Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 28 January 2015

Matthew Cammelle: Beast of a transformation

Behind the scenes ahead of fairytale musical's new run at Opera House

Feline just fine: A transformed Matthew is roaring to go at last
Feline just fine: A transformed Matthew is roaring to go at last
Matthew prepares for his makeover

From fresh-faced actor to a hairy, scary creature, it's all in a day's work for actor Matthew Cammelle in the Grand Opera House's fairytale musical Beauty and the Beast.

It takes 60 minutes to make the transformation, thanks to Matthew's two experienced assistants, one for costume and one for hair and make-up. The latex mask is glued on alongside his beard, sideburns and bestial fangs.

But surely all those layers would hinder his ability to sing?

"It's specially moulded to fit my face so it doesn't really affect my performance at all," said the veteran musical theatre actor.

Hair plays a major part of his costume, with furry lycra gloves, boots and chest hair making up Cammelle's daily uniform as he sings out the show in an already centrally-heated Grand Opera House.

However, the satisfying bit comes towards the end. "I get to rip the mask and padded clothing off at the end for the Beast-to-Prince metamorphosis ", he said. "Time is tight, but we've managed it up till now."

So far, Matthew has accidentally broken both his tail and one of his fake hairy toes during two performances, but recovered without much fuss.

He added: "We've been very lucky not to have anything else happen."

His costume is modelled on Disney's 1991 film depiction of the Beast, and is set to both terrify and endear show-goers as the musical runs from September 11-22.

When Cammelle first saw his changed appearance, he immediately took a picture on his camera-phone, and sent it to his wife. "Both she and my three-year-old son were appalled," he laughed.

However, Matthew isn't the only member of the cast who has to wear a heavy costume - Lumiere is rumoured to have to drink water between scenes from a special cup because of his candelabra hands.

The show has been playing to full capacity audiences on its national tour which began around three years ago. "It sounds cliched," said Cammelle, "but we have really enjoyed playing to the Northern Irish audience. They have given us a thoroughly warm reception."

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting?

Nightlife Galleries


Latest Entertainment News

Latest Music News

Latest Film & TV News

Latest Eating Out News


Your Horoscopes by Russell Grant


Joining a discussion group will be lots of fun. You'll enjoy brainstorming with fellow visionaries. The idea for a community improvement project is worth developing. You and your neighbours will benefit from a beautiful gathering spot. It's easy to feel alienated in this technological age. Create a space where you can escape computers, telephones and artificial lighting. Don't be surprised when you feel compelled to visit this sanctuary every day. Spending time outdoors will make you more relaxed and productive.More