Hats off to stars of Beauty and the Beast

Evan Kalmakoff’s Beast peers over the shoulder of Melody Watkins’ Belle as she reads him the Legend of King Arthur. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Evan Kalmakoff’s Beast peers over the shoulder of Melody Watkins’ Belle as she reads him the Legend of King Arthur. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Melody Watkins played Belle in PSO’s adaption of Beauty and Beast. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Melody Watkins played Belle in PSO’s adaption of Beauty and Beast. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Belle, played by Melody Watkins, teaches the children of her village how to read in a musical adaptation of Beauty and the Beast. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Belle, played by Melody Watkins, teaches the children of her village how to read in a musical adaptation of Beauty and the Beast. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Kyle Lawrence flexes his muscles as he embodies the role of Gaston in Beauty and the Beast. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Kyle Lawrence flexes his muscles as he embodies the role of Gaston in Beauty and the Beast. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Kyle Lawrence’s Gaston (centre) is mobbed by the women of the village after he announces his intention to marry Belle. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Kyle Lawrence’s Gaston (centre) is mobbed by the women of the village after he announces his intention to marry Belle. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Liam Guimond’s Maurice smiles in delight as he shows off his latest invention to his daughter Belle, played by Melody Watkins. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Liam Guimond’s Maurice smiles in delight as he shows off his latest invention to his daughter Belle, played by Melody Watkins. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Maurice, Liam Guimound, smiles as he receives a new scarf from his daughter Belle, Melody Watkins, during a production of Beauty and the Beast. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Maurice, Liam Guimound, smiles as he receives a new scarf from his daughter Belle, Melody Watkins, during a production of Beauty and the Beast. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Liam Guimound (left) jumps in character as Maurice alongside Babette, Cate McArthur, Lumiere, Sarah Carter, and Cogsworth, Megan Holyk. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Liam Guimound (left) jumps in character as Maurice alongside Babette, Cate McArthur, Lumiere, Sarah Carter, and Cogsworth, Megan Holyk. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Liam Guimound’s Maurice (center) reels back in horror at the sight of Evan Kalmakoff’s Beast (far right). (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Liam Guimound’s Maurice (center) reels back in horror at the sight of Evan Kalmakoff’s Beast (far right). (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Melody Watkins as Belle teases Gaston as he attempts to woo her. (Patrick Davies photos - 100 Mile Free Press)Melody Watkins as Belle teases Gaston as he attempts to woo her. (Patrick Davies photos - 100 Mile Free Press)
Melody Watkins sings during a production of Beauty and the Beast. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Melody Watkins sings during a production of Beauty and the Beast. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Klaudia Slosarkova as Mrs. Potts (left) harmonizes with Melody Watkins as Belle and Rachel Shaw as Madame de la Grand Bouche in PSO’s production of Beauty and the Beast. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Klaudia Slosarkova as Mrs. Potts (left) harmonizes with Melody Watkins as Belle and Rachel Shaw as Madame de la Grand Bouche in PSO’s production of Beauty and the Beast. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Jasper Gillis’ Lefou and Kyle Lawrence’s Gaston share a drink together in Beauty and the Beast. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Jasper Gillis’ Lefou and Kyle Lawrence’s Gaston share a drink together in Beauty and the Beast. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Kyle Lawrence (center) drinks in the adoration of his cast members as Gaston while Jasper Gillis as Lefou sings his praises. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Kyle Lawrence (center) drinks in the adoration of his cast members as Gaston while Jasper Gillis as Lefou sings his praises. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Lefou, Jasper Gillis, struggles to get free of Gaston’s, Kyle Lawrence, iron grip. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Lefou, Jasper Gillis, struggles to get free of Gaston’s, Kyle Lawrence, iron grip. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Kyle Lawrence and Jasper Gillis harmonize together as they finish the musical number Gaston. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Kyle Lawrence and Jasper Gillis harmonize together as they finish the musical number Gaston. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Klaudia Slosarkova (left), Sarah Carter and Megan Holyk give the Beast some advice during the production of the Little Mermaid. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Klaudia Slosarkova (left), Sarah Carter and Megan Holyk give the Beast some advice during the production of the Little Mermaid. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
The cast of Beauty and the Beast performs ‘Be Out Guest’ in the 100 Mile House Community Hall. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)The cast of Beauty and the Beast performs ‘Be Out Guest’ in the 100 Mile House Community Hall. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Sarah Carter’s Lumiere (left) dances with Melody Watkins’ Belle and Klaudia Slosarkova’s Mrs. Potts during a high energy performance of ‘Be Our Guest’. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Sarah Carter’s Lumiere (left) dances with Melody Watkins’ Belle and Klaudia Slosarkova’s Mrs. Potts during a high energy performance of ‘Be Our Guest’. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Evan Kalmakoff’s Beast fends off wild wolves during the run of Beauty and the Beast. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Evan Kalmakoff’s Beast fends off wild wolves during the run of Beauty and the Beast. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Belle, Melody Watkins, attempts to show the Beast, Evan Kalmakoff, how to properly drink tea. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Belle, Melody Watkins, attempts to show the Beast, Evan Kalmakoff, how to properly drink tea. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Evan Kalmakoff’s Beast looks around in panic after accidentally ripping his book in two. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Evan Kalmakoff’s Beast looks around in panic after accidentally ripping his book in two. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
The staff of the enchanted castle celebrates the budding relationship between Belle and the BEast during a production of Beauty and the Beast. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)The staff of the enchanted castle celebrates the budding relationship between Belle and the BEast during a production of Beauty and the Beast. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Klaudia Slosarkova sings ‘Tale As Old As Time’ as Mrs. Potts while her son Chip, Cassidy Wall, sits in front of her. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Klaudia Slosarkova sings ‘Tale As Old As Time’ as Mrs. Potts while her son Chip, Cassidy Wall, sits in front of her. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Melody Watkins’ Belle and Evan Kalmakoff’s the Beast dance together during PSO’s production of Beauty and the Beast. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Melody Watkins’ Belle and Evan Kalmakoff’s the Beast dance together during PSO’s production of Beauty and the Beast. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Melody Watkins’ Belle and Evan Kalmakoff’s the Beast dance together during PSO’s production of Beauty and the Beast. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Melody Watkins’ Belle and Evan Kalmakoff’s the Beast dance together during PSO’s production of Beauty and the Beast. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Melody Watkins’ Belle and Evan Kalmakoff’s the Beast dance together during PSO’s production of Beauty and the Beast. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Melody Watkins’ Belle and Evan Kalmakoff’s the Beast dance together during PSO’s production of Beauty and the Beast. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Jasper Gillis’ Lefou and Kyle Lawrence’s Gaston rally the townspeople to kill the beast. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Jasper Gillis’ Lefou and Kyle Lawrence’s Gaston rally the townspeople to kill the beast. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Lefou, Jasper Gillis, flees in terror from Madame de la Grande Bouche, Rachel Shaw, during Beauty and the Beast. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Lefou, Jasper Gillis, flees in terror from Madame de la Grande Bouche, Rachel Shaw, during Beauty and the Beast. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
The Beast, Evan Kalmakoff, fights for control of a knife with Gaston, Kyle Lawrence. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)The Beast, Evan Kalmakoff, fights for control of a knife with Gaston, Kyle Lawrence. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Belle, Melody Watkins, grieves over the Beast, Evan Kalmakoff, as he succumbs to his wounds at the climax of Beauty and the Beast. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Belle, Melody Watkins, grieves over the Beast, Evan Kalmakoff, as he succumbs to his wounds at the climax of Beauty and the Beast. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
The cast of Beauty and the Beast dance to Rick Astley’s ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ at the end of the show. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)The cast of Beauty and the Beast dance to Rick Astley’s ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ at the end of the show. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

