Theatre Under The Stars has returned for an amazing 76th season at Malkin Bowl with Disney’s Beauty And The Beast opening first, then alternating nights with West Side Story.
The verdant surroundings of Stanley Park wraps Malkin Bowl with lush walls to block out the city and bring the audience into the performance. The show begins with the prologue of how The Beast (Peter Monaghan) came to be, then moves to the ‘provincial French town’ that the beauty, Belle (Jaime Piercy), longs to escape. Here we meet her eccentric father and local lothario Gaston, played like a cartoon come to life by Dane Szohner. Gaston’s acrobatic sidekick, Lefou, (Nicholas Bradbury) is another standout amongst the villagers.
The production really comes to life, ironically, in the cursed castle there the inhabitants are slowly becoming inanimate objects. Lumiere, Cogsworth and Mrs Potts as played by Victor Hunter, Steven Greenfield and Sheryl Ann Wheaton are brilliant recreations of Disney’s animated characters. I was worried how the grand Busby Berkeley-esque set pieces could be staged on the smaller Malkin Bowl stage but director Shel Piercy and choreographer Shelly Stewart Hunt managed to make everything and everyone fit onstage.
Watching the audience during the 2 hour production showed the awe and wonder across the faces young and old as the fairy tale comes to life in front of them.
Disney’s Beauty And The Beast at Theatre Under The Stars runs even night, alternating with West Side Story at Malkin Bowl, Stanley Park. Buy tickets online or in person at the Malkin Bowl box office.