dfp_header_hidden_string

Get our free email newsletter with just one click

Beauty and the Beast review at Young Vic London

Not your traditional pantomime, this is a joyously explicit adaptation of the fairytale and an inspired exploration of disability, love, sex and honesty. Seasoned conceptual performers and real-life married couple Julie Atlas Muz and Mat Fraser play the eponymous roles, using the original story as a narrative template to express the tentative fear and excitement they felt when they first met.

They tell their tale with a candid charm, discarding the fourth wall and their clothes in equal measure. Fraser, who has Thalidomide-induced phocomelia, introduces himself and his “perfectly deformed arms” in a moment that encapsulates the easy intimacy with which both lead performers communicate with the audience.

The playful and often hilarious fantasy that follows winningly incorporates Jonny Dixon and Jess Mabel Jones’ impressive puppetry and projections with the burlesque and cabaret expertise of Fraser and Muz, the former Miss Coney Island who memorably describes the often-painful separations the NY-Lon couple endures.

The plentiful nudity may put off the prudish, but suitably expresses the need for openness as well as the revelation and acceptance of physical imperfection. In one of the most moving scenes, Fraser discards the long-sleeved garment he has worn as a decoy to expose himself as he really is. In so doing, this enchanting production shows us, the ‘beast’ becomes the beauty.

Production Information

Young Vic, London, December 13-21

Authors
Mat Fraser, Julie Atlas Muz
Director
Phelim McDermott
Producers
One of Us Productions, Improbable Theatre Company
Cast
Mat Fraser, Julie Atlas Muz, Jonny Dixon, Jess Mabel Jones
Running time
1hr 20mins

We need your help…

When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.

The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.

We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.

Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.

Subscribers to The Stage get 10% off The Stage Tickets’ price
^