The Little Prince
Based on the book by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Adaptation by Chris Mouron
Back Row Productions in association with Broadway Entertainment Group
Director and Choreographer: Anne Tournié
Music: Terry Truck
Photo credits Philippe Hanula and Prudence Upton
Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House
Reviewed by Ron Lee, CSP
From a sell-out season in Paris, the latest stage version of The Little Prince is now on at the Sydney Opera House.
Le Petit Prince is a novella by French aristocrat, writer, and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. It was first published in English and French and has sold an estimated 140 million copies, so there is a market for the retelling and interpretations of the story.
After the aviator descends from the skies, the androgynous narrator, takes the reins and performs all of the dialogue. For those who have difficulty understanding the compelling French accent, there are clear, discretely-placed surtitles in the Joan Sutherland Theatre. The final song, performed by The Narrator, comes with surtitles beautifully projected onto the cyclorama, but millennials might not be able to read them because they’re in cursive.
On his path of discovery, The Little Prince’s philosophy on life gradually evolves. Zen even comes into his awareness.
“When you’ve finished washing and dressing each morning, you must tend to your planet.”
“One sees clearly only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye.”
This classy, elegant, polished and entertaining production combines aspects reminiscent of various performance media.
There are the circus skills, diversity and creativity of Cirque du Soleil, demonstrated by Marcin Janiak as The Lamplighter and the beauty of classical ballet, as exemplified by Charlotte Kah as The Rose. There’s even a touch of the Brazilian martial art of capoeira performed by Mathieu Cobos as The Vain Man.
The enthralling, animated projections and dance skills remind me of Shen Yun. Using the area of the entire cyclorama, the projected animated scenes provide a perfect backdrop.
The choreography in this production took me back to the 1980s, with the appeal of the golden age of the Sydney Dance Company under Graeme Murphy and Janet Vernon.
The entire cast is superb, with the focal character of The Little Prince being portrayed by Lionel Zalachas who compellingly and completely engages us in the revelations on his journey.
You’d do well to put The Little Prince on your “to see” list.