Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Little Prince, Oxford University Dramatic Society

Rating: 333333

Dates: 5-29 August

Time: 15:45

Cost: £8.50 (£7.50)

Where: C Venue - C soco


The Little Prince is ostensibly a children’s story about a journey through the universe, and yet it is shot through with troublingly adult themes. This new adaptation addresses that ambiguity through a group of listening children: as the story becomes darker, they turn on the pilot narrator and berate him for introducing them to this woe.

A circular seating arrangement brings the audience very close to the acting. Ziad Samaha and Lucy Fyffe work well as the pilot and the Prince respectively while Lloyd Houston injects real comedy into the Prince’s encounter with the businessman. I found the rest of the cast to be a little unconvincing. This was especially the case when they had to pretend to be something light and graceful, like birds or running children.

The Little Prince is a strange, dreamy book. Crackly French jazz goes some way to recreating this, as does the scene in the rose garden, where the singing flowers evoke both sweetness and tension in turn. Yet I wanted more, and was disappointed to find the snake depicted by nothing subtler than a man wielding a snake-shaped stick.

The story’s original magic may be still best located on the written page. Nevertheless, this is a production with promise.


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