It would take more than a haircut and a dance lesson to free the bewitched prince in Maine State Ballet’s latest production. But true love just might do the trick.
After its first run was delayed two years by the pandemic, choreographer Linda MacArthur Miele’s playful new version of “Beauty and the Beast” is now before an audience for the first time.
With brief passages of voice-over narration and sophisticated, comedic dance sequences juxtaposed, this family-friendly version of the classic tale, set to a variety of old and new music, seeks to enchant everyone. Judging by the many remarkably calm and attentive young people at the Saturday matinee performance of the study, it was certainly a success.
In the second of 11 performances over three weekends, the two-hour show, including two intermissions, sometimes hesitated to keep the pace of its storytelling as the production periodically shifted its tone from light to something dim. a little scarier. But the various elements, replete with impressive individual sequences and dazzling collective moments, revealed that the venerable ballet company was still capable of entertaining in a variety of ways.
Michael Hamilton has taken on the lead role of the prince (performers will alternate as the show unfolds) whose petulance causes him to be transformed by an enchantress into a hulking beast. Only love can break the spell, and through an encounter with a traveler stalked by Fred Bernier, the Beast comes face to face, or muzzle to face, with the man’s daughter.
Julia Lopez, as the beautiful Belle, seduces the furry one, whose dangerous horns are no match for her delicate touch and lighter-than-air movements. Lopez and Hamilton paired well as the two danced to break the spell and (spoiler alert) live happily ever after.
Along the way, dozens of colorfully costumed 18th-century villagers (by Gail Csoboth), not to mention the flora, fauna, and furnishings that surround them, come to life in scenes full of mystery, magic, and drama. celebration.
The dreamlike entertainment of the second act, reminiscent of “The Nutcracker”, featured a variety of mischievously miming and divinely dancing characters.
Arie Eiten and Katie DeSantis, as Clock and Wardrobe, respectively, provided plenty of laughs as they posed and argued in the Beast’s castle. A perky Agnes Norman became a throbbing harp while Emma Davis transformed into a harpsichord with quick fingers and quick feet. Adrienne Pelletier was a luxurious tapestry while Barry Brinker added humor as the gourmand Layer Cake.
The performance’s most appealing sheer dance sequence came when the Rose, Rhiannon Pelletier, led her Rose Maidens and Rosebuds in a charming final moment of ballet that was more than enough to charm just about any beast of the House.
Steve Feeney is a freelance writer living in Portland.
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