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Musicial Review: The Light Princess

Tori Amos went to the musicals!
The Light Princess at the National Theatre
The Light Princess at the National Theatre

For a special occasion I was treated to going to my first ever musical – and since I am a massive fan of Tori Amos, it was even more of a special occasion I was even more delighted it was her musical The Light Princess.

The story is based loosely from George MacDonald’s fairytale from 1864 and Samuel Adamson joined forces with Tori Amos to enable the story to be brought to life. It concerns a Princess whom is knocked weightless with grief and is now left to float around for her life. Given her predicament, she decides to only laugh at everything regardless of the situation. This lefts her not only ungrounded physically, but emotionally and also morally. The resulting tale see’s her transformation into becoming a stronger woman and sorting out a good old-fashioned war at the same time. About 95% of the musical is actually music and singing with very little dialogue.

First things first – the lead Rosalie Craig is stunning. She spends the majority of the two hours being swung around on a wire, and more comically being lifted around by stage people dressed in black – and yet she belts her numbers out with aplomb. I have no idea how you can sing with such strength when you’re in some of the positions she is in but does it she does. I was fascinated in how the people carrying her did so as one lady balanced her on her legs and swayed her around! Secondly, the sets were beautifully detailed, as were the puppets. There is a cute puppet rat that appears to do little except eat cheese and look at what’s going on around it. It added nothing to the story but I was pleased it was there. In fact, a lot of the second act felt like a dramatic pantomime. There’s a fantastic encore, a great wrapping up and a real feel good factor to the conclusion. I was elated and left cheering for more.

Love in the lake!
Love in the lake!

What did impress me was that there’s so many issues touched on in the play all at once. Xenophobia, climate change, loss, grief, friendship, love, rebellion and female empowerment all pop up. The score itself features a lot of Tori signatures like dropping notes down whilst going for the long note and a fair few minor keys. It’s not the most immediate to catch you, but it had weight to it.

I’ve seen a lot of polarised reviews and I can understand why as it follows the fairytale for the thinkers attitude and often that falls between the gaps of people’s genre boxes. I for one loved it and now will consider going to musicals again in the future (steady on!)

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