Angels and Heroes and Theatre Outré’s multimedia musical The Princess Show, which plays now until September 11 as part of the Atlantic Fringe Festival, is a beautifully theatrical parable about the power of the self to empower, create, and also to destroy.
Using conventions from the world of anime and the world of camp creators Aaron Collier, Richie Wilcox and Deonie Hudson give us a strange new world for characters Princess Edward (Collier) and her boyfriend Abel (Wilcox) in a piece that is part theatre, part television, part Performance Art. As in children’s cartoons The Princess Show hinges on its protagonist’s need to go on a quest, to defeat a beast and to learn a lesson. The dialogue primarily services the plot, telling the audience information they need to know rather than worrying too much about being “realistic,” the movement is stylized with incredibly strong specificity, and Collier and Wilcox lip synch all their lines over their own pre-recorded voices. All of this creates a bit of Alienation Effect, but the cartoon imagery they are playing with that many of us associate with our childhoods also creates a striking sense of familiarity. We already know how to connect to Princess Edward and Abel because this type of parable is one we have grown up with. It’s not even surprising at the end when the moral is clearly defined for us.
It’s interesting that the most ardent way the audience connects with Princess Edward and Abel is through their movement, especially in dance and during Princess Edward’s lip synched performances. It is also interesting that, unlike in anime, Collier and Wilcox’s lip synching is perfectly timed to their recorded lines. Collier has some powerhouse performance moments where the lip synching reaches truly phenomenal heights. Indeed, there are many layers of performativity at play with these characters, in performing gender, performing as an artist, performing in society, and performing our various incarnations of self. This innate playfulness allows Collier and Wilcox to make large leaps of creative faith and to trust that the audience will leap with them.
The projected set, which includes some characters in Claymation, along with Collier’s original music, does a great job of creating Princess Edward’s futuristic world. Visually, Collier is aptly regal in an array of fanciful outfits, while Wilcox captures the parable theme vividly, looking like a sort of Hipster Geppetto from Pinocchio.
In all, The Princess Show is a very strongly performed, intelligent and theatrical parable for adults told using a creative use of a mixture of media conventions, and pulls everything together into an interesting and cohesive whole.
Theatre Outré and Angels & Heroes Theatre present:
THE PRINCESS SHOW
By Aaron Collier, Richie Wilcox, and Deonie Hudson
Multimedia-Musical – Parental Guidance
60 min – $11.00
The Bus Stop Theatre
Part of The Atlantic Fringe Festival 2016
The Bus Stop Theatre
Thursday Sept 1st, 9:40PM
Saturday Sept 3rd, 7:00PM
Monday Sept 5th, 9:40PM
Tuesday Sept 6th, 11:00PM (Volunteer Appreciation Performance!)
Thursday Sept 8th, 8:30PM
Saturday Sept 10th, 1:30PM
Sunday Sept 11th, 4:10PM