Based on Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s beloved classic The Little Prince, this year’s festive show at the Omnibus Theatre promises a joyously sparkling interplanetary journey for children.
Adapted for the stage by Sally Pomme Clayton, the story begins when a plane crashes in a strange landscape, conveyed by Sophia Pardon’s craggy scenic design. The pilot (Vera Chok) is saved by the titular Prince (Comfort Fabian), who goes on to recount her adventures with her friend the Rose (Royce Cronin) and a bunch of other eccentrics she has met on other planets. This inventively imagined patchwork of flashbacks is interwoven with reflections on the importance of imagination and friendship.
Marie McCarthy’s staging makes this episodic tale come alive with notable allure. While Fabian portrays the Prince with engaging affability, Chok and Cronin take on several roles, creating a distinct type for each. Cronin’s high-maintenance Rose and Chok’s nosy Fox are among the highlights.
With dazzling costumes and Jon McLeod’s immersive sound design, the frequent changes in character and setting remain intelligible. This heart-warming world also owes much to Rachel Sampley’s dynamic lighting and a constant stream of colourful projections. There are brief but exciting moments of puppetry, too.
Saint-Exupery’s novella loses some of its tender heart in this watered-down version for children, but the production’s broad strokes still reflect its timeless charm. Lilian Henley’s songs, in particular, help sustain this lyrical vein. This is a short and sweet adaptation that could easily encourage its young audience to meet the Prince on the page.