I enjoy my trips to the theatre, it’s such a wonderful treat to see lovely performances and shows, but I have only been to one ballet before so I was really looking forward to seeing Northern Ballet’s production of Beauty and the Beast.

Beauty and the Beast is an old tale of a vain and egotistical Prince who is turned into a beast by an evil fairy. The spell can only be broken by someone who will see through the shallow exterior of the gruesome creature and love the beast for his heart, thus turning him back into his handsome self. Belle being the pure, innocent peasant girl who learns to love the beast for who he is inside.

ashley-dixon-as-the-beast-and-dreda-blow-as-beauty-in-beauty-the-beast-photo-emma-kauldhar-2Most people who think of Beauty and the Beast can’t help but recall the sweet Disney version with singing candlesticks and perky pots and pans inviting us to be their guest. If you are expecting that from this ballet then you will be disappointed. The ballet takes on a gothic feel with it’s dark and brooding set and it’s haunting music delivered beautifully by the live orchestra.

The dancers glided around the set effortlessly and they were truly mesmerising to watch, and Beauty (Dreda Blow) was truly full of grace and beauty. The costumes were simply beautiful and I would liked to have had a few of them for myself – although not quite sure I would look quite as good in them as the elegant dancers.

Ashley Dixon played the Beast so well, not in the physical sense, but in the feeling of torture and loneliness the Beast feels and the sorrow and regret of his former shallow self. My favourite part of the show was the first scene in act two where the Beast is reflecting on his former life and thinks he will never realise his dream of a life of love with his Beauty, there was a collective “awww” in the auditorium.

David Nixon OBE is the Artistic Director for this production, but he did the choreography and also the costume design, such a huge talent.

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All of the cast and crew are amazingly talented and I recommend you catch this hauntingly beautiful ballet at the Theatre Royal whilst it is on. If you miss out, tickets are available for Northern Ballet’s production of The Little Mermaid are available now for November 2017. I, for one, will be putting that in my diary!