The Tail of Beauty and the Tale of the Beast: Creation Theatre
Review: The Tail of Beauty and the Tale of the Beast, Creation Theatre, Northwall Arts Centre, Oxford, on until 7 January 2023. Tickets from £13.50. Book here.
[Disclosure. I was a Creation Theatre trustee from early 2020 to early 2022. I received free tickets for the purposes of this review. ]
After some turbulent years, Creation Theatre is back with a full Christmas show – The Tale of Beauty and the Tail of the Beast. Creation is known for its twists on classic tales and while this telling of the Beauty and the Best stays true to the well-loved story, it has enough twists and turns to satisfy fans of Creation’s unique story telling.
This show is full of fun – being part musical, part panto and with a dash of Shakespearian dramatic device thrown in. The story follows a troupe of travelling actors – who are putting on a show in a little village (Oxford). The troupe leader decides that due to the boorish nature of the villagers, they will leave without performing – staying just long enough for a rehearsal.
This is a beautiful looking production – the costumes in particular, look stunning – and set the tone for the production. The beast is convincingly scary. The music is catchy. There are sparkles, glitter, bubbles, magic, fairies, and lots of fun.
Anna Tolputt as the evil fairy, Grizelda.
In last night’s production, understudy Heather Conder stepped in for Delvene Pitt as the beauty. This was Conder’s first time performing the role to an audience and she did a great job. The two fairies – Anna Tolputt and Emily Woodward did a wonderful job of bringing humour and some spice to the show.
Kofi Dennis as the Prince and Delvene Pitt as the Princess.
The Tale of Beauty and the Tail of the Beast has all the glitz and glamour of a panto, but with a much more intimate feel. If you are craving a bit of Christmas magic but can’t face the onslaught of traditional panto, then Creation’s lovely show is for you.
Creation Theatre has been a cornerstone of Oxford's cultural life for the past 26 years. Not only has it put on some of the most innovative and extraordinary shows I've ever seen, but it has shaped the creativity of a generation of Oxford's residents through its cutting edge education programme, which carried on throughout the pandemic supporting children, isolated by lockdowns.
When you go to a Creation show - you know that all the staff are being paid fairly. Every effort has been made to ensure the accessibility and sustainability of the show, as well as intensive thought going into the diversity of the cast and the audience. Creation does much work behind the scenes to engage audiences who might never otherwise go to the theatre.
All this work and effort, during some extremely difficult years - as well as the Arts Council's new emphasis on the North - means that Creation needs your help.
If you want Creation to continue to delight audiences for another 26 years, then buy a ticket to this show or donate to their work here.
If you enjoyed reading about this show, you might also enjoy reading about Creation's other shows here.