Writer: Jenny Worton
Director: Ross McKay
Reviewer: Lauren Humphreys
There’s a lot of pressure being charming all the time. So many expectations. It’s enough to make you take to your bed and stay there in the same pants for three months. Prince Charming is crippled with anxiety, worrying about the dark, being struck by lightning, getting lost in the Bermuda Triangle, living up to his legendary name, falling into quicksand, fighting dragons and the last day of the world – to name a few. Our prince is “too busy with his brain” to get out of bed. It takes the kindly Gomo to help overcome his anxieties and coax our hero out from under his duvet.
Jenny Worton’s delightful tale reminds us that every worry has equal weight when you are a child and that worry unites us all, no matter whether you’re big or small. It also reminds us all that it’s perfectly OK not to have all the answers, we’re all in this together.
Giulia Innocenti’s Gomo is a warm guide through the story and Nix Wood manages to represent the whole gamut of human emotion in our strange-looking, but appealing, little wooden hero in blue Y-Fronts and a vest. There are a few musical numbers including the fabulous I’m Not Special (when it comes to worry), which reminds this reviewer of the unexpected and slightly subversive songs of Tim Minchin in Matilda. The set is simple but effective and the lighting, particularly the ceiling of stars is particularly beautiful.
There is as much entertainment for the adults as the children here. It all gets a bit meta as our Prince has an existential crisis: he’s already a “one size fits all character”, “general not special”, never the title character – there’s no story called Prince Charming, when he finds out he’s really a puppet, something that threatens to send him right back under the bed covers. But after he breaks the fourth wall and the tinies in the audience get up close and personal, all is well in our theatrical world.
It’s seems glib to say that something is heart-warming but Prince Charming truly is. Not only does it open up conversations on mental health in children in the most fabulous way, there are also laughs a-plenty, mild peril, some ear-worm songs and a whole lot to ruminate over, but ultimately it all adds up to a fabulous piece of entertainment for all ages that will send you to the street with a smile on your face.
Runs until 20 April 2019 | Image: Contributed