Reviewed by Jacqui Wall
AYT have done it again. A stellar production team with an outstanding cast of young performers have lit up the Star Theatre Stage. Director Paula Williams has taken a while to transition to the dark side but has done it magnificently. Musical Director Kristy Williamson was responsible for an orchestra who were superb. Choreographers Alana Shepherdson and Thomas Phillips showed dedication to their craft and ability to work with young people by producing well thought out routines for such a small stage. There were the obligatory opening night technical problems with lights and sound but given the short season, it would be difficult to do a show of this magnitude without them and they will get better.
As always there was a huge double cast and on Opening Night it was the second performers I saw. This does not mean to say they were second rate by any means. Tayla Coad as Belle was obviously beautiful with a voice that soared and Charlie Smith as the Beast was both fearsome and lost in turn. Connor Olsson-Jones as Gaston was suitably cocky and the rest of the minor principals played their parts exceptionally well. The stand out for me was Lumiere played by Douglas Wiseman. Whilst his dialogue helps, his delivery was exceptionally well executed and his timing was perfect. Good support was provided by Aaron Beattie as Cogsworth, Georgia Broomhall as Mrs Potts and Ethan Schembri as Chip.
The visual projection was stunning but I question if it was totally necessary. For me it took away from the actual performance of the cast as it was so stunning it often drew the eye. At the end of the day, perhaps I am too old school and would prefer to leave such technical tricks to the professionals and let the cast learn their craft from the grass roots.