Once upon a time in a kingdom not far from here, there were some children in need of cheering up. Their fairy godmother (well, mother) granted them a wish and, with a flick of her wand, they were granted tickets to see Tutti Frutti’s production of The Princess and The Pea.
But stories are no good without a twist and turn and, what with one thing and another, only two of us found ourselves in the Studio of York Theatre Royal. Although we’d left the family’s biggest fairytale fan at home, our oldest girl (nine) was really happy to be back at the theatre again after what seems like forever. We’ve seen a lot of Tutti Frutti’s shows over the years and, although each of them is very different in tone and tale, they all have one thing in common: they’re excellent. Tutti Frutti just know how to entertain children, from the length of the shows (usually no longer than an hour) to the energy (high), the sets (simple and striking but clever), the costumes, the use of music and songs and, of course, the script. The stories whip along at pace, leaving out the boring bits and taking the young audience with them, right to the curtain call.
This modern retelling of The Princess and the Pea is no exception – it’s bright, funny and thoroughly cheerful. And it’s not just about one privileged prince and his quest for the perfect princess: there are references to many other fairytales, too, from Jack and the Beanstalk to Cinderella. What there isn’t, though, is the usual stereotype of shallow, jewel-adorned princesses who need to find a prince to achieve their ultimate happiness. It’s as far from Disney as you can get, and all the more fun for it (we particularly loved the vegan eco-warrior princess- more of her please!). Suitable for children aged 3+, The Princess and the Pea is a delightful show for families in York this October half term.