An afternoon spent in fantasy during the pandemic

An afternoon spent in fantasy during the pandemic is not a bad way to spend a few hours. In fact, it was a great time last weekend when the Hermann High Drama Club presented Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.

The female starring role, Belle, was played by Kaylyn Walker. The poise, confidence and character in which she acted truly had the audience believing she was the poor daughter of an inventor played by Andrew McKinnon. Belle loved reading and ended up living a book-like life. Walker’s grace and beauty on stage had the audience rooting for her in every scene. Well done, MS Walker.

Despite Matt Krull; who played Gaston, insisting Belle marry him, the play paired a beast, played by Kaleb Means, with Belle in a musically fun and fantastic way. Max Krull’s musical talent has been shown off in several Hermann plays. His vocal range is great and the way he interjects his character’s personality in every song he sings, makes you believe he is the rough, egotistical, manipulative part he played. The audience laughed with him, or should I say laughed at him, during his excellent performance.

As in any good fantasy; there must be a teapot with her cute little tea cup son, a candlestick, feather duster, wardrobe and clock that are all animated now but were human before the spell from a nasty witch.

These household items tried to unite Belle and the Beast before time ran out. The audience reveled in the fun of their crazy antics.

Kampbell Hemeyer played Mrs. Potts, the old-fashioned English tea pot that with her son Chip, played by Larissa Hoelmer, showed talent the audience has enjoyed before. Hemeyer puts such personality into her role as she thrills us with her lovely vocal range. Cogsworth, the old English mantel clock, played by Colin Jones tried to keep the entire affair in a straight and dignified manner but had the audience laughing under their breath as the comedy of proper ways always seem to fall apart.

The Beast, played by Kaleb Means, was a surprise to say the least. Means played a believable beast with his bouts of anger and moments of self-doubt. As Beast, he made the audience believe he was in love with Belle and we rooted for him the entire show. At the end when Means rose up to be the prince he once was, magic flew around the auditorium. There in front of us was a handsome, strong prince where a wild animal had been. Means had the air of confidence, royalty and victory of having the woman he loved. It was an astounding performance.

The entire Hermann Drama Club should be proud of the event they put on. Lighting, make-up hair, costume crew, stage crew, choreography and set crew all did an amazing job.

When little children in the audience whisper “Oh, no”, “awe” or gasp as they watch, it proves they did a great job.

One final note on the play. Big kudos goes to a little French candlestick names Lumiere. Played by Tyler Hartman, he was perhaps the favorite of the audience. Courageous and yet goofy in his caricature, Hartman played a believable member of the show. The audience laughed at his expressions and movements. His voice was spot on and his charisma on stage drew everyone deep into the play. Great job, Tyler.

Before closing Melanie Behrens deserves her own applause for teaching this remarkable group of high schoolers. It’s teachers like you that mold students into great adults. Also, one cannot go without recognizing the incredible ability and willingness to give of Patrick Dell who played the entire show from a piano. Your talent is undeniable and your heart is recognizable in everything you do.

Please join the Hermann High Drama Club in early March when they will present  “Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind.”