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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Review: The Little Prince as Told By Machiavelli (Fringe)

by Jordanna Weiss

An immoral morality play - brought to you by Capricornucopia. 
The play has an interesting premise - the plot of The Little Prince through the eyes of Niccolo Machiavelli, the calculating 16th century author of “The Prince”. The script itself could have easily become overly didactic but manages to stay just on the right side of charming. The energetic cast is cohesive and their mask work and characterization is particularly strong. 

The story begins with a young, misunderstood Machiavelli and picks up when he encounters the Little Prince, who tells him about how he conquered the planets surrounding his asteroid home. Machiavelli (played by Adrian Shepherd-Gawinski) narrates the story of the Little Prince’s (Tali Brady) conquests, which consist of exploiting and eliminating the rulers of neighboring planets. Shepherd-Gawinski is a natural narrator and sets the casual, but engaging tone for the rest of the play. 
The highlights of the production are the two ensemble actors (Melissa Allina-Tayler and Cameron Sedgwick) who are both physically and vocally hilarious. Their ability to flip from character to character, especially in the sweltering heat of the MainLine Theatre, is remarkable. 
Since both ensemble members play at least four roles each, the transitions are numerous and could be helped along by some background music. Overall though, they are interesting to watch. The main set piece is a circular black board that serves as the outline of all the planets that the Little Prince visited, and is very effectively used. 
The only weakness of this production comes in the form of some unfortunate choices in character voice that become grating over the course of the 1 hour 10 minute show. Overall, this production is an enjoyable night out and is not to be missed by any fans of The Little Prince - or Machiavelli. 

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