Beauty and the Beast at The Old Rep Theatre Birmingham: Review
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Not fitting in at school or being accepted by the popular crowd is a familiar tale. In difficult times, we are often reminded to look for the helpers. At school, that help often comes in the form of a teacher. This story of Beauty and the Beast is no different. A group of children struggling with friendships stops to listen to the story their teacher has to tell. And we are transported at once into the tale of Belle and her beloved Beast.
About Beauty and the Beast at The Old Rep Theatre
Like last year’s Alice in Wonderland, this version of Beauty and the Beast at the Old Rep is a reimagining of the familiar story. Original music and a few twists in the tale keep the audience enthralled. The production is a collaborative effort between professional producers and year 13 students at Birmingham Ormiston Academy (BOA). Four separate casts made up of around 200 students perform the play from 18th November to 16th December 2022.
An extremely talented cast bring the story to life with acting, singing and dancing that wouldn’t be out of place in the West End. Upbeat, rousing songs keep the audience tapping their feet and singing along to the musical element of the production.
Beauty and the Beast is a favourite fairytale that takes on an unusual twist in this production. A contemporary take on the story sees it told by a school teacher to pupils who are struggling with the pressures of social media. Rather than following the Disney plot, this version of Beauty and the Beast takes the audience on some slightly different twists and turns.
Rather than the subtle undertones of a moral to most fairytales, this one is very explicit. The pupils listening to the story take the time to analyse it as they go along, in true English Literature class fashion. This means that as an audience, we are treated to the intricacies of the good and bad parts of the fairytale. I would be interested to see some other classics retold through their eyes too.
A relatively large cast allows plenty of characters to be on stage together. This brings a great volume to the songs and depth to the dances. It’s great to see so many BOA pupils able to showcase their talents on stage.
What we thought of Beauty and the Beast at The Old Rep Theatre
The girls were gripped from start to finish by the story. They are of an age now where they relate better to the more modern take on it than they would to the fairytale itself. More than any other production, I find that the BOA’s annual show at the Old Rep inspires the girls to pursue their own interest in being on stage.
Unfortunately, we did all find it a little difficult to understand the words when some of the soloists were singing. I’m not sure why this was, the volume was fine but I’m not sure whether there was some interference with the microphones. Thankfully, this didn’t detract from following or enjoying the story and we would highly recommend popping along to see it if you get the chance.
What you need to know about Beauty and the Beast at The Old Rep Theatre
- Booking tickets: Tickets for Beauty and the Beast at The Old Rep Theatre are available from the theatre’s website.
- Performance dates and times: Various dates from 18th November to 16th December 2022.
- Performance length: The production lasts an hour and 45 minutes including a 20 minute interval.
- British Sign Language performance: A BSL interpreted performance takes place at 1.30pm on Saturday 10th December 2022.
- Getting to The Old Rep Theatre: The nearest train station is Birmingham New Street. There are several car parks very close by.
- Ticket prices: The standard ticket price is £21.50. Concessions are £19 and and a family ticket costs £72. Schools and educational groups have a special rate of £10.50
- Other festive events in the West Midlands: Check out this post to find out what’s on for families in the West Midlands this Christmas.