Theatre & Film

Review: Beauty and the Beast at Memo Arts Centre, Barry.

Yesterday we spent our Sunday afternoon visiting the gorgeous Memo Arts Centre to see Beauty and the Beast.I love Memo, it has such history and beauty within its walls. You can read more about the history of Memo in my post here, if you’d like to find out more. This time around we sat downstairs in the theatre, and it was quite different from being up in the circle. The chairs aren’t fixed, so you have room to move about, and I felt closer to the screen, but I love the theatrical feel of the theatre seating and the height from the circle, so I think it’s all down to personal preference.

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I’ve been incredibly desperate to see the long-anticipated version of the 1991 classic, a film I have always rated highly. When I watched it for the first time, I felt completely connected to Belle; her obsession with books and feeling ‘different’ couldn’t have made me feel less alone. I once painted Beauty and the Beast upon the wall of my room when I was about 10 years old, and to this day the original movie has a special place in my heart.

I hoped the 2017 version would have the same effect, and I’m here to tell you…

It did!

I had no doubt Emma Watson would rock the socks off the character of Belle; she plays headstrong, intelligent and beautiful Belle perfectly. Her voice is beautiful, and I felt every emotion she portrayed, from frustration to anger, from passion to love. Emma Watson was Belle, there’s no doubt about that.

As for the Beast (and I get told off by Molly every time I call him that, so apologies!), he’s huge, loud and grizzly. But he’s the only character I really didn’t quite click with. Firstly, the CGI doesn’t quite hit the spot for me, I much prefer the 1991 animated counterpart, both his voice and his overall ‘look’. When he turns back into the Prince at the end I did feel disappointed, he just wasn’t what I imagined at all. I think I love the original Beast way too much, so it was never going to top the animated version.

I think the characters that surprised me the most were Maurice, Gaston and Le Fou. Firstly, Kevin Kline offers such a magical and heartfelt version of Maurice. He is gentle, kind, sweet and a wonderful inventor. His past is heartbreaking, and he is incredibly devoted to Belle. One of my favourite moments is when he sings How Does A Moment Last Forever, and Belle is watching him from across the room; simply magical.

Gaston and Le Fou also amazed me. Luke Evans totally rocked as Gaston, he was arrogant and brash, with a one-track mind and he oozed selfishness. His trusty side-kick Le Fou played by Josh Gad showed us a more eccentric version compared to the original, one I longed to befriend. His sense of humour throughout the film is perfect against the backdrop of the more serious side of the tale.

The entire film is clad in rich textures and vibrant colours; from costumes to scenery, it is a sensory delight! The beautiful French countryside in contrast to the constant winter at the castle, it’s simply magnificent. I was left in awe…

I love how both movies throw you straight into the musical side of things, I love musicals so this is the perfect way to begin, and it helps set the scene and vibe of the movie from the off. There were some new additions to the soundtrack, with more solos from Beauty and the Beast. It seems Alan Menken and Tim Rice teamed up to create three new fabulous songs for the new live-action movie, Evermore, Days In The Sun and How Does A Moment Last Forever, and let me tell you all three songs make the film feel more ‘whole’.

The songs add to the whole concept of back story and history given to each character as the film progresses, giving an insight into the characters and their relationships. We now know the similarities of Belle and the Beast’s past experiences; their loss and how their father’s played a key role in how they grew up and the kinds of people they might become. I love this comparison, but also the solid point that a person can change, we can delve deeper and become the people were were destined to be, we can fight the demons, the selfishness and our true selves can break free.

Beauty and the Beast is definitely a must-see movie, it feels like a different film to the 1991 version, and not in a bad way. It offers different ideas, it gives a history to the characters and it allows us to escape through different eyes.

I loved it, and if you’re a Disney fan, then so will you!

Beauty and the Beast is showing at Memo until Tuesday 18th April and advanced tickets are only £3!

Disclosure: I received tickets in exchange for review. All opinions are 100% honest and my own

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