Mounting a good children's show can be like shooting an arrow into the air. Half a dozen factors have to fall into place to make that arrow hit its mark. You need experience, timing and talent. Good equipment helps. With their most recent Saturday morning offering, "Beauty and the Beast," the Glendale Centre Theatre has a hit.
The morning starts with the birthday roll call. Amazingly, there always seem to be a few more birthday boys and girls than the number of names called. Yet every one of them is rewarded with a squishy neon light toy. Very smart. The toys become part of the magical background during the between-scene blackouts, shining through the darkness like colorful bouncing stars.
When the lights come up, there's the happy feeling that you're safe in the hands of an expert ensemble. Songs move, jokes work, and characters stay in character.
As beauteous Belle, Samantha Claire is sincere and charming. And as the misunderstood Beast, Patrick McMahon is confident and appealing, even at his grumpiest. But as belle and as beastly as they may be, being a real meanie is just more fun.