Review: Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. $9-$18. Davis Musical Theatre Company, 607 Pena Drive, Suite 10, in Davis; (530) 756-3682; Through October 2.
Rated 4.0

The Davis Musical Theatre Company opened its 32nd season with Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, the classic tale wherein an odd girl meets a prince who is under a curse and they learn to love each other, despite the shortcomings of both, proving that love triumphs over all.

Rachael Sherman-Shockley is perfect as Belle, combining spunk with tenderness. This is not a saccharine heroine, but one who stands up for herself and earns the respect of the monster she does not realize is royalty.

Coury Murdock is scary as the prince turned into a beast for refusing to help a witch. The spell can only be broken if he learns how to love … and if someone will love him in return. There are funny moments as his staff (all of whom are slowly turning into inanimate objects as part of the curse) try to teach him how to woo a woman.

The real monster of the piece is Gaston (Travis Nagler), the bully determined to make Belle his bride, whether she wants to marry him or not. Fortunately, he gets his comeuppance. His partner, LeFou (Tomas Eredia) adds a real spark to the production.

Jan Isaacson’s choreography is sprightly and often show stopping, particularly in the case of the mug-clanking ensemble number set in the local tavern.

Sets, while not as opulent as one would hope for, are nonetheless massive and attractive and Jean Henderson’s costumes are particularly beautiful.