Beauty and the Beast

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Beauty and the Beast [1] is a traditional fairy tale written by French novelist Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve and published in 1740. The tale has been notably adapted for screen, stage, prose, and television over the years.

Translations and adaptations

Among the texts performed in South Africa have been:

Beauty and the Beast (1841): a "Fairy Extravaganza" in two acts by J.R. Planché, first performed in London at the Theatre Royal Covent Garden in 1841, with Madame Vestris. Published at C by and in New York as no XIV of The Minor Drama by Bedford and Co in 1847.

Beauty and the Beast (1878): a pantomime, written for the child star Baby Benson, the libretto in part by St John Knight.

Beauty and the Beast (1951) is a play for children by British actor and playwright Nicholas Stuart Gray (1922-1981)[2]. First published by Samuel French in 1951.

Skoonlief en die Ondier (2003) an original Afrikaans children's play based on the tale, written and directed by Gaerin Hauptfleisch.

Performance history in South Africa

1857: The Planché version was performed by the Sefton Parry company in the Harrington Street Theatre, Cape Town theatre on 24 December, for one performance only, with A Kiss in the Dark as afterpiece. Billed as "a magnificent Burlesque Fairy Spectacle in Three Acts and several Tableaux", it was possibly the first English pantomime presented in full in South Africa, though Parry himself claimed this distinction for Babes in the Wood (1858).

1858: The Planché version was performed by the Sefton Parry company in the Cape Town Theatre on 2 March, with The Wandering Minstrel (Mayhew) and The Tragical History of Lord Lovel[3], a ballad performed by J.E.H. English, as afterpieces.

1878: Billed as the Baby Benson Pantomime (with a libretto in part by St John Knight) in the Athenaeum Theatre, Cape Town, in association with the local Dramatic Recital Society, and directed by Monsieur Frigerio.

1951: Presented by the UCT Dramatic Society at the Little Theatre August 1951, directed by Leonard Schach and starring Peter Lamsley. Decor by Cecil Pym, costumes by Doreen Graves.

1961: A Children's Theatre production directed by Anthony Farmer.

1967: Presented by PACT, 1967, with Don Lamprecht as Hodge.

1978: A production by Compass Productions, using the 1951 text by Nicholas Stuart Gray and directed by Helen Houghton at The Space (Cape Town), with James Andrews, Lyn Banner, Paul Bosman, Nicholas Fine, Cindy Just, Judith Krummeck and Corinne Willoughby. (Designs by René Hermanus, sound and lighting by Tony Twine and Vivian Bickford as Stage Manager)

2003: Skoonlief en die Ondier presented by the University of Stellenbosch Drama Department, directed by Gaerin Hauptfleisch and performed at the H.B. Thom Theatre in May.


Facsimile version of the 1841 text by Planché, The Digital Archive[4]

Inskip, 1977.

Astbury The Space. 1979.

Percy Tucker. 1997. Just the Ticket. My 50 Years in Show Business. Johannesburg: Witwatersrand University Press: p.156.

F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1912. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp. 60-71, 367

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