Beauty and the Beast, King’s Head Theatre

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by Amy Toledano

Fat Rascal Theatre Company has created magic in their gender-swapped, musical parody of Beauty and the Beast. This show offers an interesting look at the ideologies behind most classic fairy tales and quite literally turns it on its head with a sharp book, catchy score and brilliant performances.

At the helm of this project and Fat Rascal, is Robyn Grant, (the Beast) who has paved the way for female-led stories in the musical theatre world with strong feminist values and ideas that shake up the genre. Beauty and The Beast is no exception, with the cast effortlessly creating a world in which women dominate men and expose some of the outdated traditions that riddle classic stories.

The clever composition, by James Ringer-Beck, along with Grant and Daniel Elliot’s lyrics, allows for a Disney-esque sound without ever actually playing a Disney tune, which gives this show the authentic flavour it needs. It is evident that the entire Fat Rascal team have had a hand in the devising and creation of the show as the energy and chemistry between them crackles and fizzes throughout the show.

Led by the charming and dainty Jamie Mawson as Beau (the Belle counterpart), the cast are a force to reckoned with. Each character is fully realised, down to each physicality and accent, and the calibre of the work is a credit to all involved.

It is hard to miss the stand-out performance, though – Allie Munro gives us various characters including the Liberal Maureen and lowly servant La Fou Fou, all who are unique, detailed, high energy and hilarious.  It is this energy that sets the bar for the rest of the show – and match this energy the entire cast does.

With a limited set and small space for what is a fully fleshed-out musical with most actors on stage executing the dance routines and ensemble numbers, the cast is not afraid to get up close and personal with one another and give us the same experience we would get at in a much bigger theatre.

Totally outrageous and completely heart-warming, this show is one that will leave you wanting to be in on the Fat Rascal clan’s adventures and can be totally relied upon to be an entertaining night out at the theatre.

Beauty and the Beast runs through 17 November.

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