Review: The Little Prince at Sydney Coliseum Theatre

Review by Michelle Sutton The opening night of Broadway Entertainment Group’s production of The Little Prince at the Sydney Coliseum Theatre at West HQ feels like a historic moment. There is so much joy projected by every artist who steps on the stage, culminating in a wonderful, whimsical experience and very touching tribute to Antoine De Saint-Exupéry’s classic children’s novella, Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince). Directed by Anne Tournié with co-direction from Chris Mouron, the stage show is based off of the 1945 edition of the book which tells the story of a strange boy who leaves his planet to explore the universe, eventually landing on earth and wrestling with universal themes of loneliness, purpose and love. Tournié and Mouron have transformed words on a page into a spectacular experience combining music, dance, acrobatics and aerial performance. The dialogue is spoken through the character of the Narrator, which is a new addition to the story. The Narrator, played excellently by Chris Mouron, speaks and occasionally sings, to introduce the new characters and keep the story moving along. Terry Truck has composed an original score for The Little Prince that fits the tone of the story perfectly and flows seamlessly throughout the different sequences, changing in correlation with the different planets and eccentric characters The Little Prince encounters. Once you hear the music it seems like it has always existed as part of The Little Prince universe, as it effortlessly and magically does it illustrate The Little Prince’s emotional state and journey and pull on the heartstrings. Video is also essential in bringing the production to life, with images completely filling the space of the floor and backdrop to bring entire strange planets and landscapes to life. Video designer Marie Jumelin’s creations assist the audience to abandon their doubt and cynicism and commit to the fantastical world of The Little Prince. The show’s director Anne Tournié also serves as the choreographer, with Noellie Bordelet as assistant choreographer. The dancing is simple but striking throughout, with the first duet between the Little Prince and The Rose being a real highlight, as well as the ensemble rose dance performed in unison. The cast comprises of 12 highly talented and devoted individuals, all masters of their craft and totally committed to their roles and the creative vision of Anne Tournié. Chris Mouron is totally enamouring as The Narrator and the rest of the cast displays their precision in various circus arts and dance. Lionel Zalachas plays The Little Prince himself and absolutely dazzles in his ability to convey the playful, curious, mischievous nature of a child through his facial expressions and effortlessly light, physical movements. On stage for a large part of the 1 hour and 50minute runtime of the show, Zalachas maintains the same energy throughout, allowing his movements to evoke feelings of loss, loneliness and love. Peggy Housset the costume designer and Carmen Arbues Miro the hair and makeup designer have worked together to bring the other worldly characters to life and to enhance the magic of every movement and aerial act. Housset’s costuming for The Rose is truly stunning as the petals fall to reveal the artist underneath, whilst the costuming for the sheep and the fox is playful and storybook-like with a hint of humour. Unfortunately, there was a technical glitch on the night, with the video abruptly cutting out only 20 minutes into the show. The two dancers who were in the middle of a duet, handled the situation incredibly professionally before the lights were dimmed and curtain came down. Thankfully the problem was fixed within 10 minutes and the show commenced from the beginning of the duet to enthusiastic and supportive applause from the audience. There were some other technical errors with microphones not being switched on at exactly the right time but nothing that won’t be completely resolved in the next few shows. The Little Prince is a show that is going to exponentially get better and better as the artists become more comfortable and confident in their roles and begin to have even more fun with the choreography. The Little Prince is a charming and spell-binding production sure to impress audiences with its creativity and talented cast. True to the book, it will please fans of Saint Exupéry’s original work as well as delight audiences that are new to the strange and tender tale.

Photo Credit: Prudence Upton