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“Beauty & the Beast”

I can only heap praise on the School for making this end of year production such an all-encompassing one.  Director Susie Conder never fails to bring the whole production to a great conclusion, with the assistance of MD Debbie Nicholls.

Every pupil in the final year is involved in one way or another, either on stage, technically or with marketing etc, under the guidance of their teachers, to present a super production for proud families.

It is a big thrill for me to be asked to attend this event each year, and it never fails to engage me, the sheer size of the project is testament to the teachers and pupils desire to perform to their utmost.

The set was very well-designed and constructed, I liked the columns that had different faces to them – trees and architectural columns - so a simple half turn converted to a different set.  The house was lovely, and also converted with the use of various flats, all bright colours and with a lighting design that gave us some atmospheric and beautiful effects.

Sound was a little suspect at times, but overall the technical guys did well – some of the performers who didn’t have personal mics needed to stand closer to the standing mics for optimum sound.  This was particularly so for the narrators, some of who were easily heard, others not so prominent.

Becky Holmes made a charming Belle, she sang the part with such expression, and created a lovely part.  Her facial expressions were very good, she showed the real fear of being in the woods, and concern for the Beast – a good performance.  Becky’s costumes were lovely and she wore them well.

Reece Bithrey gave us a concise and articulate Lumiere – not an easy part when you have to have your arms suspended in the air all the time – but he did really well, and I enjoyed his performance – both amusing and commanding.

I really liked Tom Arnold as Gaston – he had the swagger and conceit of the man, with good projection and a slightly tongue-in-cheek way of speaking.  He showed good attention to detail.  Tom moved well, and died with great effect!

Sophie Warren was a cheeky Le Fou, she interacted well with Gaston, and they gave us some really amusing moments.  She was not afraid to throw herself around and I enjoyed what she did with the part.  The costume was just right.

Connor Williams gave us a nice warm character as Belle’s father, very caring of his daughter, and a twinkle in his eye, which added to the portrayal.

The Bookseller, played by Adam Hills, only had a few lines, but he spoke really well.

I thought Hayley Button did a sterling job as Cogsworth – she had a really good feel for the status as head of the Beast’s household, delivering some very amusing lines with confidence.  A very well-studied and well-delivered performance.

Mrs Potts was played by Isha Chavda, and she gave us a real feel of the mother who just wanted her little boy to have a normal life.  She sang her song well, and I liked what she did with the part.

Jasper Thorne was a cheeky Chip, Mrs Potts son – plenty of bright facial expressions and good projection.  Nicely performed.

The Silly Girls – Rose Day (purple costume), Sophie Morrell (green costume) and Nineve Reed (red costume) the night I was there - needed more confidence in general as facial expressions were not always there.  

Edward Stevens as the Beast, gave a sympathetic performance, with good attention to the detail of the words, and a very good costume as the Beast, so the change to the Prince worked well.

I liked the use of the gauze curtain for the opening, to show why the Prince was turned into a Beast – and the uniform changing of arms by the lads who held the curtain up was very well done, as it stayed steady the whole time.  Liberty Roberts was the Enchantress in this scene, and got rid of her cloak with a flourish.

Babette was played very well with a cheeky edge by Katie Edmunds and Isabelle Brown played the Wardrobe with conviction.

There were many smaller parts, all accomplished well, and the ensemble undertook their musical numbers well.  There were some lovely harmonies used too, particularly in Home.

I liked the reverb on the mics for the prison scene, it created good atmosphere. The Mob Song was very good, the ensemble all bought into it, and it was strong in the presentation by everyone.

So overall a super production, everyone should be really proud of themselves and what they’ve accomplished.  I was very impressed once again, and it is always such a joy to me to see so many young people performing and being involved in other aspects of a production, as it gives both those involved and their audience a real buzz.

Parkfields Middle School - 10th July 2015


Director, Producer & Choreographer:  Susie Conder

 MD:  Debbie Nicholls


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