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“Beauty and the Beast” by Wild Rice

November 30, 2009
by

Event: Beauty and the Beast
Venue: Drama Centre Theatre
Run: 25th Nov – 19th Dec 2009

I recently caught this year’s installment of W!ld Rice’s annual year-end pantomime “Beauty and the Beast”, currently showing at the Drama Centre Theatre till 19th December and starring the likes of Karen Tan, Emma Yong, Chua Enlai and Lim Kay Siu.

I shan’t write an overly lengthy post on this, so let me just try to be as succinct as I can.

W!ld Rice has been at it for many years, and their experience and competence in staging a musical production of such a nature is easily evident the moment the musical starts.

The production was a constant feast for the eyes, thanks to the glorious costumes and props being used.

There are few finer experiences in local theatre than watching Chua Enlai in drag.

He has been at it for a number of productions now, and he’s in danger of bringing the art to perfection.

Laughs aplenty.

And of course, as is the trend in almost all local comedy productions lately, there was the inevitable poke at our dear “boomz” and “shingz” lady.

The songs to the entire musical were fully original, with lyrics by Alfian Sa’at and music by Elaine Chan.

I thought the songs were generally well done, but the one that stood out for me in particular was one which I believe goes by the title of “Come Closer”.

(It’s the one where Beauty sings together with The Beast…the one about “two left feet” or something.)

I think Elaine Chan excels at the slow, lyrical songs.

Perhaps I found it hard to shake off the overbearing memory of Disney’s own version of “Beauty and the Beast”, the gold standard which looms menacingly over all other noble attempts at retelling this enchanting tale, such that I couldn’t help but keep comparing this W!ld Rice production to the Disney cartoon-movie.

(And it didn’t help that “Beauty and the Beast” is one of my favourite Disney movies of all time!)

So there were parts at which I had half-expected Belle…er, I mean “Beauty” (as she is called in the W!ld Rice production) to break out into:

“Little town, it’s a quiet village
Every day like the one before…”

or:

“There’s something sweet, and almost kind
But he was mean and he was coarse and unrefined…”

If you’re a fan of the Disney movie, you’d know what I’m referring to.

I just couldn’t shake it off.

But that is a fault that is completely my own.

In conclusion, if you’ve got kids or if you’re looking for good family entertainment this holiday season, you’d do well to go catch the folks at W!ld Rice doing what they do best…and that is stage a funny, colourful, and enjoyable musical that entertains one and all.

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