By Luke Voogt
Cassie Chappell and Josh McGaune are destined to remain apart in a Geelong production of Beauty and the Beast, despite being real-life lovers.
The Grovedale actress originally auditioned for the tale as old as time’s heroine Belle while her boyfriend tried out for the arrogant villain Gaston.
But in an ironic role-reversal Josh landed the role of the Beast, while Cassie was cast as one of Gaston’s admirers – AKA silly girl.
“I think it worked out for the best,” she said. “The girl who’s playing Belle absolutely nails it.”
The 21-year-old was thrilled to snare the role, fawning over Gaston (Vaughn Rae) instead of her real life partner.
“I’ve had absolute ball playing silly girl,” she said. “I get to dance which I’ve loved doing since I was little girl.”
Cassie was content just to be onstage alongside Josh, she said.
“I love performing with him. It’s a great way to spend time together.”
The pair started dating a year ago following a friendship born of drama.
“I’ve known him for six years,” Cassie said. “We did a musical in Colac together and we’ve been friends ever since.”
The soon-to-be grade 5 teacher performed in her first musical at age 10.
The play was a family affair for Josh, with father Jamie McGaune playing talking clock Cogsworth.
“(Jamie) played Gaston a number of years ago in Geelong too,” Cassie said.
Director Alister Smith had stripped the play back to its fairy-tale origins compared to the iconic Disney film, Cassie said.
“I think (he has) taken a much more real story and made it more relatable to the audience.”
Beauty and the Beast opens 7.30pm on Friday at Geelong Performing Arts Centre and runs until 4 February.