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BWW REVIEW: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's THE LITTLE PRINCE Comes To Life With Dance, Acrobatics And Immersive Video Projection Scenes

THE LITTLE PRINCE

BWW REVIEW: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's THE LITTLE PRINCE Comes To Life With Dance, Acrobatics And Immersive Video Projection Scenes

Thursday 27th May 2021, 7pm, Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House

The visually captivating Parisian production of THE LITTLE PRINCE blends contemporary dance with circus elements and modern technology to bring the 76 year old work to a new generation. Based French writer and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's novella that ranks among the best selling books with over 140 million copies sold worldwide in addition to being one of the most translated books, published in 301 languages and dialects, this is a beautiful, whimsical and ultimately poignant commentary on love and friendship and understanding the importance of retaining a childlike innocence.

BWW REVIEW: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's THE LITTLE PRINCE Comes To Life With Dance, Acrobatics And Immersive Video Projection Scenes The premise of THE LITTLE PRINCE is that an aviator that has crashed in the Sahara desert meets a mysterious child referred to as "The Little Prince" far from any civilization. The child is not from earth, coming from a planet/asteroid that has three small volcanos and a range of plants including a rose that he has fallen in love with despite it being vain and melodramatic, prompting the Little Prince to want to protect it. The Little Prince has visited a range of other planets to observe how its inhabitants behave, finding adults that have become focused on materialistic, selfish, narcissistic and futile behaviors and have lost their innocence and ability to find friendship and love but the Aviator retains a value for innocence as he eventually understands the child's desire for a drawing of a sheep that thinks outside, or should that be inside, the box. Drawn from Saint-Exupéry's personal experiences as an aviator stranded in the desert during a challenge to fly from Paris to Saigon in which he and his co-pilot experienced dehydration induced hallucinations, his own personal relationships and his 'pet' Fennec Fox, this work is profound but ultimately hopeful. BWW REVIEW: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's THE LITTLE PRINCE Comes To Life With Dance, Acrobatics And Immersive Video Projection Scenes Choreographer and director Anne Tournié has collaborated with Chris Mouron (Libretto adaptation, Associate Direction and Narrator), Terry Truck (original music), Marie Jumelin (Video Design), Caremen Arbues Miro (Hair and Makeup), Peggy Housset (Costume design) and Aurélie Gandilhon (Props design) to create a beautiful physical expression of the children's book that deals with the weighty observations of human behavior. Given the work is predominantly contemporary dance and acrobatics, the stage is kept free from set dressing with the scenes being provided by the video projections that cover the floor and the backdrop to create an immersive world for the characters to inhabit. The performers express their characters purely through physical expression with the only spoken words and songs being provided by the Narrator (Mouron) who moves through the scenes recounting the Aviator's memories of meeting the mysterious "The Little Prince" after his plane has crashed in the Sahara desert. Terry Truck's music lends an ethereal tone to the work with repeated themes through the use of light notes and sweeping undertones with subtle tonal shifts for each story.

BWW REVIEW: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's THE LITTLE PRINCE Comes To Life With Dance, Acrobatics And Immersive Video Projection Scenes The publicity for the production indicates a strong circus element and there is a degree of aerial work with double straps and trapeze harnesses and a Cyr Wheel though some of the aerial work appears to have been modified, potentially due to rigging issues of the theatre space. This is particularly noticeable with The Snake that the program images indicate should be utilizing a Corde Lisse rather than a trapeze harness and rope tied around the performer's waist which alters the expression of the work. While there is a combination of circus and contemporary dance, the work also feels as though neither element is completely on point, particularly for synchronized ensemble elements. While the work is visually appealing, the challenge of reading surtitles and trying to focus on the activity does at time prove challenging. The projection of the scenes onto the floor also reduces the ability to utilize follow spots in the lighting design with side lights used instead which can alter the impact of the performers.

BWW REVIEW: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's THE LITTLE PRINCE Comes To Life With Dance, Acrobatics And Immersive Video Projection Scenes For those familiar with Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's novella this is a beautiful way to reconnect to the work and it is recommended that audiences familiarize themselves with the story's plot line and purpose to fully enjoy this work. This production of THE LITTLE PRINCE will satisfy audiences that enjoy innovative contemporary art forms particularly those that appreciate the plotted projections and animations similar to those featured on the Sydney Opera House sails each year at VIVID Sydney.

https://www.sydneyoperahouse.com/events/whats-on/circus-and-magic/2021/the-little-prince.html

Photos: Prudence Upton

BWW REVIEW: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's THE LITTLE PRINCE Comes To Life With Dance, Acrobatics And Immersive Video Projection Scenes BWW REVIEW: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's THE LITTLE PRINCE Comes To Life With Dance, Acrobatics And Immersive Video Projection Scenes

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