DRAMA:  Maurice (Luke Mulder), Belle (Emily Pirlo) and The Beast (Max Foggon) in Ballina Player's production of Beauty and the Beast.
DRAMA: Maurice (Luke Mulder), Belle (Emily Pirlo) and The Beast (Max Foggon) in Ballina Player's production of Beauty and the Beast. Mike Sheehan

On stage until the last petal falls

BALLINA Players' production of Beauty and the Beast opens this Friday.

One of the main characters is Belle, played by newcomer to Ballina Players, Emily Pirlo.

The Beast is played by Max Foggon, who was nominated for the Best Vocal Coach at the Gold Coast Theatre Awards 2018 for his work in last years' The Little Mermaid.

Mr Foggon has performed previously for Ballina Players and for SUPA North Productions, and his first performance was in Bugsy Malone in 2011.

Luke Mulder, who plays Maurice, has been with Ballina Players since Peter Pan in 2007.

He has done onstage, backstage and has even handled operating the sound board for some productions.

Beauty and the Beast is a musical piece with music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, and book by Linda Woolverton. It was adapted from Walt Disney Pictures' Academy Award-winning 1991 animated musical film of the same name, which in turn had been based on the classic French fairy tale by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont.

When Belle's father Maurice stumbles into the Beast's garden during a bad storm, the Beast imprisons him for trespassing.

Belle, seeking out her father, offers to exchange herself for Maurice so he can go free.

The Beast agrees, and so begins their relationship, with many twists and turns.

Over time, Belle sees beyond the furry coat and she befriends him.

The two spend long days together in the snow and the sun and gradually they fall in love.

Belle must love the beast before the last petal falls, but when it falls she must find a way to get to the beast before it's too late.

Director Jacquie McCalman has assembled a strong production team, including choreographers Sher Manu and Anna Jaques, musical director Riley O'Shannessy, lighting by Scott Thomas, sound by Jackie Reidy, set design by Karen Goodsell and Peter Harding, and Peter Harding as stage manager.


  • Opens today for nine performances, finishing on January 20. Tickets are available at Just Funkin Music shop at 124 River St Ballina, 6686 2440 (a $2 booking fee applies) or at ballinaplayers.com.au (no booking fee). All shows are at 7pm except for Sundays which are at 2pm.