Review: The Little Prince

The Little Prince
By The Arcola Queer Collective
3.5 *

The man approached me in my seat before the play started, the makeup across his face a striking blue and pointed at an object in his open notebook. “What is that?” he asked. “A hat,” I replied with certainty. He looked at me with a slight sadness before my friend piped up “It’s a snake that’s swallowed an elephant.”

She was right. His parting shot to me “Don’t be such a grown up.”

So it transpires that if I had actually read “The Little Prince” (I don’t know how I haven’t!) I might have known the right thing to say. Then again, maybe I am a bit too much of a grown up having lost the childlike wonder and freedom the older I’ve got. The Queer Collective’s production of “The Little Prince” creates a dreamlike universe where the emphasis is on idle dreaming rather than the grown ups’ misguided focus on “matters of consequence. ” It’s a light and joyful production that has some weighty issues at its centre. It makes you consider your existence and reflect on what is truly important.

I’m not going to delve too much into the plot; partly as I expect many people interested in seeing this would have read the novella but if you haven’t, then coming into it without any preconceived notions is freeing and allows you to really soak up the spectacle of colour and music. The narrative and intentions are clearly represented so it is very accessible. It felt to me as though the audience was very connected at all times, each going on their own journey along with the prince.

All performances were strong even though some actors only appeared briefly. There are three actors taking on the part of the prince, I thought that was an interesting decision; This added to the other-worldly vibe at play and each performance was unique but not jarring to each other. They were a real delight to listen to and watch. Of particular note was Arkem Mark Walton’s delicious turn as The Flower and Vix Dillon lively and swiftly endearing as The Fox.

And the costumes…Oh wow. Costume Designer Lydia Cawson created some awesome outfits with bold, beautiful colours and some off the wall use of materials that really work and created something that seemed almost New Romantic. The prince’s denim ensembles were like a dysoptian Dexys Midnight Runners and the Rose’s super shiny leggings seemed to be liquid red.

The Little Prince asks “What do you do with the stars?” This line of poignant poetry made me stop a moment to consider. And that was the thing I enjoyed most about this production. Their deft ability to create theatre that makes you pause to look up at the stars and dare to lift your feet a little bit off the ground. To use your heart a bit more and not just your head. Next time, I’m not seeing a hat.

© Sarah Browne 2016

This production has now closed but for more information on the Arcola Queer Collective, click here

Image: Miriam Mahony

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