REVIEW (reprinted from Animations
Online magazine - Autumn 2011 edition)
The Frog Prince and Other Peculiar Tales from 'Terry Jones Fairy
The Lowry, Salford
16 July 2011
Reviewed by George Harris
That trusted old Brothers Grimm story, 'The Frog Prince', is an
ideal trigger for the seasoned visual theatre company Dynamic New
Animation to get their all-round creative talents firing.
Nearly all the myriad versions of the tale (and it has variants
all across Europe and the Far East plus, of course, Disney’s
classic animation and the Muppets' unique take) revolve around the
notion of a magical transformation – a specialism for the
now Anglo-Australian DNA. Anyone who has seen the company’s
work will know that they are masters at sparking life into the simplest
of everyday objects and transforming them into wonderfully enchanting
and engaging characters.
Not surprisingly, then, in their hands and those of the talented
performer Liz Fitzgerald Taylor, The Frog Prince gets the full DNA
treatment. Masks, shadows, lighting, puppetry, high energy physical
performance, plus an original composed soundtrack that fits the
eccentric narrative like a glove all make for a show that the youngsters
at The Lowry’s Studio lapped up enthusiastically.
Indeed, at its conclusion, the show encourages kids to pitch in
with a clever participatory examination of the themes within the
show and you know that the whole piece has been a success when there’s
a massed clamour for junior philosophy.
Much of the feelgood factor is, quite simply, down to a winning
performance from Ms Fitzgerald Taylor. Even though she’s got
plenty on her plate with a show that demands theatrical versatility
and not a little energy, she cleverly balances the need to assume
character and yet remain closely in contact with her young audience.
The show would have benefited, though, from a few more well-chosen
breathing spaces, quieter moments to balance the high-octane delivery
and allow the narrative to resonate better. There is a beautiful
masked scene which performs this important function, but a few others
would not have gone amiss.
Still, a lively young audience hardly seemed to care as they all
hugely enjoyed this journey of transformation with DNA. The Frog
Prince is a crowd pleaser which charmingly wins young hearts and