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  • Writer's pictureFrances

Beauty and the Beast in Concert Review | Bridgewater Hall | Manchester

I must resist the overwhelming urge to type Be Our Guest in continuous reams like a possessed character from The Shining because the deliciously hypnotising songs of Disney will do that to you. The soundtrack that would transport me straight to my happy place as a child is now accompanied by an orchestra and a cinema-sized screen. Expanding on the mesmerising melodies from lyricist Howard Ashman and composer Alan Menkenis is The Bridgewater Hall’s phenomenal Novello Orchestra. Led by David Mahoney; this live-action offers a take on Beauty and the Beast that shapes the memorable medleys with an animated musical performance.

Included in the new-ish range of revisited animated Disney classics is the 2017 live action Beauty and the Beast. 26 years after the original animation and the rose-coloured glasses you popped on as a child will be left untainted. With a fresh coat of paint, this feature captures the magic of its 1992 animation by altering almost nothing from its original story or direction. The fairy-tale come to life may be a mature retelling, but the stupendous musical blends elements of CGI fantasy that are in keeping with the cartoonish spirit that captured the imagination of its older audience. With Emma Watson as the book-smart Belle and Dan Stevens as the Beast, the spellbinding story has become the highest grossing PG-rated movie of all time in the U.S.

If you consider the live action film to be a step-up from the animated feature, then The Bridgewater’s live action with a live orchestra will have you on your tippy toes. Bringing the shared experience of the cinema back in a unique way, The Bridgewater has been able to engage a new audience that will hopefully continue to hold the love of a gifted orchestra regardless of the film attached. It is easy to get swept up in the Disney magic and forget about the incredible endurance of the orchestras members. Playing for over two hours, the show doesn’t offer many pauses for the team to rest their bows, flutes or horns.

It is a collaboration that wraps up The Bridgewater’s spectacular setting and an outstanding orchestra to offer a double dose of drama. Future screenings of films with live orchestras appear to have become more integrated into The Bridgewater Halls regular programme. If Disney isn’t your cup of tea, then there is always a chance to fall in love with the Hunger Games, James Bond and Indiana Jones, all over again.

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