The Little Prince review: vivid and visually creative which kept even the youngest audience members fascinated
- Credit: Jane Hobson
Over the years since Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's children's book The Little Prince was released in 1943, it has been adapted numerous times for radio, stage and screen. Luca Silvestrini's Protein brought their musical twist of the feel-good French story to the Norwich Theatre Royal yesterday [October 22].
Over the years since Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's children's book The Little Prince was released in 1943, it has been adapted numerous times for radio, stage and screen. Luca Silvestrini's Protein brought their musical adaption of the feel-good French story to the Norwich Theatre Royal yesterday [October 22].
Translated into 300 languages and dialects, The Little Prince is the most translated non-religious book of all time and an international best-seller. The story follows a young prince who sets out on an adventure after he grows tired with life on his own small planet - which is home to three volcanoes (which he cleans everyday) and a rose who starts bossing him around. On his journey, he comes across several characters and makes friends with a pilot who has crash landed his plane in the Sahara desert. It's a story that appeals to all generations - which was clear from the packed theatre yesterday - with its themes of love, loss and imagination.
It takes something quite impressive to keep the attention of young children for over an hour; however this adaption brought the story to life in vivid and visually creative ways which kept even the youngest audience members enthralled.
At the beginning, the pilot discusses that as a child he was disappointed when adults thought he had drawn a hat or a mountain and couldn't see that it was a "snake that had eaten an elephant". The drawing was projected on the back wall of the stage. When The Little Prince requests a drawing of a sheep, it gradually appears as if it was being drawn, followed by a box because the pilot can't draw sheep - but the young prince is thrilled by the drawing of the box which had the audience giggling. The use of projections throughout were brilliant and really helped bring the story to life, whether it was through the pilot's drawings or stars projected as the Little Prince travelled through the galaxy.
Large spheres represented the planets which were regularly moved around the stage and creatively used as the characters climbed on them, climbed out of them and carried them around.
The dance and musical elements of the show were beautifully executed with precision. The dancing was dynamic and energetic keeping the young audience interested throughout - even during some of the longer dance sequences. There were clever uses of props as well during the dances which kept them fresh and interesting to watch. The music was fun and upbeat with some very impressive high notes hit during the songs by the Rose. All four cast members were very talented, full of energy and delightful to watch as they danced and dashed around the stage.
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There were scenes that had the entire audience in fits of giggles - from Rose's singing voice turning croaky to the cast running around shouting "good morning" and "good evening" on a planet where a day lasts just a minute. The fox spoke in both English and French which was a clever reference and appreciated by audience members who were aware of the book's French origins. Also a clever breaking of the fourth wall had the audience up on their feet and following the orders of a bossy king which was enjoyed by all, especially the youngest audience members.
It was a highly entertaining and visually beautiful adaption which captured the magic, humour and charm of the classic book. It was thoroughly enjoyed by every generation in the audience which was evident from the loud applause that the cast received at the end. There was a little epilogue to finish after the first round of applause with the second round of applause being just as loud as the first.