Peter Skene Ogden Secondary School’s Theatre Troupe brought Disney-classic Beauty and the Beast to life last week.

The musical tells the story of the beautiful and intelligent Belle who becomes trapped in an enchanted castle with the monstrous and boorish Beast.

With a little help from the Beast’s castle staff and a musical number or two, Belle and the Beast fall in love and break the curse. As the song says, a tale as old as time.

From the second the curtain rose, the cast and crew captured the feeling of a fairy tale. A minimalist set combined with projected cartoon backdrops allowed the audience to use their imaginations to paint in the rest of the scene. This was helped along by a skilled stage crew who kept the play on track with efficient scene changes.

The show was anchored by the performance of Melody Watkins, cast perfectly as Belle. Beyond a physical resemblance to her animated counterpart, Watkins brought an earnest, vulnerable and spirited energy to the role that made her a compelling character to follow. Even while singing she remained in character, using subtle facial and hand movements to convey her character’s emotions.

Evan Kalmakoff’s Beast took some time to find his feet. He proved to be a great physical actor looming over Belle but never truly felt bestial or dangerous. In the second act, Kalmakoff grew into the role as he explored the Beast’s more awkward and sensitive side.

This made their eventual relationship between Kalmakoff and Watkins feel like genuine young love. The couple was supported by a large ensemble cast of characters, none of whom wasted a moment of their screen time.

An unquestionable audience favourite was the living candelabra Lumiere, brought to brilliant life by Sarah Carter. She harnessed an infectiously energetic persona complete with a French accent she maintained even when singing. Carter’s roguish charm was counterbalanced nicely by Megan Holyk’s stiff and self-serious Cogsworth.

The role of Mrs. Potts isn’t traditionally a large one, but despite that, Klaudia Slosarkova stole every scene she was in. Slosarkova’s motherly spirit paired with a sassy attitude was a delight to watch and got more than a few laughs from the audience.

Outside the Beast’s castle, Kyle Lawrence was on the prowl as Gaston. With seemingly little effort Lawrence ate up his role as a strong, handsome lout who thought of no one but himself. His arrogance was enabled wonderfully by Jasper Gillis as Lefou, who brought an appropriately servile hustler energy to their relationship.

On the musical side of things, the principal actors proved equally strong. Watkins’ powerful voice carried Belle and Home while Lawrence brought a baritone swagger to Gaston and Kill the Beast. Slosarkova once more stole the show with her rendition of a Tale As Old As Time, which gave Kalmakoff and Watkins’ dance number a magical feeling.

Voice projection was an issue for many of the actors in the ensemble. Without the microphones that the main characters enjoyed, they were often hard to hear, especially when loud music would drown them out. This and a few other technical issues disturbed audience immersion but did not break it.

By the end of the night as the cast and crew danced to Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up one couldn’t help but leave the theatre smiling. If this is what PSO’s Theatre Troupe can pull together in an after-school club, I can’t wait to see what they do next year.

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patrick.davies@100milefreepress.net

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