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Wilde Lake High's 'Beauty' is fun, funny

The Baltimore Sun

Twirling forks and platters, bright confetti, serenading candlesticks - this is certainly not your everyday dinner scene. Yet, this was what the audience was served during Wilde Lake High School's production of Disney's Beauty and the Beast.

In the theater adaptation of the 1991 Disney movie, the life of a spoiled prince is changed forever when an enchantress turns him into a beast as punishment for his heartlessness. With only an enchanted rose and servants-turned-household-objects for company, the new Beast must gain the love of the beautiful Belle before the last petal of the rose falls. Will he win her heart or will the great, admired hunter Gaston get to her first?

The production was anchored by the sets and lighting. Rotating set pieces and mysterious fog succeeded in transporting the audience among three locations in the story. The more poignant scenes in the Beast's castle, however, were always overseen by a giant illuminated rose in the castle tower, gradually wilting and darkening as the production progressed.

Embodying a gentle yet headstrong young woman was Sara Trapnell as Belle. Her soaring voice and outgoing twist to the traditional beauty provided a fresh look at the loving village girl. Portraying her dark, lonely counterpart was Daniel Graham as the Beast. His solo "If I Can't Love Her" was heartfelt, winning him sympathy mixed with intimidation at his short temper and wilder nature. Vincent Santiago as Gaston provided comic relief between the two characters, mastering the ability to flex muscles, plan diabolical tricks and make the ladies swoon at the same time.

The sulking Beast would have had no one were it not for his faithful servants Lumiere (Danny Nairn) and Cogsworth (Chris DeCaro).

Alongside a quite vain vanity (Alexandra Aber), a cheerful pot of tea (Jessica Goldstein), and a frivolous feather duster (Joanna Grabau), they cheered on the Beast with perfectly timed comic relief and energetic numbers, such as "Be Our Guest."

Bouncing around with his master was LeFou (Matt DeCaro), who never ran out of energy and admiration for Gaston as he was constantly thrown about and knocked over by the master.

The cast was bedecked in colorful, stunning costumes. Belle's flowing, intricate ball gowns accented her character's beauty and grace, while the Beast's swirling capes gave his inner prince a sense of majesty.

The household objects, which gradually became more "un-human," used their inanimate costumes to express their animate personalities, such as Mrs. Potts waddling cheerily around the castle with her endless supply of tea.

Wilde Lake High School brought out the original magic of the timeless story of a beautiful love in its production of Disney's Beauty and the Beast.

Rebecca Wilson, a student at Mount Hebron High School, reviewed "Beauty and the Beast" for the Cappies of Baltimore, a program in which students review high school productions under the direction of their teachers and vote on awards for outstanding performances.

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