Princess Charming Review - Oval House

As I was leaving Oval House Theatre with a smile on my face, I heard a young girl say to her Mum, “I think I’m a girly girl because I wear tutus… But sometimes I play football, and that’s okay!”
How wonderful that a piece of theatre can invoke such a statement from someone so young!

Princess Charming, devised by Spun Glass Theatre Company, is 60 minutes worth of fun-filled theatre, complete with clowning, cabaret and countless Disney references!

On the day I attended, there were some lovely, eager children ready for some fun (I think I’m going to be using the word ‘fun’ a lot in this review!) As we entered the space, it looked like an Aladdin’s Cave filled with pink and blue cushions, boxes and blankets. It was lovely to hear the children go “Wowww” as we entered!

As the lights went down, out come Alex and Charlie with bundles of energy and microphones. They completely made the audience feel comfortable and set us up for an hour of singing, dancing and fun.

Alex and Charlie (was it a coincidence that they had gender neutral names?) were such a brilliant double act. They worked wonderfully together, and their direct address included the audience in the show and the message they were trying to portray.

I particularly enjoyed Alex’s dancing as a way of expressing himself. There were moments where he was upset and wanting to burst into tears through his dancing and kept hiding his face - clearly suggesting that boys are often told to “be strong” and “big boys don’t cry.” A very clear and touching moment in the show.

Similarly to this, Charlie’s rewritten lyrics to Radiohead’s ‘Creep’ was so powerful and a great way to end the show. With lyrics such as “This girl is her own hero” and “She’s stronger than you know,” I hope little girls in the audience took note.

Some literal examples such as calendars and sticker books were used in the production to really enhance the point that society is a big factor in early gender stereotyping. One moment that will stay with me was when Alex said that he had no role model within Disney films when he was growing up. He wanted to be more like a princess. Of course, the female role models are getting better with strong, independent characters such as Moana, but the male characters do not have an equivalent.

Overall, I would recommend this show to anyone who wants to teach young children (and adults) about gender stereotyping. I don’t think the Mums and Dads expected to enjoy it as much as they did! It truly is a hilarious, touching and truthful performance with a powerful, important message.

Princess Charming will run at Oval House Theatre until Saturday 28th October.

(c) 2017 Molly Miller

Alexander Luttley
Charlotte Worthing

Dramaturg - Stewart Melton
Director - Amy Draper
Set + Costume Designer - Katherine Heath
Lighting Designer - Simon Booth
Producer - Jessica Cheetham
Original Music + Lyrics - Darren Clark

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