St Michael’s Theatre Musical Society New Ross, produced a wonderful, exciting colourful Beauty and the Beast in their theatre and this modern version of a tale as old as time was very, very impressive.

Terry Brennan’s detailed and excellent set design created levels of visual splendour and extended the proscenium area out into two towers on either side. A trio of Kennedy’s were the dedicated production team who assembled a young eager chorus and a first class line up of principals with excellent costumes and props.

The big chorus numbers were excellent and the main characters added to a most entertaining production. Kevin Kennedy directed with flair and detail, Philip Kennedy was Musical Director and their sister Lorraine Cooper brought life and fun to big scene choreography.

But it was the principals who took this show to the heights – Claire O’Connor as Belle, was beautiful and evoked sympathy from a capacity audience. David Burke was wonderfully restrained as her father with a real Mini car on stage that he drove around.

Nigel O’Neill was a funny buffoon as Lefou and Keith Flanagan was a wonderful Beast, full of anger and loneliness. Peter O’Connor was a ticking clock for Cogsworth and he brings so much to his roles. Denis Lennon was an excellent Lumiere with great diction, accent and characterisation.

Jan Kennedy sizzled as Babette, Therese Canavan created a fabulous tea-pot character as Mrs Potts and Jamie Cooper was a delightful and charming Chip.

Margaret Dunne was impressive as Wardrobe and she packed so much into an assured performance. Brendan Redmond stole the show with a cocky boastful performance as Gaston, with an excellent singing voice.

Anne O’Riordan on oboe and Vicky Clancy on flute and reeds added much to a fine orchestra. Tomas Kavanagh was a wizard on sound and the extra wall speakers worked well.