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The Little Prince review at DanceEast, Ipswich – ‘imaginative and playful’

Protein's The Little Prince at DanceEast, Ipswich
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Protein uses an eclectic combination of storytelling, song and movement to stage The Little Prince, Antonie de Saint-Exupéry’s moving novella of a young boy who leaves his tiny asteroid to journey the universe, encountering a series of perplexing adults on the way.

Between them Andrew Gardiner and Donna Lennard play a series of eccentric characters. Some characters feel more convincing than others, but the Fox and the simpering Rose Garden are definite highlights. Their colourful interpretations help draw in an audience as the performers slip as deftly between song, text and physical theatre as easily as the Prince does between planets.

This playful attitude makes for a light and entertaining show and while The Little Prince is not a traditional Christmas story, its message of love and friendship is a heart-warming one. The company’s inventive, physical approach is charmingly childlike and, with a touch of imagination, Yann Seabra’s effective design (a simple scattering of white orbs) transforms into a rocky landscape, orbiting planets and even volcanoes – perfect on which to heat up breakfast.

Faith Prendergast makes a likeable prince – playful, persistent and entirely believable – and Karl Fagerlund Brekke as the pilot offers a touching counter to her sprightly energy.

There are moments that could benefit from a fuller physicality but, on the whole, this production strikes that tricky balance between simplicity and depth, seriousness and lightness of touch.

There’s enough here to engage an adult audience and, for younger audience members, the show is lots of fun.

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Charming, imaginative and playful staging of Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s novella