Christmas Review


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Unicorn Theatre presents

Beauty and The Beast

Photo by Steve Hickey


by Phil Porter

Directed by Tony Graham

Unicorn Theatre

4 Dec - 23 Jan 2010









A review by Alexandra Carey for EXTRA! EXTRA!


Beauty and The Beast is the Unicorn’s family Christmas offering and it is every bit the part. Adapted by Phil Porter with a huge sense of fun and magic the show manages to be utterly timeless and yet perfectly of the moment. It seems to inhabit its’ own land, both in time and space as is fitting for such an ancient tale, but there is enough to remind us of home to keep audience members of all ages engaged. The play even has its’ very own language spoken in the magical castle of the beast!

Porter has a knack for finding the essence of the story, for bringing out the real meaning in a new and interesting way. The central plot device of Belle’s father’s farm, and the vegetable growing that seems to preoccupy everyone, is a lovely mirror of the tale’s biggest appeal - the love between Beauty and her Beast which grows over time in a startlingly realistic manner. Like the carrots, cabbages, and parsnips it requires attention, patience and, care. While the youngsters are encouraging their veggies, the older generation (whether parents or doting servants) are carefully nurturing the seeds of their young ones. It reminds us that it takes time to achieve anything - whether it’s growing some herbs or growing up, and it’s a message well worth hearing in our current climate. Morals galore abound gratifyingly in this wholesome Christmas tale, but it’s never preachy or over sentimental.

All of the cast give larger than life performances, full of the perfect balance of slapstick, cheeky wordplay and sensitivity. They take the audience with them every step of the way, and Graham’s direction, combined with Porter’s inventive script and Jason Southgate’s design, provides plenty of variety; there is singing, puppetry, a bizarre west-country boatman, and a whole host of inventive scene changes and effects. It is a feast worth celebrating. This play is bursting at the seams with tasty bits and pieces which will appeal to you whatever your age. There is simply too much to enjoy to catalogue here, so I heartily advise you to go and see it for yourself!


Photo by Steve Hickey



Unicorn Theatre
 147 Tooley Street, London SE12HZ

4th Dec - 23 Jan

Tickets: £19/£13/Family ticket £54

Box Office: 02076450560





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