REVIEW: Beauty and the Beast – A Space Adventure, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough

Gilly Tompkins is Mother Ship in Beauty and the Beast
Gilly Tompkins is Mother Ship in Beauty and the Beast

“I wish Beauty and the Beast was real life.”

Sadly, I can’t share with you the rest of my five-year-old daughter’s verdict as it gives away too much of the plot –clearly she’s not quite grasped the delicate intricacies of theatre reviewing.

However, along with the rest of the audience, she was entranced by Andrew Pollard’s futuristic reworking of this classic fairy tale.

Set in Scarborough 2525, humanity has been driven to live in cradles above the earth by rising water levels and interaction with the virtual world far safer than setting foot outside these protective catacombs.

Within this futuristic framework are not-so-subtle references (digs?) to celebrity culture – with Lucas Smith’s S.X (Essex – get it?) parodying the type of (I’m A) Celebrity (Get Me Out Of here) we are temporarily fascinated by before throwing on the scrapheap.

Without giving too much away, this is a story that manipulates social and gender stereotypes and perceptions of beauty with Veridatas (Rebecca Tanwen) and Beau (Christopher Sawalha) exploring issues of family and self doubt.

I’d like to say it was this combination of science, celebrity and society that hooked my older sons, but to be honest the production had them at the first appearance of the monkey-suit!

Unusually, for a Christmas production, this show has a dark edge and poignancy to it that left my daughter clutching at me and promising not to leave.

Because of this, I felt the ending was slightly too rushed – the resolution seemed a bit too fast for me and I would have liked to see more of the process.

Saying that, my children differed, enjoying the inevitable happy ever after without worrying too much about how they got there.

It’s a show that left us wanting more – what else can you ask for?

It runs at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, until Saturday December 28, times vary.

Review by Sarah Dowey