Bristol’s Tobacco Factory Theatre is known for its quirky Christmas shows but we’ve never had the pleasure of experiencing one. We put that right this festive season with a trip to see The Light Princess, 2015’s winter treat.
With a low stage the audience gets up close and personal to the story of a princess who has a curse put on her as a baby by her evil aunt which means gravity has no effect so she spends her life floating around in the air.
Based on a 19th century Scottish fairy tale, the show is an often hilarious few hours as the youngster rebels against her parent’s protective approach to their daughter’s permanent state of weightlessness.
I read up ahead of seeing the show and did wonder how the cast were going to portray a flying human on stage but they do it ingenuously well with the use of shadow puppets and some clever lighting that is immensely convincing to adults and children alike. The stage itself also hides a surprise that is revealed towards the end of the first act but we’ll let you find that out for yourself!
Suzanne Ahmet is a joy as the princess but our favourite member of the cast was Amalia Vitale. She may be of small stature but she delivers giant performances as three characters, all with very different accents. Her role as a witches intern from Northern England is brilliant and when she joins forces with Rew Lowe as the eccentric Humdrum and Kopykeck who try and bring the royal girl back down to earth our sides were well and truly split.
The cast is just six and most of them play at least two characters. They do it so well though that it feels like at least double that amount of actors are involved.
Produced by Tobacco Factory Theatres in association with Peepolykus and directed by John Nicholson the show has many slapstick elements of a traditional panto but it so much more than that. There are plenty of innuendos and themes that go above youngsters’ heads to keep the parents entertained during a sophisticated but hilarious two hours. Five stars!