Sparkling musical satire

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Beauty and the Beast: A Musical Parody, Theatre Delicatessen

Fat Rascal bring us a marvellous gender-swapping musical satire of not just Disney’s  Beauty and the Beast but a lot else besides.

Some shadow puppetry introduces the familiar story of how the Beast came to be cursed  and hidden away in a castle except it is a princess not a prince. And we soon meet Beauty in the shape of the male Beau, a cultural snob with an obsession with Jane Austen.

It doesn’t stop there. The genders are reversed of all the other characters. the dastardly Gaston becomes the horsey Chevonne, instead of Belle’s father it’s Beau’s mother, Maureen.

The book and lyrics by Robyn Grant and Daniel Elliot sparkle with wit – though sometimes it’s hard to pick up some of the quickfire humour - with music composed by James Ringer-Beck.  

Jamie Mawson gamely plays it straight opposite Robyn Grant’s furry beast while  Allie Munro, Katie Wells and  Aaron Dart have fun in multiple roles.

Director Cat Robey ensures it all goes at a lick and frantic costume changes are sometimes played for laughs, especially when Munro has to switch back  and forth between Maureen and La Fou Fou in the same scene.

Katie Wells’ thigh-slapping Chevonne could have come straight out of a traditional panto except that the gender swapping here serves a purpose in mocking the stereotypes of both fairytales and Hollywood

It’s probably not suitable for children on the basis of its adult language alone, but it is the perfect antidote to Kiss Me, Kate for those troubled by its gender politics.

             Ian Soutar