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Sunday, 22 July 2012 10:34

A prince of a tale

Written by Connie Bollinger
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The Details

WC Fields once cautioned performers against working with kids and dogs meaning they would easily steal the show. Director Sheri Hogan wisely ignored this advice and presents us with a charming piece, The Little Prince.

The Little Prince is a whimsical play based on the beloved children’s book of the same name. The Aviator crash lands his plane in the Sahara and is soon visited by a mysterious child who teaches the man about living one’s life with love and child-like innocence.

Jacob Blumfeld plays the Aviator, an unhappy man who denied his desire to become an artist and turned instead to flying as a means of escaping the earthbound disappointments of life. Although Jacob’s bio says he’s studying English Literature at Drew University, I hope he pursues acting at some point. Jacob definitely has talent.

Twelve year old Sophia Chajon is The Little Prince. Although it was disconcerting to me at first to see obviously female Sophia playing a boy, I got over it quickly. I couldn’t help but marvel at the child’s energy. Sophia was seldom off the stage for more than a moment, a difficult situation for an even an adult actress. Sophia is already a real trooper.

Corrine Yap as The Fox and Lucy Schroeder as The Snake seemed to enjoy their roles and were very, very good. Ms. Yap complete with ears and tail bounded quickly around, lithe and graceful and cute as can be. Ms. Schroeder’s Snake was a slithery, undulating delight of wisdom and evil.

All the children did a terrific job. Several of them play dual or triple roles and all were focused and perfectly executed some seriously tough blocking. That takes real concentration. The more mature performers were also spot on in their roles. The effort everyone put into this production was clearly evident in the finished product.

And now we come to the type of child actor WC Fields was talking about in his famous cautionary quote, the one about not working with kids: Miss Kaylee Ryan is a delightful little bundle of scene stealing charm. Kaylee played The Rose, the Prince’s true and lasting love. As The Rose Kaylee primped and smiled and made eyes at everyone as befitted the loveliest flower in the land. Kaylee, in my opinion, is that rare child actor who doesn’t overact nor does she shrill her lines. She has enormous confidence onstage and honestly, on a stage full of charming and adorable children Kaylee was all I could see. The child has that “IT” factor, the indefinable something of voice and eye and movement that just makes me want to smile.

Clayton Community Theatre has done a lovely job with a difficult play and their hard work has shone brightly as the stars.

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