I’ve been meaning to post a review of my trip to see The Light Princess for a few weeks now, but as it always seems to happen, life takes over and time escapes me! So here is a belated review. The play has actually stopped running now as of 2nd February, we were lucky enough to catch one of the last showings on 1st Feb at the National Theatre in London.
Being a massive Tori fan I was really looking forward to this production and I was not disappointed.
I was unfamiliar with the original Scottish fairytale by George MacDonald so wasn’t entirely sure what was in store, other than it would involve a floating princess as depicted by the official show posters.
(Picture taken from http://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/shows/the-light-princess)
As we took our seats our eyes were drawn to a beautiful scene by set designer Rae Smith which immediately prepared us for the premise of conflict between 2 cities. One side, Lagobel depicted in yellows and golds, the other Sealand in blues and purples, both separated by a sea of green in the middle. The story revolves around 2 warring cities and a Princess (Althea – Rosalie Craig) and Prince (Digby – Nick Hendrix).
(Picture taken from the official National Theatre ‘Light Princess’ programme)
In a nutshell the story goes as follows. Both the Althea and Digby have lost their Mothers. Althea,unable to deal with the grief becomes light, incapable of taking anything seriously or shedding a tear and has to be locked in a tower to stop her from floating away. Digby, in his sadness becomes heavy hearted and declares War on the city of Lagobel. The two characters eventually meet in the forest that divides the 2 cities and fall in love. However, Althea has to first has to overcome her grief in order to return to the ground.
Rosalie Craig as Althea was simply stunning. It was a marvel how she was able to sing so effortlessly whilst being hoisted up in the air or manouvred by the shadowy acrobats that were constantly holding her up and keeping her off the ground. The acrobats were incredible and so discreet that after a while you forgot they were even there!
(Picture taken from http://www.theedgesusu.co.uk/culture/2013/12/13/review-the-light-princess-at-the-national-theatre-11122013/)
The show was sung almost entirely, which for me was a bit much. It would have been nice to have a bit more spoken word just to break up the score and be able to distinguish each individual song. As it was they all seemed to bleed into each other. Whilst some of the choruses were strong, other parts seemed to lack direction or melody. But when it was good, it was very very good and some of the songs, with their orchestra backing would not have seemed at all out of place on Tori’s ‘Gold Dust’ album.
Another strong part of the production was Toby Olié’s puppetry. Puppets featured quite heavily in the show from Digby’s falcon companion ‘Zephyrus’, to the dancing frogs in the lake, to my favorite little mouse who appeared in the background of many scenes, it was fun trying to spot where he would appear next!
Some of the puppet birds (picture taken from http://www.tobyolie.com/page5.htm)
Little mouse (picture taken from http://www.tobyolie.com/page5.htm)
All in all I am so glad that I managed to catch this production before it ended. I initially went for the music and came out in awe of acrobats and Rosalie Craig. I will definitely be keeping an eye on what she does next.