REVIEW: DISNEY'S BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

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Playing now through April 25 at Valhalla High School Theatre Arts

By Kathy Carpenter

Associate and Youth Reviewer sdtheatrereviews

April 19, 2015 (El Cajon) - Who doesn't love the romance of Beauty and the Beast? In a land far far away called Valhalla, the young adults came to entertain and entertain us they did. Was the show perfect, of course not. But where it lacked in singing, they definitely made up for in acting. This tale as old as time was funny, charming and totally well-acted. Bringing a slice of enchantment to those who ventured forth upon their theatre.

Beauty and the Beast is the tale of a spoiled rich prince who treats a beggar woman, who comes to the castle door with cruelness. thus, the handsome prince is turned into a Beast. And Belle, the beautiful maiden who loves to spend  time with her nose in a book. She is thought odd by the villagers. Gaston the town hunk has his heart set on Belle who wants nothing to do with him.

To end the curse the Beast must learn to love and  be loved in returned. By the time the last petal on the magical rose the crone gave him falls. He is running out of time when Belle comes to the castle. She offers herself in exchange for her mom who is imprisoned in the dungeon. The Beast agrees to free her mom if Belle promises to stay forever.

Gaston makes plans of his own to make Belle his. When he fails to force her attentions, he goes after the Beast. Being a fairy tale Belle falls for the Beast just in time to have him change back to a Prince and they live happily-ever-after.

Belle was portrayed by the sweet Megan Decker, with the sweetness in her voice Belle needs. The Beast,  was played by Rudy Garcia, his tone a little soft and pitchy, but he made a good

Beast. Gaston, Jordon Carlock, quite pitchy, but funny, he was Gaston. Lefou, Alex Bobroff, loved him. No wonder, he's Erica's, who I always love, brother. Erica was also in the play and did an amazing job as Maurice. ( Belle's mother instead of father) The play also featured Alexis Kotz, as Mrs. Potts. The best singing voice in the play, and talented actress.She rendition of "Beauty and The Beast" rocked. Sultan Al-Azzaai, a perfect Lumiere. Cogsworth, was played by a equally talented, Savanna Nell. Bebette, Katelyn Elleeraas, also a perfect fit. Rounding out with Jack Gardener as Chip, Micaela Applebaum, as Madame de la Grand Bouche. And as fabulous silly girls, Kori Cook, Annaleise Ruthburg and Jacquelyn Nguyen.

This being a school they had a huge case with about seventeen more young adults completing the ensemble and creating the magic of the show. Delightful rendition. The Technical staff rocks. The set was amazing. The Castle and Village really brought the show to life.

If you would like to indulge your inner need for fairy tales come support Vahalla as your performing arts spring fling.

It was also nice to see the students doing things together outside the play led by a leadership team of hand picked students showing great leadership skills. Who organizes events. One of the things they did was go to other schools to watch support and learn from their peers. A wonderful spirit of community.

The performances are directed by Joe Slevcore and choreographed by Claudia Dyson Hightower.

Remaining performances will run April 22, 23, 24 and 25 at 2 p.m. at Valhalla High School Theatre Arts, 1725 Hillsdale Road in EL Cajon.  For tickets visit www.ValhallaTheatre.com.