Beauty and the Beast Rose

Review: Beauty and the Beast, Rose Theatre

Review: Beauty and the Beast, Rose Theatre

Dominika Fleszar reviews Beauty and the Beast at Rose Theatre in Kingston: “a reassuring theatrical experience your children will love.”

Image Credit: The Other Richard


Ciaran McConville’s adaptation of this classic love story is no love story anymore – instead, he transforms it into a bright tale of family and friendship.  

We begin in a bedroom of three siblings who, anxious about moving house the next day, start telling a tale of Beauty and the Beast. This creates a neat narrative frame for the story within a story.  

Stage design by Frankie Bradshaw is absolutely stunning, merging the real and the unreal, and bridging the gap between the narrative frame and the story itself. Plus, the darker, grimmer scenes are astonishingly effective – even more so in a bona fide children’s show. Eamonn O’Dwyer’s score is brilliant, catchy at times and touching at others, with a lovely flow and some beautiful lyrics throughout.  

Oliver Senton makes an honest, admirable and even a little magnetic Francesco, Bella’s father – although why does he speak with a French accent instead of Italian is anyone’s guess. Daniel Goode and Paula James in double roles hit a lot of Thénardiers notes, but don’t fail to give a powerful and colourful performance. Emerging local talent from the Rose Youth Theatre is also quite brilliant indeed, with the young cast all well directed and confident. 

Amelia Kinu Muus is a charming, intelligent Bella with a flair for introspection and passion for botany, for it is nature that is at the very heart of this story – the Beast literally turns into nature, with branches growing from his head and leaves on his hands. Not much can be said about Stanton Wright who plays Beast, other than his outbursts of violent anger are very effective, as this role is surprisingly small – and he is, by far, not the most important Beast in the show.  

The story is warm, remarkably modern, and vivid. It does however get needlessly complex and somehow too simplistic at the same time. Reveal of the central mystery is blink-and-you’ll-miss-it brief yet weirdly convoluted – and it differs substantially from both the original fairytale and the Disney version. Given that the target audience hasn’t yet finished primary school, it may be a bit hard to grasp.  

The tone of this rendition of Beauty and the Beast is half exaltation and half naivety, but never quite the emotional resilience present in the classic version of the story. Stripping it from even the most innocent romance stripped it somewhat from this utmost emotional vulnerability that made it immortal in the first place. 

Overall, it’s a reassuring theatrical experience your children will love. It’s charming, it’s pretty and it snows on stage.  

  • Beauty and the Beast runs at Rose Theatre until 3 January 2022