With the film version of Beauty and the Beast set to hit theatres in March next year, the story of how true love can overcome even the ugliest of appearances is in the limelight.
Before we get to see the big Disney production, the Anglo Cypriot Theatre (ACT) will present a family-friendly Christmas version of the classic story, written by Alistair Clinton both adapted and directed by Leila Saad.
The show, which will be performed this and next weekend at the Russian Cultural Centre in Nicosia, is a first-time production for ACT.
The original story, about a monstrous prince who is trapped inside the body of a beast and must find true love to break the spell until all the petals on the magic rose fall off, first appeared in France over 350 years ago. Since then the story has been performed in countless adaptations, including Disney’s Oscar-winning cartoon version of 1991 which made us fall in love with the story all over again.
In ACT’s adaptation, the handsome prince is transformed into an angry, ugly beast by forgetful witch Ethel, who also imprisons the Prince’s servants in items of furniture until the prince can be redeemed by love. A chance accident brings feisty and resourceful Beauty and the Beast together. The question is, can Beauty see beyond the Beast’s aggressive and scary exterior to the true person trapped inside?
Beauty and the Beast has been directed by Saad who has developed the script and the team of actors to create a musical and romantic comedy with pantomime elements entwined with a modern staging. With her years of experience as an actor, director, producer and professor of theatre and communication, Saad – along with the show’s cast – has masterfully created a performance that both adults and children will enjoy.
Speaking about the performance, Saad said: “Beauty and the Beast is an imaginative and fun holiday show with a cast that spreads pure magic”.
During her 35-year residence in the USA, she directed and acted in many productions and also served as Professor and Assistant Dean of Students at Boston University, before returning to the American University in Cairo after her retirement from Boston University.
The cast includes performers new to ACT productions – Mohammed Awwad, Maria Pavlou, Philipos Kkalas, Mike Charalambous and Armen Godjamanian – as well as ACT favourites like Aleen Andreou, Thadd Correia, Jill McDonald, John O’Donoghue, Sam Stewart, Nadine Tsielepsis, Mathilde Ambiehl and Mary Spyrou, with an all-female chorus of Jennie Maria Anastasiadou, Anna Charalambous, Maggie Ioannou, Dawn Kollitsis, Ioanna Kyprianidou, Sandra Nicola and Esther Wallace.
New ACT President, Jane Bywaters said: “This is a hilarious adaptation brilliantly absorbing traditional pantomime elements, such as the dame and the mischievous pantomime horse, into a modern lively show – the very best way to start your Christmas celebrations.”
So, if you have a child who is over five years old, or simply if you’re an adult who loves the spirit of Christmas and is also a sucker for romantic classics and a good laugh, then ACT’s Beauty and the Beast is just the thing to watch over the most wonderful time of the year.
Beauty and the Beast
Performance by the Anglo Cypriot Theatre, adaptation by Alistair Clinton and directed by Leila Saad. November 26 and December 3 at 4pm and 7.30pm, November 27 and December 4 at 4pm. Russian Cultural Centre, Nicosia. €12/6. In English. Tel: 99-924363