Review: ‘Beauty & The Beast' spellbinding at Mariemont

Illuminated by the radiating fireplace and the wick of everybody’s favorite singing candle, Mariemont High School’s wonderful production of the “Beauty and the Beast” was brought to life through the hard work and dedication of budding performers.

Written by Disney’s famous Alan Menken, Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, “Beauty and the Beast” follows the story of the imaginative and adventurous Belle as she fights off arrogant suitors such as Gaston. In a deal to save her father (or in this case, her mother), Belle relinquishes her freedom and is imprisoned in the castle of the Beast. The Beast, who is cursed due to his vain ignorance, must win the love of Belle before the curse becomes irreversible. Most widely known for the 1991 film, “Beauty and the Beast” transcends through the hearts of all viewers as it revitalizes the truth that love has no bounds and can indeed conquer all.

Lauren Renner played the princess we all know and love, Belle, leading the show with grace, warmth and charm. Alongside her, Gavin Smith played the Beast with compelling anger and a convincing change of heart as he softened to the girl who just wanted to escape her provincial life.

Perhaps some of the most iconic roles in theatrical and Disney history, the supporting cast did not fail to impress. Reliable for a laugh and a quirk, Cole Stewart played the tick-tick-ticking Cogsworth with impeccable comedic timing and served as an anchor for the show.  His rigid, bemused behavior delighted all those lucky enough to see it. At his side, the unforgettable Lumiere was played by Santi Martinez who lit up the stage with charming vocals and a well-practiced French accent. Tying the show together, Hunter Theirs wrapped up maternal warmth and kindness vital to her character of Mrs. Potts. The trio stunned, amused and entertained in their desperate endeavors to become human again.

Bringing to life the town and all those in it, the ensemble reinvigorated the stage with energy and life as everything from napkins, to spoons, to bakers to members of an angry mob. Their energy truly drove the show and told the classical tale.

The technical elements of “Beauty and the Beast” that created the fairytale magic are not to be forgotten. The lighting, designed by Sean Oberton-Vester, highlighted the enchantment of the Beast’s transformation and sparkled behind the set with a starry night. One notable aspect was the lighting that was kept constantly on the metaphorical rose that was held in the castle’s west wing. 

Overall, Mariemont High School entertained and delighted through their impressive hard work and rigorous rehearsal schedule. Behind poignant and quaint storytelling, the undying truth of home and love came forth in this excellent production of the classic tale, “Beauty and the Beast.”

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