The piece, a firm favourite for all the family, ballet aficionados and first-time attendees to a ballet, is being performed for the first time in four years at The Lowry. The cast includes three dancers from the North West; Yvette Knight from Lancaster James Barton from Birkenhead and Brandon Lawrence from Bradford.
Robert Parker, Principal Dancer, will play the Beast; the role created on him in 2003 when this production was born. Robert will dance the role for the last time at The Lowry in January before he retires from dancing in July 2012 to become Artistic Director at Birmingham Royal Ballet’s associate school, Elmhurst School for Dance.
This production of Beauty and the Beast, one of the most popular ballets in Birmingham Royal Ballet’s repertoire, received its world premiere on 1 December 2003 at the Company’s home theatre, Birmingham Hippodrome. Created by David Bintley, Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Director and widely recognised as one of Britain’s finest choreographers, the production has gone from strength to strength in the eight years since its creation. Now this story of passion and prejudice returns to The Lowry for seven performances only.
The plot follows a man searching the country to salvage his lost fortune, a once-wealthy merchant seeks shelter in a mysterious castle, where invisible forces tend to his every need. The merchant’s older daughters have demanded gifts of gold, jewels and fine clothes; the youngest, Belle, has asked for a single rose.
But when the merchant plucks just one bloom from the garden of the castle he unleashes a fearsome Beast, who exacts a terrible forfeit: in return for the merchant’s life, he must send his daughter Belle to live in the castle. As the dazzlingly beautiful Belle prepares to meet her beastly captor, she is about to discover for herself the meaning of true love.
A beautiful girl, a hideous beast, a golden ballroom full of animals, two outrageously haughty sisters and a grumpy grandmother worthy of Roald Dahl, dance, prance and rage through the unfolding pages of Philip Prowse's stunning storybook set of forests and castles, whilst David Bintley's rich choreographic palette brings to life magical transformations, wild waltzes, soaring formations of birds and a relationship between Belle and the Beast that is at first terrifying, but ultimately serene and beautiful.
BRB's Beauty and the Beast is at the Lowry from 24 - 28 January, 2012.