Tag Archives: Amy Faulkner

The LIttle Prince

The Little Prince

★★★★

Omnibus Theatre

The LIttle Prince

The Little Prince

Omnibus Theatre

Reviewed – 7th December 2019

★★★★

 

“a delight for both children and adults alike”

 

With neon lights now flashing at every turn and Christmas markets in full swing, Clapham’s Omnibus Theatre brings us a touch of something different in the festive season. The Little Prince is a heart-warming tale: the eponymous lead leaves his beloved home, asteroid B612, to embark on a journey across space in the name of friendship. On his travels, he meets the lone occupants of various planets who are mostly ill-equipped for anything near friendship, apart from an unlikely fox.

This is a classic tale by French writer, Saint-Exupéry and explores themes of human imagination and friendship. This adaptation (directed by Marie McCarthy) does justice to a relatively complex fable and the script (Sally Pomme Clayton) hovers thoughtfully over different stops across the universe, managing to simplify the plot without losing its charm.

The set (Sophia Pardon and Hazel Low) surpasses all expectations for a small theatre production: earthy rocks and boulders; a broken, up-turned plane downstage left; a puppet plant baobab; a swathe of white lights shimmering above us as the night sky. The detail is astounding, the efforts commendable.

The lighting (Rachel Sampley) is equally creative. A spotlight displays etchings on rocks and there are bright alien greens and reds. A small chasm at the back of the stage hosts scenic projections which transport us through different planets. A lovely moment is when the Prince climbs aboard his trusty bird and we fly across the universe, complete with uplifting sounds (Jon McLeod) and brighter lighting.

Costume is on par, if not more pleasing. What a joy to see the garlanded rose costumes; the geographer even has a map decorating his tie. We must applaud the sheer effort that have gone towards the aesthetics.

The cast is a trio of star performers. Royce Cronin plays Rose and a range of the other planetary occupants. He is entertaining and lends a panto energy to the piece with his large gestures and hearty song, albeit not the most tuneful. The lead, Comfort Fabian, is a charming and perky Prince, brimming with youthful fun and innocence. The star performance was delivered by Vera Chok. Her acting is enchanting as she transforms from the concerned and narrow-minded pilot at the start into a multitude of stunning characters including the fox who is the most engaging character on stage. She involves children in the audience in dance and jokes and brings the room to life.

I cannot praise enough the efforts that went into the intricate set and prop design. This marries perfectly with a story which tells of the limitless powers to the imagination. This is a journey both about the self and the way we treat loved ones and leaves you full of Christmas cheer. While the main themes clearly shine through, clever more nuanced meanings rustle under the surface of the earthy stage, making it a delight for both children and adults alike.

 

Reviewed by Amy Faulkner

Photography by Dan Tsantilis

 


The Little Prince

Omnibus Theatre until 30th December

 

Last ten shows reviewed at this venue:
The Selfish Giant | ★★★★ | December 2018
Hearing Things | ★★★★ | January 2019
The Orchestra | ★★★ | January 2019
Lipstick: A Fairy Tale Of Iran | ★★★ | February 2019
Tony’s Last Tape | ★★★★ | April 2019
Country Music | ★★★★ | May 2019
Othello: Remixed | ★★★★ | June 2019
Lone Star Diner | ★★★ | September 2019
Femme Fatale | ★★ | October 2019
Fiji | ★★★★★ | November 2019

 

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By the Light of the Moon

★★★★

Bread and Roses Theatre

By the Light of the Moon

By the Light of the Moon

Bread & Roses Theatre

Reviewed – 13th October 2019

★★★★

 

“A fairy tale lexicon mixed with nursery rhymes meets with unbearable reality”

 

Edwards Lear: the great lyricist and poet, admired for his wit and obfuscating limericks. Shea Donovan, writer and star of ‘By the Light of the Moon’, performed at this years’ Clapham Fringe Festival, introduces him in the forward to the play, handed to me on my climb to the hidden theatre space above ‘The Bread and Roses’ pub. Beneath the light brevity of Lear’s rhyme, lie misfits and madness, indications of the darker bouts of depression he himself suffered, I learn, as I take my seat.

Shea explores the injustice served to women in the 1920s, who suffered from mental health problems which were undiagnosed and severely misunderstood. Lila is locked away in an asylum for women, abandoned by her family and forced to make sense of her life events. The one woman show amplifies a long-forgotten voice, resurrecting a story of sheer tragic import which we know to have been based on real circumstance faced by women. She flits from therapeutic chants of nonsensical rhyme and childish wails for her nan and her final friend Gertrude, to deeper poetry, darker moments which shed tragic clarity upon her own life.

Two wooden chairs sit at diagonal corners of the square space and are an intelligent addition to a featureless stage, accentuating a bareness and institutional coldness. They look uncomfortable and lifeless as they are left untouched throughout the play.

Shea enters clad in a plain white frock and with lose hair and light make-up, she brandishes a black cloth. At times, she crouches to meticulously scrub a small square of the floor. The image is Cindarella-esque contrasting with the 1920s music which chimes in the background at the change of scene, providing smooth structural progression and a richness of sound. This is a painful scene of female suppression laced in a fairy-tale picture-frame.

The lighting takes us from blue to rose as we travel from melancholy to past rosy realms of romance. Yet as the past is etched clear, the colour changes become sickly sweet.

Shea Donovan is superb as a 1920s innocent, wonderfully frank and observant, she pieces together her life. A moment of climax sees her spiralling into despair when she is asked the year and she cannot remember. Her masterful portrayal is raw as her confusion escalates rapidly to a sudden moment of anger and violence.

Indigo Arts Collective’s ‘By the Light of the Moon’ successfully achieves what this new theatre company set out to do, piecing together research from the past to speak to modern day audiences. A fairy tale lexicon mixed with nursery rhymes meets with unbearable reality. The contrast is stark; the injustice laid bare for all to see.

 

Reviewed by Amy Faulkner

 

Clapham Fringe 2019

By the Light of the Moon

Bread & Roses Theatre as part of Clapham Fringe

 

Last ten shows reviewed at this venue:
Just To Sit At Her Table, Silver Hammer & Mirabilis | ★★★ | April 2019
Starved | ★★★★★ | April 2019
The Mind Reading Experiments | ★★★ | May 2019
The Incursion | ★★½ | July 2019
Coco’s Adventures | ★★★ | September 2019
Room Service | ★★★★★ | September 2019
The Bacchae | ★★★ | September 2019
Trial Of Love | ★★★½ | September 2019
The Gravy Bunch | ★★½ | October 2019
Smashing It! | ★★ | October 2019

 

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