A few wintery nights ago, an Enchantress turned a cruel, heartless Prince into a hideous Beast. In a small village below the Beast's castle, a beautiful, clever young woman yearned for something more than her provincial life…
And so began my journey to another time, in a far-off land, accompanied by the lovable, hilarious and delightfully dreadful characters from one of my favourite fairy-tales.
Les Misérables: With Brisbane Junior Theatre's Perrin Gilbert, Nicola Munday, Bronte Paterson and Chloe Thiel. Source: The Westener
I had tagged along to this production with a friend, whose involvement in the industry has made him my go-to person for all things theatre.
He told me: "All Brisbane Junior Theatre performers are between 5 and 18 years old."
I thought he would add: "So expect something along the lines of a high school musical production."
From the first note (sung by the youthful Chelsea Docherty as Young Mrs Potts), I was stunned by the theatre group's talent and professionalism.
And it wasn't just me. An odd silence settled over the theatre after Chelsea Docherty had sung the opening rendition of "Beauty and the Beast".
Usually, after a song, the actors freeze in position and the audience bursts into applause.
This particular night, the audience majority must have been newcomers to a Brisbane Junior Theatre musical, because jaws had dropped, eyes had widened, and in the prolonged after-song silence, I heard whispers of awe.
David Canham (The Mad Hatter) and Hannah Rae (Alice) brought Alice in Wonderland to life. Source: Quest Newspapers
Brisbane Junior Theatre presents four musicals a year, with auditions currently open for HONK! Jr. (to be performed on 23-28 September at the Albany Hills Christian Church).
If Beauty and the Beast is anything to go by, Brisbane Junior Theatre's musicals are an enchanting escape, perfect for theatre-lovers and those seeking high-quality entertainment on a budget.
Are you a talent scout? Brisbane Junior Theatre is a trove of gems, just waiting to be discovered.
Are your kids (if you have kids) budding performers? Contact Brisbane Junior Theatre's acting coaches Jack and Debbie Bradford for contemporary voice, Jazz/Classical Piano and acting lessons (PH: 3889 6436).
Jack and Debbie also offer private acting lessons in preparation for NIDA and WAAPA auditions, and classes for the Trinity College exams in Musical Theatre and Speech and Drama.