The Princess of the Tower is a fun-filled musical produced by Goldenberg Productions and is playing at the Toronto Fringe Festival as part of Kidsfest. The very talented cast of six sang and danced their hearts out through every number and definitely left myself as well as many audiences members with smiles plastered across their faces.
Having performed myself years ago at The George Ignatieff Theatre, I was excited to see how Director Jen Shuber would utilize the hexagonal stage in The Princess of the Tower. To my delight, Shuber shattered my expectations filling the stage with action of all kinds. From background dancers to sheep, every member of the cast was used effectively to round out the narrative. For me, these choreographed subtleties made the show pop.
A tight-knit ensemble can either make or break a show. In this case, the whole show was brought together through the transformation of these ensemble members into a variety of characters. Catarina Ciccone and Michael MacEachern stood out because they were engaged in every scene they were a part of, whether or not they were the centre of attention. Every single facial expression from these two suspended my disbelief further.
Within the ensemble, there were some larger roles which lead to standout performances. In particular, Rick Hughes was able to shine in the role of the King. Knowing his audience, Hughes played a larger-than-life King who desperately wanted his daughter to marry a Prince. His engaging mannerisms led to hilarious comedic moments. Speaking of comedy, Camila Diaz-Varela’s zany commitment to her characters drew my eyes every time she was on stage.
Without knowing that this piece was a musical coming in, I was pleasantly surprised at the amazing vocal ability of every member of the cast. Kenton Blythe stood out with his tenor melodies and quirky delivery of the beautiful lyrics written by Lezlie Wade. Blythe was relatable, real, and quite funny in his role of the unlikely lover.
Stylistically, this musical is said to feature music of the Klezmer variety. In short, Klezmer music was born in ancient times. It exists in a variety of forms and is meant to open the listener up to energy and emotion. Scott Christian hit the nail on the head with every song; each one brand new, but still catchy.
Lastly, the costumes and lighting were purposely simple and worked great in terms of signifying character and location as well. Having nearly everything on stage within the crates was a great choice, and furthered the message that we all can create amazing stories with what we already have and who we already are.
Having never seen a Kidsfest show before, I was blown out of the water by the talent of everyone involved in The Princess of the Tower. Even furthering my appreciation for this show was the underlying message of the importance of reading. A definite must-see for any avid young theatre goers.
- The Princess of the Tower plays at The George Ignatieff Theatre. (15 Devonshire Pl.)
- Full price tickets are $13.00 and Kidsfest tickets are $5.00.
- Tickets can be purchased online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Fringe Club at Scadding Court, and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain
- Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are very rarely admitted
- This show is rated (G) General
- This venue is accessible and there are and (R) Relaxed Performances
- Wednesday July 4th, 04:30 pm
- Friday July 6th, 10:30 am
- Saturday July 7th, 03:00 pm (Relaxed)
- Monday July 9th, 01:30 pm
- Wednesday July 11th, 04:45 pm
- Friday July 13th, 01:15 pm
- Sunday July 15th, 05:00 pm
Photo of Lana Carillo and Catarina Ciccone by Brian Goldberg