London Fringe — Your Princess is in Another Castle, but the Castle is Still Just a Facade

By Jay Menard

Before the play starts, Wes Babcock explains to the crowd that Your Princess is in Another Castle is very much a work in progress. He and Nancy Kenny, known for Roller Derby Saved my Soul and Everybody Dies in December, are workshopping this production and that honesty is greatly appreciated, because the production is very, very rough.

Ostensibly, the play is about Princess Polly, who loses the vote for Miss Leader of the Free World — the elections are won and lost by reality television. She finds herself a barista in a coffee shop run by her mannequin boyfriend. And Polly feels she lost the election because she was unable to make the mannequin population care for her.

There are elements of an interesting story here. The first building blocks of a foundation upon which something entertaining may arise. But right now, the drywall’s been applied a little haphazardly, the windows are slapdash, and the decorations are a little gaudy. It needs work and refinement to be something a little more stage-worthy.

The clear Trump-isms are a little heavy handed and obvious. The females-in-politics-should-be-seen-and-not-heard theme is hammered home ad nauseam — with no actual resolution or payoff. And for a character that’s supposed to be dripping with smarmy charm and charisma, Babcock’s “poet laureate” is incredibly stiff and wooden.

There are moments when the dialogue hangs in the air, waiting for someone to pick up the next piece. There are times when scene awkwardly end or transitions seem forced. And there are themes that are introduced but not fully explored.

Again, this is just a workshop, so it’s an entertaining way to be part of the process. And maybe in a couple of years this will be a tight, biting social commentary. But right now, it’s a show that lacks both head and heart — it is, to be honest, a mannequin framework of a story. But every mannequin is loaded with potential and perhaps this one shine in the future.

** — two out of five stars

This review originally appeared on theatreinlondon.ca.

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