Beauty and the Beast OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS






Opening Night:
March 13, 2014
March 30, 2014

Theater: Abrons Arts Center Henry Street Settlement / 466 Grand Street, New York, New York, 10002


Direct from its critically acclaimed run at London’s Young Vic Theatre, Beauty and the Beast is the wonderful and weird true love story of a natural born freak and an American beauty queen.
Mat Fraser, the consistently inventive, provocative, and entertaining British disabled actor/writer and Julie Atlas Muz, New York Downtown Legend/Miss Coney Island, bring you an adult fairy tale like no other. Created with Phelim McDermott (Satyagraha, Shockheaded Peter), Beauty and the Beast explores the naked truths and half-truths told in the name of love.

  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF Beauty and the Beast

    A Beauty and a Beast, but This One’s for Adults. Julie Atlas Muz and Mat Fraser Reinvent a Fabled Coupl

    Ben Brantley

    March 18, 2014: Grown-ups of New York, are you ready to be told the best bedtime story you’ve heard since you were a credulous tyke? It’s called Beauty and the Beast. And yeah, I know what you’re thinking: You’ve heard that one before; your daughter made you watch the Disney movie with her like 28 times; and if you wanted something more sophisticated, you’d just slip on your digitally enhanced edition of Jean Cocteau’s La Belle et La Bête from 1946. But, honest, you’ve never met a Beauty and Beast like the couple delivering their idea of story hour — not to mention an impressive variety of sexual positions — at the Abrons Arts Center through March 30. Our immortal title characters are being portrayed by the performance artists Julie Atlas Muz and Mat Fraser, a husband and wife who met while working in a sideshow on Coney Island.

  • THE GUARDIAN REVIEW OF Beauty and the Beast

    Beauty and the Beast – review Young Vic, London

    Lyn Gardner

    December 10, 2013: Mat Fraser is discussing his disability. Assured it was safe, his mother took the drug thalidomide to counter morning sickness in early pregnancy. Fraser was born with phocomelia. He has foreshortened arms and no thumbs; later in the show, Fraser will point out that it is the human thumb, some say, that separates us from the beast. For the time being, Fraser continues to explain himself: "I'm small and perfectly deformed." Then Fraser's wife, the burlesque and performance artist Julie Atlas Muz, explains herself: "I'm American," she deadpans. Playfully mixing their own real-life love story with fairytale ("Any story told three times becomes a fiction," opines Muz), the pair explore the dark heart of the famous Beauty and the Beast story. Along the way, they prick our uncomfortableness around disability, gradually unrobe to reveal all, plunge into the dark thickets of the unconscious and suggest that some beasts are never going to turn into princes however hard you kiss them. But hey, that doesn't mean you can't have true love and great sex. As if to underline the latter point, the final sequence is like an X-rated saucy seaside postcard brought to life, all bouncing boobs, waggling bottoms and phallic fruit. Maybe best to leave the kids at home.

  • BROADWAY WORLD REVIEW OF Beauty and the Beast

    BWW Reviews: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST As A Sideshow Attraction

    Michael Dale

    March 18, 2014: Husband and wife performing artists Mat Fraser and Julie Atlas Muz are obviously crazy about each other. And the wild and humorous abandon with which they show how crazy about each other they are - a fully nude, fully lit simulated sex session that races through a catalogue of positions with giddy, bouncy enthusiasm - is the sweet capper to their very personal telling of the classic tale, Beauty and The Beast. British Fraser - an accomplished actor, writer, musician and sideshow performer - was born with what he describes as "small and perfectly deformed arms"; the result of his mother being prescribed to use Thalidomide to cure her morning sickness. He also has no thumbs, "that miracle of human evolution, setting apart the animals and creatures from the humans, making me beastly in the eyes of the world." American Muz, a former Miss Coney Island and Miss Exotic World, is well known as one of the leading personalities of neo-burlesque. The charismatic pair met backstage at the Coney Island's Sideshow. Both were married at the time, but after Fraser got a look at Muz's disembodied hand striptease routine and then taught the ecdysiast how to kill a person with a choke hold, the two knew they were destined for each other.


    Hallie Sekoff on Beauty and The Beast at Abrons Arts Center

    Hallie Sekoff

    March 17, 2014: “Are you sure you want to marry a cripple?” Beauty’s mother asks her daughter when she learns she will be marrying a man with phocomelia. Beauty’s response, in place of anger at her mother’s brashness, is one of pride. She is proud that her mother acknowledges, albeit harshly, the discomfort we have as a culture toward disability. Beauty and the Beast tackles this discomfort head on—no topic left unspoken; no actor left unclothed; no sex position left untested. Beauty and the Beast is a provocative, captivating, and titillating theatrical treasure. It stars the disabled British actor and writer Mat Fraser as Beast, and his wife, NYC-based performance artist and former Miss Coney Island Julie Atlas Muz as Beauty. Together Fraser and Muz weave together two parallel stories, the classic fairytale Beauty and the Beast and their own love story (about which Muz declares “any story told three times becomes a fiction”).

  • STAGE BUDDY REVIEW OF Beauty and the Beast

    Review: Beauty and the Beast

    Rebecca Kaplan

    March 17, 2014: When I got my tickets for Beauty and the Beast, the person at the box office blanched and asked if I was over eighteen. This just underscores the point: this production is for mature audiences only. Leave your kids at home. Written and performed by Mat Fraser, a disabled British performer who revels in Uncomfortable Theater, and Julie Muz, a burlesque dancer, the show contains excessive nudity, as well as clever puppeteering, some good laughs, and a heartwarming message about embracing your inner Beast, or freak.



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