New show Caged from Catherine Wheels
Theatre company adapt Beauty and the Beast with a non-Disney outlook
What’s in a name? Seemingly a great deal when it comes to selling a show, as Catherine Wheels theatre company discovered when they started work on their new fairytale adaptation, Caged.
‘We were originally going to call it Beauty and the Beast,’ explains artistic director, Gill Robertson, ‘but that was a problem because people naturally make assumptions about what type of show they’re going to see. This is definitely a re-telling of it, which is why it’s called Caged. It will be great fun and exciting, but it’s not the Disney version, there are no dancing teapots.’
Instead of enchanted dinnerware, Robertson and her team have focussed on the friendship between the main characters, as it evolves from dislike and revulsion to love and acceptance. ‘It’s about two people, who are obviously very different, negotiating their relationship,’ says Robertson. ‘The Beast starts off disgusted by who he is, wanting love but being so ashamed of himself – while Beauty is very constrained by expectations of being the good girl. So both characters undergo changes and influence each other. She has to accept him for who he is, and he’s got to accept himself.’
An emotional journey which may well have adults in the audience shedding a tear, but what about younger ones less attuned to the subtleties of the human condition? ‘It’s ultimately got to be a really exciting story for them,’ says Robertson, ‘that’s what pulls them through. I think there are lots of messages in there about learning to adapt and to accept difference, but I don’t like messages – it’s just got to be a really good story, and to have those fairytale and magical elements.’
Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh, Thursday 24–Saturday 26 March; Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Thursday 31 March–Friday 1 April.