Take tidbits of the classic tale of Hansel and Gretel and combine it with Cinderella’s fairy godmother and a pragmatic goblin-fighting princess, the result is bound to delight.
On the 16 and 17 of this month, the Noorda Theatre kick-started the traveling performance of “The Princess and the Goblin”; performing on campus as well as heading out to elementary schools across the valley. This charming play tells a story of courage, the connecting thread of family and the power of believing.
Princess Irene lives an ordinary life in a mansion in the mountains with Lootie, a caretaker who can never quite keep track of the princess’s whereabouts. Things get a little more complicated when Irene discovers a magic passageway in the mansion and later meets a boy named Curdi. When Curdi is in trouble it’s up to Irene to save him but difficulties arise when the goblins scheme to kidnap Irene and possibly infiltrate the town.
The dynamic of Princess Irene and Curdi the miner boy is pretty magnetic. Curdi’s singing was a crowd favorite staple of the show. The set is interesting and simplistic and the acting is immense and imaginative. The puppets that play the main goblins are works of art, detailed and animated and life size.
The novel by George MacDonald that served as the basis for the play inspired the works of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien and even the musings of Sylvia Plath but it’s the children who feel the magic of this story in play form. After the show was over, the cast, director Nannette Watts and award-winning playwright Sandra Fenichel Asher answered questions the audience might have had about the story and performance. Asher said the attraction to writing the play grew from her initial love of the narrative as well as the strong female heroines that are found in few fairy tales.
When it premiered in New York with professional actors, the cast was large and the set was intricate. However, UVU’s rendition is closer to the work Asher wrote. Asher expressed her pleasure with the good work that was done on the performance.
The Princess and the Goblin is set to perform in elementary schools on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons through the end of Thanksgiving. If anyone would like to book a performance one can call Eileen Nagle at 863-KIDS or contact her via email at [email protected] Openings are still available but going fast.