The classic tale of a bright and beautiful young girl, Belle, who finds herself trapped forever in the enchanted castle of a Beast, was a real crowd pleaser, with tickets snapped up for the red carpet opening night and three additional performances.
A number of the main cast were played by two actors on alternate nights, including Belle, played by Anna Lamieri and Teigan Fisher-Stamp, flighty and flirtatious Babette by Louise Francois and Chloe Demay, and Lafou by Tinah Otula and Isabella Van der Putten. Also headlining the show over the four nights were Jack Bailey as boorish Gaston, Lucas Sperka as the Beast and Aleksander Niggli as the irresistible Lumiere. Their confident performances had the crowd laughing, booing and occasionally even near tears, as they truly brought this magical musical to life.
The NAIS Pudong auditorium was transformed for the show, with sets expertly built and backdrops painted by the school’s Design Technology and Visual Arts Departments, recreating the village and castle scenes in which all of the Beauty and the Beast action took place. Hours of work went into the project, and the results were stunning.
For the first time, two student directors were engaged for the performance. Frances Riddington and Nicola Brent, both in Year 11, worked tirelessly over several months, choreographing scenes and fine-tuning performances with the expert advice of Head of Drama, Mr Sam Bradshaw.
In the orchestra pit, some of NAIS Pudong’s best young musicians formed the pit band, playing the full score of the play, including the crowd favourites, “Beauty and the Beast”, “Be Our Guest” and “Human Again”. Conducting and playing the trumpet, Director of Music and the Arts, Mr Phil Bailey brought his years of orchestral experience to the band’s polished performance.
A real treat for the audience came at the interval when the student actors in character mingled with guests, taking photos and getting plenty of laughs. Many little princesses dressed specially for the evening, were thrilled to have their photos taken with the ‘real’ Belle, while also berating Gaston for his bullying ways!
The show even included a sneak preview of next year’s performance when a little red-hooded girl jumped out of the wardrobe and exclaimed, “Oops! I’m a year early!”
Congratulations to cast, orchestra and crew for a marvelous show!
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