Hollywood Fringe 2016
Loft Ensemble revives popular comedy while between homes.
The Loft Ensemble is one of the many small L.A. theater companies who’ve had to move out of their premises due to recent rent hikes. Happily they move into new digs in Sherman Oaks for their upcoming “King Lear”, but while between homes, they are making a welcome appearance in the Hollywood Fringe with a revival of the crowd-pleasing “The Princes Charming” written and directed by Mitch Rosander.
Like “Into the Woods” this is an amalgamation of fairy tales, but played very much for laughs. Bree Pavey is excellent as “Minnie” (the gender non-specific minstrel) who acts as narrator and sets just the right tone with a voice like a young John Hurt. There is an authentic rapport with the audience, and we feel safe in his/her hands.
The eponymous princes are twins William (Tor Brown) and Arthur (Jared Wilson) who need to find princesses to marry so the royal line may continue. Unfortunately Arthur develops a hereditary condition that can only be cured by true love, and William immediately falls for unsuitable peasant girl Roselyn (the delightfully grounded Jordan Wynters). Both Brown and Wilson have the charm required by the title and are also very funny.
Lauren Sperling does a nice job with all of her princesses, including the narcoleptic Sleeping Beauty and the out-of-the-closet Xena. The bumbling King (Max Marsh) and well-meaning Queen (Ashley Snyder) grow more impatient as their sons seem no nearer to finding brides, complications ensue (Rapunzel’s hair makes an appearance), and are then resolved thanks to the arrival of Princess Grizelda (perky pixie April Morrow).
It’s all good fun and the performers are all very engaging and are pulling out all the stops. It sometimes seems like Rosander the director doesn’t quite trust Rosander the writer as every scene is filled with funny though extraneous movement and played at a very fast pace. No-one was complaining though as the laughs came thick and fast, even at 6pm on a Thursday.
The smaller, two or three person scenes tended to work particularly well; Cameron Britton being a stand-out as “Bob” a lugubrious stage-hand who wanders onstage intermittently and provides a welcome change of energy.
There is lots to enjoy and the production values are good, the costumes (Linda Muggereidge and Lauren Sperling) are excellent and the sound and lighting designs keep it slick and solid.
The Princes Charming is two hours of fun, packed into 90 minutes.