Once Upon a Time a thoroughly modern, metropolitan prince took a princess of the pen on a surprise date to see a performance so incandescently magical and life affirming – she still hasn’t come back down to earth.
As second dates go, I will never forget my trip to The Lyttleton Theatre on the South Bank in January to see The National’s Light Princess. In fact I would cross deserts to see it again and again.
When I opened my eyes there was the most exciting redhead since Rita Hayworth in Gilda – my very lovely, talented friend Rosalie Craig – a titian-haired goddess. Rosalie dazzles in a multi-layered role, acting and singing her heart out to Tori Amos’s soaringly, insouciant coming of age anthems of longing and dislocation – and all the while with the feline grace and lithe dexterity of an Olympic gymnast as she floats, somersaults and does naughty back flips as Princess Althea, a girl made weightless through sheer grief after her mother’s death. (Note Alison Jane tipped Rosalie for stardom four years ago, and directed her in this gorgeous fashion story in Mayfair with pictures by stellar fashion photographer, Mike Owen).
I don’t even like musicals! They usually send me to sleep. That’s how seriously good Rosalie Craig is. This girl shines with the heart-stopping talent and charisma of a young Julie Andrews. But then this is a very 21st century fairytale. Think Shakespeare meets rock ‘n’ roll, meets The Muskateers. It brilliantly combines theatre, music and Cirque de Soleil style wizardry to mess with your heart with a liberal dash of how did they do that stardust magic. It is good too, to know that romance, noble deeds and fairytales are still eternally in vogue in this sassy, spellbinding reworking of Romeo and Juliet for a generation hooked on Merlin, Girls and Atlantis. If I had a teenage daughter I would take her to see The Light Princess. It is a beautiful poem on female power, resilience and rebellion, and I defy anyone not to be thoroughly enraptured by it.
Later Rosalie tells me that she spent a year learning yoga and gymnastics to create the extraordinary sense of freedom, and aerial rebellion that keeps us hooked on her performance. What girl wouldn’t want to be able to float away to avoid danger or a telling off? To our delight, Princess Althea flatly refuses to come back down to earth to marry a man she doesn’t love to produce an heir for a kingdom torn apart by a grieving father and the threat of war. Then she meets a sad prince who can’t smile and you can guess the rest. It all ends happily – the princess learns to love again, war becomes peace and yes reader, I am still getting to know my own clever prince – a man who now has his very own Scheherazade to tell him marvellous stories. Isn’t he lucky?!
The Light Princess has finished its run on the South Bank. Let’s hope for a West End or Broadway transfer for Rosalie. She deserves it and I can’t wait to see what she will do next. Now for some exciting news! Rosalie will star in an Ethical Hedonist Spring Summer fashion editorial in March!
Copyright Alison Jane Reid All Right Reserved Fashion Story By Alison Jane Reid / Mike Owen/www.eyevine.com – All Rights Reserved.