The Princess and The Knight also manages to reference other fairytale and children’s material; Shrek 2 and The Incredibles were some that I pick up on but I’m sure there are more. Some lines are missed due to actors speaking over one another or not projecting when facing away from the audience, but I’m confident as the season continues, these will be ironed out. The comedic timing of the actors is fantastic – the raucous laughter Ruby Carter as Tulip the maid evokes from the audience simply by saying “yes” in a Scottish/Irish accent! And a throwaway line by Swinerd has us all in stitches. Meanwhile, Nodder builds a fantastic relationship with the audience that works in his favour as Lysander, the audience “aw”ing when Lysander is sad. (Nodder’s impressive dives and acrobatics should also be noted.) Pelham is a sweet princess who reminds me of Fiona from the Shrek franchise and has good chemistry with Worsnop. Nina Hogg puppeteering the rainbow dragon-unicorn creature Pirra also brings a surprising energy to the show, the character slowly unfolding as the show continues.
There are plenty of fun sound cues (Faith Holley) to accompany the action, which adds to the comedy of the show. However, I do wish there is a sound and lighting cue when Princess Ada and Ellis first touch. The actors do a great job of marking this as a significant moment, I want the tech to support it too as this would still be in keeping with the tone and style of the show. And I absolutely want Lysander and Nyx’s romantic tension to be more explicit by the end, especially after (my favourite scene) the fight/tango scene – a must-see really. (A simple “Oh, yeah, I love blueberries too!” from Nyx would have been the cherry – or blueberry – on top!) I also want the show to lean more into its meta-verse. After the first scene where petals are strewn all over the stage, we are in Nyx’s lair and he immediately sweeps away the flowers, blaming his henchmen for not following his instructions. This is a great and interesting element of the show that isn’t explored as fully as it could be.
My friend said to me after the show “This was the show I needed when I was eight.” I think a lot of us in the queer community feel this way regarding the excellent family-friendly content that has been coming out of Wellington in recent years. If you’re thinking about bringing children to this show, I would say eight to ten year olds are probably within the right age range. I don’t see any children in the crowd on my night, but I do think kids would have a good time. It’s a snappy 50 minute show, they won’t have time to get bored!
The Princess and The Knight is an over-the-top, pantomime-esque show that can only go further – push the boundaries even more! Get sillier and more boisterous! And for audiences who are wanting a bit of light-hearted fun, this is the show for you. The season is running until Saturday the 3rd of December, so dive into this queer goodness while you can!
Disclaimer: Katie Hill is also a reviewer at Art Murmurs. I have remained objective but feel free to comment below if you believe otherwise.