Photos – Jessica Wyld
Spare Parts Puppet Theatre’s production of The Little Prince is a right royal conundrum.
The Little Prince (Le Petit Prince) is a widely published French novella that has charmed children and adults for decades. The story and the pictures by French aristocrat Antoine de Saint-Exupery are enchanting. After 70 years in circulation expectations are high. Perhaps too high because Spare Parts fails to deliver and here in lies the quandary.
Many know and have been charmed by the story of the Little Prince who leaves his rose and his little planet to travel to Earth meeting different characters along the way.
The main puppet, the Little Prince has been crafted based on the artwork in the novella and rightly so. Jessica Lewis does a credible and artistic job of bringing the Little Prince to life. Shane Adamczak has the task of performing the other personalities in the story with varying degrees of success.
The stage design is a clever concoction of wooden crates that transform into the various planets visited by the Little Prince. While artful these crates create a lot of work for the puppeteers and result in the audience waiting for the scenery to appear. Children are not accustomed to waiting and the wooden crates seem too clunky for such an old-world story.
The stage design and the lighting let this production down failing to incite the imagination and create a magical world. As a result the puppeteers are forced to try to recreate an artistic story on a somewhat mechanical stage.
At times the story alights and then it drops away. The fox and the snake are entrancing and beautifully performed by Adamczak. However some of the other characters are less captivating, lacking subtlety. Spare Parts’ production is 50-minutes and long enough.
Spare Parts Puppet Theatre based in Western Australia is Australia’s flagship puppetry company and a driving force in the puppetry landscape in Australia since 1981. The Little Prince is on national tour and recommended for 4 – 12 year olds.
Spare Parts Puppet Theatre
The Little Prince
Adaptation by Simon Clarke | Adapted from the book by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Director Michael Barlow
Venue: Space Theatre | Adelaide Festival Centre
Dates: 27 – 28 May 2016