Beauty and the Beast (3 stars)

Beauty and the Beast

Dundee Rep, until Sat 3 Jan


Dundee Rep ensemble’s take on the ultimate love-triumphs-over-adversity fairytale is a bit of a mixed bag. The story takes a while to warm up, with an overlong preamble leaving you longing for the star to hurry up and make his entrance. The show does pick up considerably after the Beast (a cross between the Minotaur and a crestfallen Mick Jagger) takes to the stage, and the second act, set mostly in the enchanted castle, is a romantic dream of mirrored rooms, levitating chairs and floating dinner plates.

You certainly can’t fault the commitment of the cast, with Gemma McIlhenney a feisty heroine and Alan Burgon creating a suitably pitiable figure as the hapless, lovelorn Beast. The supporting cast too provides amusing comic relief, switching between an assortment of human and animal characters. The courtship of the Beast’s maid and butler (Sally Reid and Richard Conlon) is particularly sweet and funny. But there’s almost no opportunity for the audience to get involved with the action and, with such wild veering from major to minor throughout, the show is never quite the sum of its parts.

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