Theatre review: The Light Princess (National Theatre, London)

 

What is it? A new musical from singer-songwriter Tori Amos, a dark coming-of-age fairytale, finally arrives at the National Theatre. Samuel Adamson provides the libretto; Marianne Elliott directs. It stars Rosalie Craig as the Princess Althea, while Nick Hendrix is her Prince Digby.

The Independent says: “At its best, this show — brilliantly staged by Marianne Elliott of War Horse and Curious Incident fame – is a magical and ravishingly distinctive fusion of the theatrical arts … the story, which takes an ecologically correct turn in the second half, movingly shows how it’s only by opening up to the anguish of grief that Althea can find a love that is grounded in reality. There are flaws, sure, but I emerged from this bewitchingly unusual evening walking on air.”

They say: Daily Mail: “Lord knows what sort of mushrooms they were serving in the Royal National Theatre canteen when artistic director Sir Nicholas Hytner agreed to stage this peculiar musical … [It] just feels silly, more fey than fable, the characters a weird mix of knowing irony and shallow childishness. The music is sub-Lloyd Webber.”

The Telegraph: “The songs … feature a lot of wailing vocals and only very occasionally run to a decent tune or a witty lyric … Rae Smith’s designs create a gaudy fairy-tale world with more than a touch of Walt Disney about it.”

The Stage: “On the one hand, it is beautifully designed, musically rich (if repetitive) and boasts an absolutely stunning performance from Rosalie Craig … on the other hand, the show [has] an unremitting earnestness that made me wonder just who it was designed for. Children are likely to be both bored and confused, and adults will find it hard to care.”

You say: @EllesLaw17: “way more Wicked/panto than I’d expected from Tori Amos.”

@MichaelJDodd: “just like Tori it’s beautiful, playful, powerful”

The details: to 9 January;  nationaltheatre.org.uk

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