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A Parent's Review: 'Beauty and the Beast' at the Driftwood Theater

A tale as old as time promises to enchant you all over again



 

A tale as old time has a fresh look and feel. Beauty and the Beast at the Driftwood Theater takes a story and music that we love and adds a little magic of its own. Belle is in her best mighty girl form while maintaining a lovely air of femininity. With spectacular song and dance numbers, and quiet touching moments of friendship and love, Beauty and the Beast has it all.

 

The Driftwood Theater is a gem of a community theater located in Edmonds. The theater has a small stage but a big heart. Set Designer, Rick Wright, created a magical section of the castle as wide as the stage with its grand staircase that could move and attach to the upper level in three different locations. Using the additional entrance and exit points on the upper level, scenes could easily begin in one area as characters exited in another. The effect was one of intricate yet intimate settings.

 

The cast of Beauty and the Beast was simply stellar. Liz Oyama as Belle was ideal. My thirteen year old daughter commented, “she’s everything I want Belle to be.” She is independent, spirited, brave, and kind. Adam Othman as Cogsworth and Dakota Daley as Lumiere provide a dynamic duo of comedy and heart. Jimmi Cook as Gaston provided the villain that we love to hate, yet managed to make us laugh whenever he graced the stage. My daughter who had also seen him in Tarzan, kept remarking, “those are his real arms.” Yes, this Gaston didn’t need any help in the brawn department. John Han as LeFou was a scene-stealer. Regardless of where the action is on the stage, his face is where you want to watch. Katie Gary as Madame de la Grande Bouche provided some high notes that raised quite a few eyebrows. The entire ensemble was a delight. The vocal talents of the group cannot be exaggerated. They filled the theater with sonorous sounds that made the most of an already beautiful score.

 

The dancing in this show is not your typical community theater step-ball-change sort of stuff. The cast is asked to perform high energy, high skill moves, and they step up to the challenge. While Be Our Guest may have been the most lavish of the group numbers, my favorite was Gaston. The clever movements, changing formations, and rhythmic stein-clapping made for a spectacular number.

 

The intimate setting of the Driftwood Theater means that there is no bad seat in the house. Concessions are available in the lobby, and drinks are allowed inside the theater. The stage version of Beauty and the Beast contains several songs that are not in the movie, making it quite a bit longer than the movie so be prepared. The show gets high marks for family-friendliness. The wolf attacks are beautifully choreographed dance moves. The Beast, while often angry, is never too scary.  And after the show, Belle makes herself available for photos with young audience members. What could be better than that?

 

Under the direction of Andrew Coopman, the show maintains all the best parts of the story while still giving it something new. Each character and cast member has a moment to shine. His attention to detail is obvious. Yet he makes sure that each element serves the higher purpose of telling the story. Full of magic and full of heart, Beauty and the Beast promises to be an enchanted outing for you and your family this holiday season.

 

IF YOU GO:

Where:  Wade James Theater 950 Main Street Edmonds, WA

When:  Nov. 24 – Dec. 17, Thur –Sat. 8:00pm and Sun. at 2:00pm, extra Sat. matinees at 2:00pm on 12/2 and 12/16

Cost: Adult $28, Senior/Junior/Military $25

Contact:  www.edmondsdriftwoodplayers.org or 425-774-9600

 

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