Monday, August 14, 2023

Minnesota Fringe Festival 2023: "New Origins: Beauty and the Beast"


Show: 39


By: Two Minnie Cooks

Written by: Aaron Cook

Location: Rarig Thrust

Summary: A prequel story to Disney's Beauty and the Beast that explains how the Prince became a Beast, and later, someone Belle could love.

Highlights: In this version of the story, before the one we know, Belle's mother is a witch and a consultant to the King. But after a tragedy the King turns on her and banishes her, along with Belle's sister, who inherited her mother's magical powers. The only way out is for beautiful Belle to marry the Prince, who is an arrogant unread brute. But Belle loves the sweet Gaston, who loves books as much as she does. If this sounds opposite of the characters in the movie, you're not wrong. Working with the Prince's BFF LeFou, Belle's sister casts a Freaky Friday spell to swap the two men so that Belle will fall in love with the Prince. But they fail to inform Belle's mother, who wants to protect her daughter, and casts the spell that sets up the story we know. It's a bit of a convoluted story, but it's plausible in this world, with some cute B&B-esque songs written by Kyle DeGoey (of Fringe hits Oregon Trail, Gilligan, and more), and accompanied by a live musician on keyboard. The cast performs the score and the story well, especially Kaz Fawkes and Drew Atwood who believably swap personalities halfway through and become the other. It's a fun exploration of a familiar story, with familiar characters we know, as well as a few new ones introduced into this world.