I’m not often a fan of musicals. There are too many happy go-lucky characters who trot off into the sunset at the end for my liking. Going into a production which promises to question gender convention sparked my interest a little, but I have to admit that I didn’t have high hopes and anticipated an hour of clichés.
Yet, I was pleasantly surprised when 'The Princes' Quest' was sweet, uplifting and with a few original twists – although, don’t get me wrong, such twists still left the piece feeling quite safe. Making a fairy tale focus on being true to who you really are still gives the traditional satisfaction of a happy ending that we all expect.
The piece opens with a small centre stage occupied by three nonchalant musicians and a makeshift bench, as a young girl (Bianca Watts) jumps on the scene. She acts as the surprising source of wisdom throughout the play, questioning ‘how we see the world’ with an inquisitive gaze and an energetic leap across the stage. Her scenes with Earnest (Joe McWilliam) provide the outer frame of this frame narrative, a sweet and uplifting encounter. Earnest, a sensitive soul, embarks on re-telling the story of how he met his true love at a house party (who doesn’t, in this day and age), a character played remarkably well as he captures the audience’s affection. His competition for the love of Katie (Lydia Feerick) against Freddie (Asher Gilnsman), may be filled with slightly cringe-worthy tasks, such as a Karaoke competition, but does display the true awkwardness of twenty first century chivalry. Katie, in turn, wants to find true love, assisted by her wing woman, the aptly named Tinkerbelle. Ah, the classic love triangle story.
Whilst all the characters have their individual quirks, the play gives Freddie, who on the surface is a misogynistic ‘lad’, a pleasant depth. His LGBTQ twist is what really makes this piece stand out, challenging both the convention of gender and making the audience realise our own conventional attitudes towards fairy tales – since we didn’t see the LGBTQ twist coming either.
In a piece where reality – the highs and lows of love – take priority over convention, it is certainly refreshing. 'The Princes' Quest' is a comforting and heart-warming piece which leaves all characters with a satisfactory ending. Bear in mind that there is there was no evil figure and all the characters appeared quite pleasant enough. It is somewhat disappointing in that aspect – where is the evil queen? If you’re after a safe - but still entertaining - piece paired with modern day romance, give this play a go.
Original Post: http://edfringereview.com/r/V4YkxBsAQIGzxxuHXDx6yg