‘Beauty and the Beast’ a theatrical thrill

Reviewed by Logan A. White
Times-News correspondent

 

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Luc Stadler (Gaston), Hailey Korzekwinski, Sydney Pereira and Veronica Newsome rehearse a scene from the Alamance Children's Theatre's production of "Disney's Beauty and the Beast." [Photo submitted

A spellbound castle, singing teapots, and an enchanted love story adored by all ages — Alamance Children’s Theatre presents “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast” this weekend at the Paramount Theater, 128 E. Front St., Burlington.

Based on the famed Disney film, “Beauty and the Beast” is a classic tale of romance and redemption. Set in the countryside of France, the musical follows the adventures of Belle (Cornelia Barnwell) as she finds herself confined in the castle of the Beast (Wesley Shelton), a prince trapped in a monstrous form by the spell of an enchantress. To become human again, he must find true love before the last petal of an enchanted rose wilts. As Belle warms to the Beast and the castle’s quirky inhabitants, it seems that she will be the one to break the spell. But as the stakes rise and danger looms, will Belle and the Beast fall for each other before their time runs out?

With heartwarming characters and a classic soundtrack, “Beauty and the Beast” is a theatrical thrill. Cornelia Barnwell is delightful as Belle, exuding both a sensitive maturity and an unquenched thirst for adventure. She portrays Belle’s emotional peaks and valleys so vividly that the audience can’t help being enraptured by her tale. Wesley Shelton’s Beast is a wonderful counterpoint to Barnwell, fierce where Belle is gentle and weak where she is strong. Shelton finds the perfect balance between beastly ferocity and reluctant romance, creating a character that, despite his outer appearance, warms the heart. Luc Stadler embodies Gaston’s cocky swagger and inflated ego, making the huntsman’s self-centered motives seem perfectly normal. Dakarai Ince’s Lefou is the perfect bumbling, boisterous sidekick, providing just the right comedic touch. Aidan Tysinger and Joel Knudson are endearing as the dynamic duo Lumiere and Cogsworth, adopting the inanimate quirks and tics of their characters like a second skin, and Makani McKenzie’s Mrs. Potts is charming and delicate as fine china. The ensemble is excellent, bringing the castle and the countryside to life in brilliant displays of color and song.

With beloved songs like “Be Our Guest,” “Gaston,” and the classic “Beauty and the Beast,” this musical is a production of the highest caliber. From the innovative sets to the incredibly talented singing and acting, Alamance Children Theatre’s “Beauty and the Beast” is an emotional and visual treat for the entire family. Truly a tale as old as time, “Beauty and the Beast” is a show you won’t want to miss.

Logan A. White is a home-schooled senior and a Teens & 20s writer.

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