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December 2003
Beauty and the Beast
Reviewed by Raj Ford
Beauty and the Beast
Beauty and the Beast - Birmingham Royal Ballet
We had the best seats in the house, second row, right in front of the orchestra pit to see David Bintley's world premiere of Beauty and the Beast at the Birmingham Hippodrome. And they were worth every penny…
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Beauty and the Beast runs at the Birmingham Hippodrome fro 1st to 13th December 2003.

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From the moment Belle opens her book on the library steps to the minute the Beast reveals himself as a handsome Prince was a mesmerising experience.

The wonderful thing about this ballet is that you don't have to be a classical connoisseur to enjoy it.

It is genuinely accessible to everyone and being able to see the expressions on the dancer's faces, the movements, hearing the thud of their feet on the stage, all added to the enjoyment of the story.

A word of advice!

My sister and I took our young children with us, ages four, five, six and ten for their first experience of the ballet, but if you want to avoid the constant questions of 'what's happening now' and 'why don't they talk', it's best to read the story of Beauty and the Beast to them beforehand and explain that it is acted out through dance rather than speech.

Alternatively, buy a programme which indicates what happens in each scene (a programme costs £4.50 - so not cheap!!).

There are some fantastic scenes…one of the best was the crows flying Belle to the Beast's castle…a flurry of at least fifty dancers on stage, perfectly synchronised and truly breathtaking.

Other scenes which stood out were Belle's spoilt sisters fighting over the rich man both wished to marry, the wedding scene with Granny making the audience laugh out loud with her slapstick moves.

A fabulous production

Anyone who has enjoyed 'The Nutcracker' at the Birmingham Hippodrome in the last couple of years at Christmas time should treat themselves to a night out at 'Beauty and the Beast'.

It made me smile from start to finish because it was just so exciting to see such a fabulous production at a theatre which is only ten minutes from home.


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