If you follow Birmingham Hippodrome on Twitter, you may have seen some beastly antics around town this week. And that is, of course, because the Birmingham Royal Ballet are performing Beauty and the Beast.
If you head to this ballet expecting the happy, funny, charming Disney version that many of us have learnt to recognise, you will find this ballet surprisingly dark. Indeed, like most ballet adaptations of fairytales, Beauty and the Beast is intense the whole way through, apart from a few light-hearted scenes offering some comic relief.
With brilliant costumes and clever, effective set design, this ballet is definitely worth seeing. From large group dances, to duets, to solos, the choreography is stunning, gripping and is excellently executed by the large cast.
The choreography and costumes work brilliantly together, as the dancers perform animal-like movements, echoing their wild clothing. A particular standout moment is during the first act when a group of birds take Belle to the Beast’s castle. They move in a constantly rotating triangle formation, with lighting illuminating just the dancers’ faces and hands, carrying Belle towards the Beast. Dark and beautiful, this moment is exceptional.
In fact the lighting throughout the production really gives it a magical edge, highlighting and complementing the excellent performers.
If there are any parents out there worrying if this ballet lacks the cheer needed for your children, don’t worry (*spoiler alert*): we witness a stunning, happy, Disney-like ending!
Beauty and the Beast is only on for one more day. Catch it while you can!