Edinburgh Fringe 2015
The Princess has turned 16 years of age and it is time for her to be taken to a rock, tied up and left for a dragon to kidnap. Once kidnapped a Prince is due to save her and then marry her after he has slain the dragon. The problem is, of course that neither Princess, Dragon nor Prince are up for this kind of malarkey and the King has to settle for keeping his secret and his daughter’s honour.
Manhatten Children’s Theatre have given us a plucky sword wielding Princess with a Nurse in attendance who is much enamoured by the Valet who is accompanying the Prince. That plucky Princess wants to fight the dragon herself whilst the Prince is unconvinced that he can kill the dragon and therefore would be more than willing to let her. The dragon, meanwhile, has no intentions of fighting Princes or eating Princesses and having refused to so do, cowers in a corner of his cave. Once he appears we find out the truth of the King’s bravery and how our dragon is now the last remaining specimen of his type. Oh and it all ends happily ever after…
It’s a full house and a very tough crowd. One child is in tears before we even get introduced to the entire cast. Pluckily our theatrical heroes plough on with a script that combines the repetition necessary for the younger audience and a love story between nurse and valet that is more adult in focus. At times though the tempo flagged and the audience became restless. I felt that it needed a wee bit more of the physical repartee to keep people on board for the full hour.
I also got the impression that it had been directed for a space which had access backstage to allow performers to exit one way and enter the other. This was not possible here and leaving together to go to one place and then in full view of the audience splitting up in opposite directions leaves, even tiny brains confused.
The set was adequate, with little needed by way of artistic merit whilst the costumes served to aid understanding. I did wonder if having initials on badges was over egging the pudding a little though. All performers kept the story motoring with enthusiasm and ease. I did feel there could have been more audience interaction because – particularly after the entrance of the Prince and the Valet – this was thoroughly enjoyed by the audience. The King’s return to his past glory defeating the dragon was good but the audience didn’t seem to quite get the gag after the first few times.
Overall this was a good performance enjoyed thoroughly by two target audience members and their families sitting next to me. It contains mild peril and some obvious set pieces which keeps everyone happy. That it managed to keep the wee ones onside by the end was testimony to the gusto of the performers who blasted past some of those technical issues.