We'll admit that when we heard the Beauty and the Beast was coming to the region, we were probably more excited than our little ones, especially given that this is the first time Disney have ever produced a Broadway show in this part of the world, which definitely upped the ante. It is a breathtaking display complete with fabulous props and an insanely talented cast that brings the classic tale alive, and you can't help but be drawn in by the magic of it all, however old you are.
The twisted love story follows the transformation of a heartless prince, who was both arrogant and only consumed by the physical appearances of others, cursed by an enchantress many moons ago for being such a twit and was turned into a horrendous beast. The only thing to break the curse and allow him to become human again would be to actually fall in love and have someone love him back; no mean feat when you're a hairy, angry weirdo with a tail hanging between your legs.
Somewhere in the future, we are introduced to the lovely Belle, the daughter of an inventor (who most people think is a little whacko by the way) and perhaps because of this, she is also deemed as being a bit, well, different. However, her alluring beauty is the talk of the town and for this reason, popular and narcissistic townsman, Gaston, wants to lay claim on her as his own. However, Belle decides she can do better, much to Gaston's annoyance, who is certainly not going down without a fight.
In a twisted turn of events, Belle's father somehow finds himself captive at the beast's palace and Belle saves him by trading places; becoming the prisoner instead. Things don't start off well – after all, the beast has had to live with his abominable appearance for a while, has major anger issues and has spent a lot of time feeling sorry for himself. However, Belle refuses to comply with his bad behaviour and it's a while before they start becoming friends and inevitably fall in love (which Belle only realises when Gaston tries to kill him), which finally allows the beast to finally become the handsome prince he once was.
There are enough laughs peppered all the way through to entertain adults and children alike and a real highlight of the show is the song, Be Our Guest, a visually stunning display of amazing stage props and glitter, which is magnificently choreographed (kudos, Matt West – the guy who taught the cast those moves), that completely steals the show.
In a nutshell, it is pretty brilliant, but if you really want to have the best experience, you should be aware that there are just a few teeny, weeny negatives. Firstly, if your budget allows, buy platinum or diamond tickets because a silver or gold ticket will make you feel like a squashed sardine as you're crammed into the upper tiers of the du Arena.
Secondly, good theatre etiquette dictates that when the performance is going on, talking is a no-no, especially if your seat means that you are also subject to hearing the racket that is going on outside the open entrance doors of the arena. Show organisers, please take note and close them during the performance, and chit chatters – it's really inconsiderate, so please shush!
And lastly, being Gourmet Girl I can't help but comment on the food that's available. I'd suggest that you eat before you go, but if you don't have time and you have to grab a bite there, don't order the pizza, unless soggy, almost uncooked dough with a slop of flavourless tomato sauce, complete with a barely melted and congealed cheese are your kind of thing. The same applies to the chicken fingers – they're rank. You'll be much better off with the ubiquitous bog standard burger or hot dog, and while that really narrows down the options for vegetarians, we do have to say that the French fries are pretty good, so maybe order a couple of portions (because they are super small), to quell hunger pangs. If you follow our tips, you are guaranteed an awesome night that will invoke the warm and fuzzy feeling of good childhood memories.
Click here for our gallery of pics from the opening night.
INFO: Tickets Dhs150 – Dhs750, 7.30pm showing until Nov 8 2014, www.ticketmaster.ae