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Saturday, 23 November 2019

REVIEW: The Prince and the Pauper at the Watermill Theatre

The Watermill Theatre has been establishing a unique style of family Christmas shows at the intimate Berkshire venue offering an enjoyable alternative to pantomime . Sleeping Beauty (2016), The Borrowers (2017) and Robin Hood (2018) are followed up this year with a seven week run of The Prince and the Pauper with mainly matinee performances at 10.30 am, 2.30 pm and 5.30pm. They are simple charming storytelling shows that will appeal to any child and their parents.

Chinonyerem Odimba has adapted the Mark Twain's 1881 novel for the stage with music by Tarek Merchant and envisaged it as a band of medieval strolling players retelling the tale as a children's story. They have retained Prince Edward as the Tudor prince and the London setting but freely adapted the rest for their target audience. The soldier Miles Hendon becomes a talking dog, the Tudor judicial system gets changed to a Victorian Workhouse and the Pauper Tom becomes Tomasina, a young girl who looks nothing like the Prince! When the court tries to test Tom as to whether she is king they use magic tricks, Brussels sprouts and a delightful puppet dog, Bonzo to appeal to the kids. However they retain the core message of the story of the need to promote greater social equality and not judging people by their appearance. 
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