Loreto College’s production of Disney classic ‘Beauty and the Beast’ played to packed houses throughout the week beginning October 14, delighting audiences at the primary school matinée and the four evening performances.
This was a very memorable and uplifting production, showcasing the College’s musical and dramatic talent and lifting the spirits of everyone who saw it as the Autumn evenings begin to grow darker.
Leading a hugely talented cast, Year 14 students Caitlin Moore and Patrick McMullan starred as Belle and the Beast. These were two finely judged performances which allowed the two to showcase their excellent singing voices, as well as telling the tale of the unfolding love story amid mystery – a tale of awakening for Belle and redemption for the Beast made very moving and true by both Caitlin and Patrick.
Belle’s would-be suitor Gaston was played with great spirit and panache by Year 14 student Cillian Calvert in a very witty, clever portrayal of the man who is ultimately a little too much in love with himself. Gaston’s sidekick, Le Fou, was played with energy and humour by Harry Bucukoglu (Year 11), providing a long-suffering and stylish foil to Gaston in an excellent double act.
Another superb double-act came with Aine Apperley and Orla McEwan (both Year 13) as Cogsworth and Lumière. Both displayed superb comic timing with just a touch of pathos, showing their characters’ humorous yet rather tragic predicament, and leading the famous chorus number ‘Be Our Guest’ with absolute brilliance. Meanwhile Shannon Dickey (Year 14) was a lively, engaging Mrs Potts, ably assisted by Niamh McHenry and Kevin Doran (both Year 9), who shared the roles of Chip on alternate evenings.
Great glamour and elegance was added to the Beast’s household by Anna McDowell as Babette and Erin McReynolds as La Grande Bouche – two wonderful performances by two Year 14 students who combined a sense of magic in their acting, dancing and superb singing voices.
Outside the Beast’s castle, we encountered Maurice, Belle’s father, beautifully portrayed as a slightly bumbling but very benevolent old man by Oliver Keys (Year 14) – clearly displaying his character’s affectionate, disaster-prone nature. The threatening figure of D’arque was menacingly played by Conall Simpson (Year 14) – clearly thoroughly enjoying his character’s deep sense of villainy!
Setting off the wonderful acting and singing of the lead cast was a large chorus, led by a small group of dancers and the unforgettable ‘Silly Girls’ – the local, perhaps rather gullible girls who are all in love with Gaston, adding humour both as a group and standing out as talented individuals. Every chorus
member, both Junior and Senior, was perfectly on note and in character, making the ‘big numbers’ highly impressive and enjoyable.
‘Beauty and the Beast’ was directed with tremendous verve by Loreto College’s Head of Drama, Mrs Oonah McEwan, ably assisted by Loreto’s Music Teacher Mr Brendan McCann as Music Director and Conductor. A superb backstage team, comprising a group of dedicated staff members and senior students, looked after props, special effects, stunning and highly imaginative costumes, make-up and the smooth running of the show, while Ms Lynda Stewart (Office Manager) took charge of the glossy programme.
On the last night, Loreto’s GCSE Food & Nutrition students, led by Home Economics teachers Mrs Sinead McNicholl and Mrs Mabel McAleese with assistance from the Loreto Canteen staff, produced a French-themed pre-theatre dinner for a select group of audience members.
In a busy week when families, friends, students and former students of Loreto College were warmly invited to ‘Be Our Guest’, ‘A Tale As Old As Time’ was told with great style and aplomb in the College Hall. This was a musical to remember, for those taking part as well as those in the audience. All the cast members, backstage crew and members of staff who worked so hard on the production throughout the last seven weeks were thanked and congratulated for their tremendous success by Mr Michael James, Principal of Loreto College, on behalf of the entire community of the school.