is the grass any bluer...

is the grass any bluer...
on the other side?

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Actors' Playhouse of Georgetown Presents BEAUTY & THE BEAST!


Greg JonesColleen SkellieMic BrockBarbie VineyKatherine RichardsLydia Reed and Rebecca Keith at Actors Playhouse of Georgetown.
Somehow, I have missed out on a lot artistic treats.  Beauty & The Beast is one of them.  My son is too old to have required its viewing. I have seen bits and pieces of the story, but truthfully, I have never seen any adaptation of the French fable, either on stage, page or on the big screen.  So when Kathy Jones asked me to go with her to see her hubby Greg perform as Monsieur Maison last night, I was more than tickled to have the chance to view this presentation by Actors' Playhouse of Georgetown.

We traveled to Georgetown and first had dinner at a sweet spot called Galvin's, then only a few blocks to a sweet little church called First Baptist of Georgetown on Jefferson Street.  The church was the perfect venue for such a production. Cozy, lots of parking, and every word that was uttered could be heard. The set was cleverly designed to quickly change from the Maison home to the Beast's castle, and the backstage crew worked hard to get everything moved in time to not lose the audience.

There was a terrific device that spewed smoke into the air of varying colors whenever a spell was cast, totally distracting the audience from the switches going on as well as leaving a steamy cloud hovering over the stage that gave the air a mysterious quality.  

An unusual but effective curtain speech was given by a gypsy fortune teller who 'foresaw' that we would all wash our hands when we used the facilities she directed us to use.  That set the tone for the play, which began with Madame Florica, powerfully played by Lydia Reed, who cast her spell on The Beast, portrayed by Chris Wilson who was perfect for the part.  He and Rebecca Keith's Beauty performed well together and were totally believable in this unlikely pairing as they danced their path to love and understanding.

Kathy & Greg Jones
Another actor, Michael Butts, played the part of the stuttering Joly, and we had the pleasure of seeing him bring his fragile character full circle, as well as Greg Jones as Beauty's father. Jones had to fight, scramble, love, hate, cry, AND nearly die in this show.  He was excellent, as always, and probably lost twenty pounds during the performance with all the activity in which his character was written to take part.  (After the show, the company gathered at Galvin's and Jones was his usual jovial self, entertaining everyone and putting the 'kids' at ease as is his way; he referred to the entire cast and crew as 'Family.')  

Also compelling were Beauty's two sisters, Marguerite (Katherine Richards) and Charlotte (Barbie Viney).  They were mean and despicable characters, bullying and being incredibly selfish like so many siblings know how to be.  I told Viney she was 'absolutely horrible' as Charlotte, and her face lit up with a huge smile as she thanked me profusely for saying that. lol  Gotta love the theatre folks!  

So the sisters were horrid, the gypsies were consistently conniving and solid, the servants-turned-goblinesque-gargoyles were silent and scary.  What more could a theatre-goer want?  Enter Jean-Luc, played by the very Matthew McConaughey lookalike Ian Scott.  He was charming in his role as Marguerite's suitor and showed comical bravery with quite a flair.  
Ian Scott

Oh, also ... there was the lovely smell and taste of popcorn ... and simple lighting that seemingly had millions of cues, but nevertheless was perfectly utilized.

For community theatre, this production has it all.  The entire family can be taken to this show and go away feeling good about the story, about the ending, about theatre in general. The costuming is very well done, along with the scenery which far exceeds the scope of what you would expect from a small troupe of players, many of them young folks.  The pride with which this troupe presents Beauty & The Beast is certainly extraordinary and I would suggest anyone who can get to Scott County this weekend or next go see it!  

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Written and directed by Justin Arnold, this production is dedicated to JB Nutter.

Dates:  February 12, 13, 19 20 -- 7 pm

            February 13, 14, 20 and 21 -- 2 pm

209 West Jefferson Street, Georgetown, Kentucky

www.actorsplayhousegeorgetown.com

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