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I saw an off-Broadway production of Beauty and the Beast last night. Some thoughts, in no particular order:

1. The evening got off to a roaring start when I showed up at the wrong theater. Oops!

1. I'm not entirely sure who the intended audience for this show is. It was toned both up and down from the movie -- a bit more slapstick, funny voices, and exaggerated reactions for the kids, but also more in the way of sex and violence for the adults. Lumiere and the French maid's flirting is a lot more present and overt, as well as Gaston's relationships with the fawning girls in the village; the Beast is more menacing/abusive in the beginning, actually hitting Belle, throwing her to the floor, and grabbing her by the throat.

2. Also, the whole show was a lot more talky than the movie, which is just a natural consequence of Show vs Cartoon, but I could hear a lot of the kids losing track of what was going on, and getting bored. Likewise, the show ran a little long for something intended for little kids that started at 8pm; I spent most of the second half listening the five-or-six-year-old girls whimpering to their moms that they they wanted to go home -- they were very obviously tired and cranky. Which, believe me, was making me quite cranky, as well.

2(b). I was reminded of just how much I don't want kids.

3. I was totally shipping Gaston and LeBouf. No, really. At intermission, I was thinking that they might actually skip the whole "Gaston is thrown from the castle tower" thing, and he'd settle down in humiliation with LeBouf, who would be happy as a clam to be his little homemaker and massage his feet... and such.

4. Speaking of which, the guy playing Gaston was making a very determined, and mostly successful attempt to run away with the show. Next to his antics, Belle and the Beast seemed positively bland. Best line of the show? "Who can think up these endless refrains like Gaston?!"


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April 2012

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