Delhi, bizarrely, for such a major capital city does not have anything resembling a thriving theatre culture.
Hardly any big overseas professional shows of any genre come here as part of their world tours. No ballet, no opera, hardly any orchestral concerts. No travelling Shakespeare, no pantomime at Christmas, no Broadway productions, no West End shows.
All of which makes the Disney production of the musical Beauty and the Beast, showing this week at the Thyagaraj Stadium, even more special.
For Beauty and the Beast is totally and utterly 100% spectacular, in a totally and utterly 100% world class way.
This production is sensational. No other word for it.
Everything is brilliantly done, fabulously executed – oh, the whole evening was a delight and a revelation.
A massive stage set, lighting that was breathtaking, seats that turned 360 degrees to allow the already restive audience to follow the show as it unfolded around them (more on the audience later), and a young energetic cast that danced and sang their hearts out.
I loved it.
I flouted rules and filmed bits of it (I know, I know, wrong of me, but they were always intended for this review, I promise).
So, here you go, enjoy these few illicit moments from a fabulous evening :
The beast, Edwin Joseph, with a voice that is simply amazingly stunning.
Right, now for a few thoughts.
Delhi audience #1. You applaud, dammit, at the end of such a brilliant show. You do not get up and start leaving before the finale. And for those of you who managed to stay in your seats and watch said rousing finale, I repeat, you applaud. As in you put your hands together and applaud.
There were whole rows of folk just watching. No applause, nothing. What is wrong, people, with showing a bit of support?
Delhi audience #2. You arrive on time.
Delhi audience #3. You do not wander in and out, and out and in during the show. Constant to-ing and fro-ing disturbs everyone else.
Delhi audience #4. You do not sit and check your email/Facebook/sms on your phone (even on silent mode) because that distracts others around you.
I don’t have the heart to criticise you, oh ill-mannered Delhi audience, for your chattering, restive children because
(a) they all learn by example and what example were you all giving last night and
(b) they were children, after all.
Anyway, that’s quite enough about an audience that could do with better manners.
I do have one last question, though : why, oh why were all those brilliant young members of the chorus not mentioned in the programme? There was a massive cast, but only the principals were named, whereas all the stage crew were (deservedly) mentioned. The members of the chorus sung and danced and cartwheeled their young hearts out and they deserve a mention in the programme.
I would’ve loved a cast list for the night, to know which Gaston, which Lumière, which Babette etc was performing – all those roles which had 2 actors would benefit by having a list for the particular show.
So, hope I’ve got the correct Gaston here for the 5pm show on 23rd December – Hitesh Malukani was super, with exactly the right amount of braggadocio for this great role.
Edwin Joseph as the beast, I have mentioned above – a stunning fab voice.
Meher Mistry as Belle – lovely voice, great acting skills.
All in all, a fabulous show.
Bravos all round!