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What did you think of LA BELLE ET LA BÊTE?

How did technology transform the tale of Beauty and the Beast? Let us know what you thought about La Belle et la Bête by commenting here.

11 Comments

  1. Gail BuckleyDecember 7, 2012 at 9:36 am

    I really enjoyed it. I usually don’t like technology in theatre..I think there are many ways to be creative without it but this was so beautifully done my opinion has changed. Thank you.

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    • I thought Don Aucoin’s review in the Globe was pretty accurate. His review title – ‘Better Seen than Heard’ kind of summed it up. I read it after seeing the show and after a long discussion with the friend who attended the show with me. Visually, we found it was amazing and stunning in every way possible. Somewhere way beyond ‘wow’. The dialogue, plot and characters however, were as underwhelming and pedestrian as the visuals were overwhelming and extraordinary. The disconnect was jarring, to say the least. By the end of the show we found ourselves emotionally cold and indifferent toward the characters fates. We found the two leads utterly unconvincing in their roles largely, I believe, due to the pedestrian, conventional dialogue and plot and the uninteresting and dull costumes and make-up. The actors just couldn’t measure up to the visual dynamics, saddled as they were with such dull text. It was as if you got this amazingly wrapped package – but inside was .. a fruitcake. Or, another analogy – you are ‘presented’ with this amazing looking dinner at a high-end restaurant – but the food itself is actually ho-hum. Hopefully, the 4D folks learn from this that the text, dialogue and costumes are as equally important as the visuals since their talent(s) in that area are superb .

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      • Totally agree with this comment–sums it up for me!

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      • Martha MasonDecember 9, 2012 at 8:51 pm

        I have to disagree with Timo and the reviews. I thought that La Belle et La Bete was one of the strongest works I’ve seen in years. I saw the pedestrian costumes and dialogue not as an oversight or lack of imagination but an intelligent choice to make what is a fairy tale, become absolutely plausible. The characters were real, contemporary people with contemporary jobs and relationship issues. The visual was the inner life and the dream world.

        I also understand how much work went into the precision of the technology and having it appear effortless. How much editing went into the dialogue to have it be just the right amount of text. The actress who played “Belle” was compelling in both her movement and her voice. The narrator, with the conservative exterior (blond, shoulder-length hair, pearls) and a creepy inner life, was the perfect mix.

        The music was… okay. It’s easy to think another score might have highlighted the work better, but I prefer to enjoy what the artist has served us, rather than project my own desires as to what I would have done differently. This is an important part of keeping an open mind. Something that Boston audiences and critics are not known for.

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    • Lovely to look at but horrible to listen to; best seen w/earmuffs. The technology was stunning but the plot & dialogue made me feel sorry for the actors.

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  2. Lewis ButlerDecember 8, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    Over-the-top special effects – loved the galloping horse, shattering mirror, growing vines and all the other ‘whizzbangetry.’ When the vines grew out into the theater it was really spectacular. Just wish there had been a teensy weensy little bit of attention to the plot, characters and dialogue. The plot was based on Beauty & the Beast so the writers had a pretty good head start but they completely failed to develop the characters (why did she like him in the first place and why [SPOILER ALERT] did she leave him at the end?) And what was up with the narrator? It was a clever idea to make her more than “just” a narrator, but her relationship to the characters made no sense at all. As to the dialogue, the language sounded like straight out of a soap opera – every single line was completely over the top, full of drama and dripping with emotion. Oh well. Certainly an interesting concept with the technology and I look forward to the next play that uses both technology and talking effectively.

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  3. eliSabeth TaylorDecember 9, 2012 at 9:42 am

    I agree with Timo!

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  4. David MillerDecember 9, 2012 at 11:06 am

    My wife and I were glad we attended, but as Timo mentions, we were far more taken the piece visually than dramatically. We did appreciate the different take on the original story – particularly that Beauty was not entrapped in the relationship, but was more assertive. We weren’t put off by the characterizations or acting of Beauty and the Beast. (Then again, we like fruitcake.) However, The Lady we found particularly problematic. Was she a narrator or storyteller? Was she an antagonist? If the latter, why – what actual relationship did she have with the Beast and why did that matter? Every time she stepped into the story, it wasn’t at all clear why she belonged there. She just seemed to slow the story down. And as storyteller, the writing provided her was often platitudinous (“And you – who are you?”). It seemed, dramatically, a quite old-fashioned stage convention.

    But visually, the piece was a knockout – so overall it was well worth it for us to have been there.

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  5. the part when the girl was throwing red paint that resembled blood got me upset i just chose the wrong play very strange and avant garde that had to be the worst show I have seen in a long time

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  6. Carolyn GregoryDecember 10, 2012 at 11:18 am

    Attended La Belle et la Bete yesterday afternoon and enjoyed it, with some reservations. The technology with multiple screens and laser-generated images was fabulous and made this production work for me. I would say the same for the music in the background. It did not matter to me much that neither Beauty nor the Beast are fully formed characters since this is a fairy tale and symbolism predominates in both the original and the production. I DO have to say, though, that I found the over-use of the woman narrator to be a problem, both physically and otherwise. Her presence sometimes obstructed my view in the fifth or sixth row.

    The sense of magic was here and I felt positive when I left the theatre. As a writer, I do feel that this is maybe a third draft of a play which needs some revision to work. Less use of the narrator, more use of magic and chemistry between Beauty and the Beast.

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  7. I loved LB et LB in every aspect. I found that I was immersed in the story and presentation right from the beginning without the least boredom. To the contrary, I was enthralled with the acting, the music, and special effects. I thought that all three of these aspects seamlessly complimented and supported each other throughout.

    I found that I often lost all sense of time and place. The grander of the Majestic was a perfect backdrop for the lusciousness (and largeness) of the visual production. I love it that the sets were so strikingly minimal – with the vast tilted stage, moving scrims, and huge blank surfaces. In their starkness, they afforded the ability to project immense complexity as well as deep emotional expression. This combined with the brilliant combination of the many visual effects, coupled with the actor’s strength of externalized expressive movement, left me at times open-mouthed and speechless. The use of what looked like moving smoke and holograms was extraordinary. I did not for a moment, feel like any special effect was produced for “itself”. To the contrary, they all supported and strengthened the emotional impact of each moment.

    There were so many extraordinary moments in the show. Some of my favorites were the scene with the beast and his former self reverberating in and out of his being. The many scenes with the giant horse – powerful, with his raw strength and male sexuality, his beastly beauty, how he dominated her thoughts and dreams. I loved the interjection of comedy in the good voice and bad voice (giving her suggestions). Then there was the relief of the rain scene. It encircled all of us in the theatre. I could almost taste the wetness and feel the water dripping down the back of my neck.

    I also loved that they were both artists and that the depth of their shared emotional longings and desperate needs clearly were like the destiny of comets on a collision course for each other.

    I am so happy that I was able to see this show in Boston. Kudu’s to all.

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