Disneys Beauty and the Beast is in its final week at the Sunderland Empire Theatre, and I was lucky enough to bag some tickets for Tuesdays 15th Matinee performance. So if you’re debating going to see it, here is why you should!
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So now, let us get on with the review, starting with a little shout out to the Empire Theatre itself.
Sunderland Empire Theatre
It was my first time back in the theatre since the pandemic hit, so I wanted to include a few bits of what to expect if you are planning a visit anytime soon.
Firstly, we did have to show our covid passes when queueing up to go inside. Although, they were pretty lax with the whole procedure which made the queue go down very quickly. However we had been sent plenty of emails before hand telling us we would need to provide them so it wasn’t unexpected.
We were also given a timeslot to go in which was 13:45 (45 minutes earlier than the show start time), however, I know we were maybe 10 minutes late to this and no one said anything or made it an issue. I generally like to arrive at least 30 minutes before shows start anyway because I want time to get snacks, use the toilet without long queues and find my seat with plenty of time.
They do also ask that visitors wear their masks inside the theatre, with the exception of eating and drinking. But again no one was wearing any and no one was enforcing it. I imagine this caused a lot of agro for the staff at the beginning which may be why they aren’t enforcing it now.
Overall, the experience felt very relaxed which was something I was worried about going back. Since it was my first time revisiting the theatre since the pandemic I was concerned that things would be different and uneasy feeling. But this wasn’t the case at all and everything felt normal, and safe!
I also want to shout out to the staff who served us and interacted with us throughout. We ordered some snacks at the bar and the staff were incredibly friendly. The staff in the auditorium were also very good at keeping people off their phones and quiet which I appreciate!
And I know that for some people the snacks can be expensive, however, the theatres have suffered tremendously in the last few years and as we know, if we don’t use these places we lose them.
Disneys Beauty and the Beast
This production of the show first debuted on broadway 26 years ago and has been brought back by those same creatives to reproduce the tale as old as time. When big shows like this come to Sunderland, the city tends to go full out for it. Throughout the city centre there are decorations relating to the show. From plant pots, to benches. Even these cute signs and the #SUN sign on keel square.
Beauty and the Beast was one of my favourite Disney films to watch when I was younger. And although I haven’t seen the film in many years, watching the show brought back all those memories, and the song lyrics too!
The dances were incredibly choreographed, the costumers were beautiful, the orchestra were amazing and the sets blended together so well! It was from a technical point of view, flawless!
There was a great mix of original songs from the film and some new ones too. It also gave more context to some of the characters which I really enjoyed. The performance of ‘be our guest’ was out of this world. A really epic point of the show!!
I especially enjoyed the character of Lumiere and his relationship with Cogsworth. There was a lot of fun interaction between them and some fun jokes that will go over kids heads!
The lead stars did an amazing job of capturing the beloved Belle and Beast. By the end of the show they had captured all of us with the story and a lot of people shed a tear at the end when all the characters return to their human state (myself included). Especially little Chip!
This show definitely has an appeal for children but adults too. It is a really great show and has completely moved me! Overall, this show was one of the most amazing things I have seen on The Empires stage and was a great welcome back to Theatre for me!
As I say, there are very limited tickets left so grab them while you can. You can view their availability here. Or if you want to see something else, have a look at the Sunderland Empires upcoming shows.
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Stay Safe and Happy Adventuring!
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