Parents looking for important-yet-whimsical theater outings for their tots need look no further than “The Prince’s Big Adventurer.”
No, that’s not a typo — the focus of Steven Elliott Jackson’s ending love story for the very young is Prince Seamus’ sidekick, not the adventure the duo has together.
Over the course of this hour-long journey, Prince Seamus and Brody slay an enormous poisonous spider and an entitled, bratty princess, becoming closer and closer to one another as they travel. When the pair arrives back to the kingdom, they complete their biggest act of bravery yet: telling the truth about their feelings for one another to Prince Seamus’ mother and father.
It’s a clunky production, admittedly — frenetic and perhaps under-rehearsed — but the play is sensitive in its handling of a life event that might be new for a lot of kids. The story ends with a fleeting kiss between Prince Seamus and Brody, and the highlight of the performance I attended was the tiny gasps heard around the St. Vladimir Theatre. Two boys had fallen in love and married each other, and that was that. “The Prince’s Big Adventurer” doesn’t linger in the minutiae of the coming-out experience — in fact, the play paints the milestone as a joyful moment in a person’s life, countering against the angst of much mainstream queer representation. There’s little sadness or fear to be found here, only hope and a touch of silliness: for the kids in attendance, that’s a big deal.
Tyler Check’s music is often quite strong and very catchy, evoking heavily Jeanine Tesori’s “Shrek the Musical” score. Brandon Knox as Brody is a standout singer, and Nick Saraf’s Prince Seamus isn’t half-bad, either. Sets and costume are standard Fringe fare, relying heavily on audience imagination, but they get the job done.
To view the list of the Star’s top picks from the 2022 Toronto Fringe Festival, click here.
The Prince’s Big Adventurer
Written and directed by Steven Elliott Jackson. Until July 16 at St. Vladimir Theater, 620 Spadina Ave., fringetoronto.com and 416-966-1062.
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