Beauty And The Beast Review – Kings Head Theatre

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST A MUSICAL PARODY

She’s grotesque. A possessive beast of a woman, to be sure. But look on the bright side, Beau: she’s got a lovely personality. Somewhere. Under all the fur.

A review by Tanya Howard

After a critically acclaimed 2017 run, Fat Rascal Theatre return to the King’s Head with their Offie nominated, gender-swapped musical parody of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast ahead of their UK tour.

A fairy tale land, far, far away. A handsome young bookworm who always dreamt of more. A hideous beast, in her cursed castle… It’s a tale as old as time, as you’ve never heard it before. Brace yourself for 100 minutes of boundless energy and musical mayhem as Fat Rascal Theatre explore whether fairy tales really can come true – even when the princess doesn’t quite fit the slipper.

As a 90s child I grew up on the Disney films with Beauty and the Beast being one of my top 3 favourites so when I read about Fat Rascal’s gender swapped parody I was intrigued and knew that I had to see the show. As the cast began the show recreating Steamboat Willy whistling at the helm of his boat, the Pixar lamp hopping across the stage and the shooting star over Cinderella’s castle I knew this was going to be the show for me.

Not only have they swapped the genders of Beauty and The Beast but every character in the show, and done with just enough swap that they avoid copyright breaches. The old beggar woman becomes the beggar man who transforms into the silver fox enchanter, crazy old Maurice is now crazy old Maureen, Gaston is now Siobhan, Le Fou is now Le Fou Fou, Chip becomes Crack, Cogsworth becomes Clockface, and so on.

They have also adapted the songs, still recognisable from the film but in their own style, like Be Our Guest becoming Have A Brunch, the song I never knew I needed in my life until seeing the show. Where you would normally have a lighthearted song about Gaston we get to see an amazing rendition of Siobhan, learning such traits like no gives head like Siobhan and how she would like to make Beau her bitch. Will there be a soundtrack released because I will be first in line?

The Fat Rascals set out to do what the 2017 remake failed to do, and that was to create a musical with real people, with real flaws, lessons and to make an impact. Why can’t the beast be a girl with hairy legs, as is her right, who has a golden vibrator that Beau happens to stumble across whilst nosing around the forbidden West Wing. Yes I didn’t see that coming but come on, she’s lived along for years and a girl has needs. If you couldn’t tell this isn’t a clean cut Disney show for the kids.

Not only does the show take on the gender stereotypes but it also makes light of some of the more ridiculous moments Disney portray. Gaston eats a ridiculous amount of eggs every day, or in Siobhan’s case it’s kale omelettes, and the impact that would have on a small provincial town would be enough to send someone crazy… Enter the crazy egg lady who appears throughout the show searching for the remaining eggs. Thinking she is just a small comical addition I was not expecting the plot twist at the end including her.

With all the press surrounding Disney lately, celebrities banning their children from watching, Russia banning the film over possible homosexuality connections, Fat Rascal have gone all out with bringing us the classic story but with hilarious mockery, fun lyrics and they had a lighthearted way of poking fun at real issues that we face today. Sometimes you need to just accept the ridiculousness in life and laugh out loud, and if you need a little release from the serious moments then this is definitely the show for you.

I honestly can’t praise the cast and crew of this show more, they put their heart and souls into the performance. I fell in love with every character, even Siobhan who I’m sure I was supposed to hate, but with their incredible acting, flamboyant performances and strong presence on stage you almost forget that there are only five actors in the entire performance. Seamlessly switching between characters, including household objects, I have to give a special shout out to Allie Munro who played Lumie, La Fou Fou and Maureen, who at some points were in the same scene and she switched roles and characteristics in a committed yet hysterical way.

I think that Fat Rascal and all the cast have a very strong future in comedy and will go a long way, and I’m excited to see that journey progress. This show is exactly what the world needs right now, a lighthearted hilarious evening of entertainment in the midst of sometimes harsh times. Highlighting the ridiculousness of the original movie but without offending any Disney lovers (or at least not this Disney lover), if you are looking for a badass heroine, an energetic and passionate cast and an evening full of hearty belly laughs then get yourself to Kings Head Theatre before 17th November and see Beauty And The Beast A Musical Parody.

Photo Credit: Nick Rutter