It may not be the most well known classical ballet, with most having the animated Disney film come to mind rather than a gothic style ballet complete with full orchestra. However Birmingham Royal Ballet have stunned yet again and left a beautiful production etched on my brain. I’m going to start bold and say that this production will now always come to mind when Beauty and the Beast is mentioned.
Visually the show is stunning. Ornate castle exteriors that opened out like picture books, rows of giant animatronic birds, beautiful period costumes that swished but didn’t hinder the movement. They utilised the whole stage of the Hippodrome allowing the large ensemble to travel freely. The on-stage split-second costume changes also deserve an honourable mention, the beast’s transformation is absolute magic!
I can’t write another word without raving about the ensemble. Powerful enough to rival the Swan Lake Swans. The ravens were something else; breathtaking choreography and synchronicity. They were so slick, so together, so brilliant that I was actually in shock at points. Lead by the main raven who was my personal favourite of the evening, this ensemble are a tour de force and should have been used more in the production. I could have just watched them for three hours!
Belle (Delia Matthews) and the Beast (Tyrone Singleton) shone throughout, particularly in their opening and closing pas de deux where passion was the highest. Delia expresses both Belle’s fears for the Beast and her elegant love for him. You can sense her dilemma as she is torn between leaving her family to sacrifice herself for her father. Tyrone is powerful and aggressive as the Beast, his strength aiding him in this character. He also deserves extra credit for doing the choreography, complex turns and leaps, with limited vision due to his ornate mask.
Deep, dark, magical, this ballet is mysterious and mystical. From start to finish this production is utterly enchanting. It is perfect for any age, and I doubt that any child or adult couldn’t be wowed by it.