Review by Kirsty Alexander
Presented by Sherman Cymru and Theatr Iolo
5th December 2015 – 2nd January 2016
For ages 3-6
Chandeliers hung from the ceiling and pots and pans scattered the floor, as audience members filled up the Studio at the Sherman for this year’s festive offering for 3-6 year olds – The Princess and the Pea. A joint production from Theatr Iolo and Sherman Cymru, the three cast members instantly engaged with the little ones brave enough to sit on the mats at the front, and the music allowed both parents and children to relax around the stage area.
The Hans Christian Anderson fairytale soon takes over the studio space, albeit at a slow pace to begin with – although this didn’t seem to disinterest the younger audience members in the slightest. The Prince is only interested in finding a Princess to marry – much to the Queen’s dismay – and the two meet various potential suitors in order to make him happy. As the rain falls on the old castle roof, the repetitive raindrops created mini musical interludes and the Sherman roof could well have been actually leaking!
The real sparkle comes when the unconventional Princess arrives; as she chases, plays, and makes the Prince laugh, the Queen decides to put her to the test to see if she actually is a real Princess. Ceri Elen is brilliant as she takes over the space and the clever lighting design really emphasises the castle feel and changes in the weather.
A tale full of misused mash potato, a mattress or 20, and a lot of pans full of rain, the performance was enchanting for the younger audience members, although I felt it was missing a certain chaos or noisy interaction. The Sherman studio space is full of magic and this gentle fairytale is a great treat for young families this Christmas.
Nadolig Llawen! The Princess and the Pea is on until the 2nd January 2016. More information and show times can be seen here.
Kirsty works at the Wales Millenium Centre, the leading arts centre in Wales. She is part of the Welsh Young Critics’ scheme, and you can read more of her reviews on her blog. Follow Kirsty @chaotickirstyy