REVIEWER RATING: ★★★★

It is trite to say that there’s no time like the present to be distracted from our daily concerns, but as we begin the third year of life in a global pandemic, the statement certainly remains true.

Last week, Broadway Entertainment Group’s The Little Prince commenced a season at the Sydney Coliseum Theatre in Western Sydney, offering one of our first chances for escapism in the new year. Having only opened in December 2019, the venue has had limited opportunities to host theatrical works to date, so this is a welcome opportunity to attend a performance in its 2,000-seat auditorium (and hopefully, only one of many for theatre fans across Greater Sydney in the years ahead).

The Little Prince returns to Sydney following a successful run at the Sydney Opera House in 2021. After the curtain falls on its final show at the Sydney Coliseum Theatre, the touring company will head to New York for a five-month Broadway run.

The Little Prince is based on a 1943 French novella by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry that remains one of the best-selling books ever published (having sold over 200 million copies and been translated into 250 languages). It tells the story of an aviator (Aurélien Bednarek) who becomes lost in the desert and encounters a young boy from a small planet (in fact, an asteroid). The little prince (Lionel Zalachas) has arrived on Earth after exploring several other planets and having encountered a curious cast of characters along the way – a vain man (Antony Cesar), a drunkard (Andrzej Aleksander Kamienski), a businessman (Adrien Picaut), and a lamplighter (Marcin Janiak).

The little prince’s adventures continue on Earth, including interactions with a serpent (Srilata Ray) and a fox (Dylan Barone), and culminate in his crucial realisation about what matters most in life, and the significance of the love he has for a singular rose (Laurisse Sulty) back on his home planet.

Director and choreographer Anne Tournié and co-director Chris Mouron (who is also the narrator) have delivered a faithful, whimsical adaptation of de Saint-Exupéry’s tale. No performer (other than the narrator) speaks in this production. The story is realised on stage with a wonderful mix of choreography (contemporary dance, acrobatics and simple gesture) and vibrant visuals.

Leading the troupe, Zalachas delightfully portrays the title character, whose interplanetary adventure is ultimately an enlightening experience. All performers adeptly contribute here but Sulty is a particular standout – her elegant execution of the choreography effectively conveys her enchantment of the little prince.

While the stage is actually bare, the phantastic worlds described in de Saint-Exupéry’s text are impressively evoked by Marie Jumelin’s projections, which cover the entire floor and the backdrop. The projections pair perfectly with Stéphane Fritsch’s lighting choices, while Peggy Housset’s colourful costumes suggest the peculiar characters of each world in the little prince’s ambit.

Truly, it is easy to become absorbed in the worlds created on stage here. There’s much to see and much to admire, given Tournié makes strong use of both horizontal and vertical space, as we find ourselves whisked from one world to the next. Composer Terry Truck’s music also succeeds in eliciting an intense sense of the otherworldly. While audience members familiar with de Saint-Exupéry’s novella will appreciate Tournié’s and Mouron’s reverential treatment of his classic novella, those new to the story of The Little Prince are also likely to be charmed by what unfolds before them.

The Little Prince is a beautifully crafted, absorbing theatrical presentation that will appeal to children of all ages, as well as any adults in the room who are happy to allow themselves to feel like children for a couple of hours.


Photo credit:
 Prudence Upton

THE LITTLE PRINCE – EVENT DETAILS

Dates: Playing now until Sunday 23 January, 2022
Venue: Sydney Coliseum Theatre, West HQ, 33 Railway Street, Rooty Hill
Ages: Suitable for all ages, recommended for +5 years
To purchase tickets, click here
More about the show, click here

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