The Kings Head theatre in the heart of Islington is known as a welcoming and inclusive safe-space and you feel this from the off-set after a hilarious and warming welcome speech by one of the front of house ushers. We are quickly greeted by pure childhood nostalgia, with the packed house quickly turned into hysterics by an impeccable impression of Pixar's famous jumping lamp. Throughout the show we are greeted and treated to more surprise nostalgic cameos.
Challenging gender roles in a beloved childhood classic may seem difficult, but the company does it with ease. Robyn Grant as our Beast is utterly captivating and clearly enjoys the presence her large mane attracts. The simple but effective costumes add an extra layer onto an intelligently thought out show. Beauty and The Beast: A Musical Parody doesn’t rely on constant references to its theme either which is ultimately the right decision. Instead, throwaway lines remind the audience of Disney’s failure in their live action remake to deal with feminist issues. Like our female Beasts right to hairy legs (“Which is her right!”).
Jamie Mawson is also particularly funny as Beau (not Belle!). His comic timing is a treat to watch. The rest of the cast, consisting of Robyn Grant, Allie Munro, and Katie Wells interact perfectly and their chemistry is clear. Fused with a fantastic score by James Ringer-Beck each performers vocal ability is astounding in the parody laden score, each song filled with wit and a feeling of fresh, something new British musical theatre productions lack.
On the surface this musical comedy by Fat Rascal is a laugh-a- minute, almost pantomime like experience but if you delve a little deeper this show conveys an incredibly powerful message of empowerment and feminism. A parody of any beloved story can be a risk, but this high octane gender swapped version of Beauty and The Beast is nothing short of a roaring and utterly hilarious success. Fat Rascal Theatre endeavour to remind us of the movie industries failures to deal with feminism, but this production does that perfectly without shouting at it from the rooftops.