By Rick Cummins and John Scoullar
Based on the book by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Directed by David Catlin
in association with the Actors Gymnasium
At Lookingglass Theatre, Chicago
“One sees clearly only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye.” – The Little Prince
Imaginative staging fuels engaging production of The Little Prince
David Catlin ‘s Lookingglass Alice set a high standard in creative, visual stunning theatre productions that tell a story on several levels. That formula is used by director Catlin in his wonderful production of The Little Prince. Chuck full of whimsey and loads of innocent charm, The Little Prince is Frenchman Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s allorical fable that children cherish and adults relate to.
Rick Cummins and John Scoullar’s translation and the terrific visuals from set designer Courtney O’ Neill with compelling lighting by William Kirkham with Rick Sims’ sound design, together with the foley art and live effects by the supporting players (Adeoye, Kareem Bandealy, Kasey Foster, Raymond Fox, Lauren Hirts ans Louise Lamson) combine to effectively tell the story.
The Aviator (Ian Barford) recounts his adventures after crashing in the Sahara Desert in the middle of nowhere. He tells of how he rediscovered his child-like creativity through his encounter with and enigmatic, charismatic young prince (Amelia Hefferon). The Little Prince tells the Aviator about his journeys through space, the stars, and the planets including his adventures on earth.
Told with visually arresting props, staging, utilizing gravity-defying physical stunts and brave performances , the Lookingglass Theatre’s production is breathtaking beautiful and fully engaging. We see and say “wow” as we keep looking all around as the action, stunts and images happen around us.
We experience a talking rose, a talking fox and as talking snake among several strange items including a king who rules from a throne suspended form above. The creatives at Lookingglass Theatre sure have their imaginative instincts running in this pleasing production.
Ian Barford is terrific as the perplexed stranded Aviator who learns to rekindle his creative instincts through his interactions with The Little Prince. Amelia Hefferon, in her first professional acting debut, give a heartfelt, charming performance as the wise yet innocent little prince. The moral lessons here including challenging our perspective as to what is really matters in life are splendidly presented. Passion, honest, and trust abound throughout. Children and adults can enjoy this amazingly pleasing theatrical event together. The artistry here is impressive yet the show could use a 15 minute trim as 90 minutes is a tad too long as it tends to overwhelm. But the series of surprising elements kept the audience stunned. This production sure exposes audiences to the wildly exotic possibilities of live theatre. The results become a memorable experience.
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Date Reviewed: December 14, 2013
For more info checkout The Little Prince page at theatreinchicago.com
At Lookingglass Theatre, 821 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL, call 312-337-0665, www.lookingglasstheatre.org, Tuesdays & Wednesdays at 7:30, Thursdays at 3 & 7;30 pm, Fridays at 7:30 pm, Saturdays at 3 & 7:30 pm, Sundays at 3 & 7:30 pm, running time is 90 minutes without intermission, through February 23, 2013