“The Princess and the Pea”: A Fairytale Political Drama

“Three Plot Twists”: Sarah J. Mann as Prince Percy, James Sims as Mick Motley, Matthew Woods as Captain Brightside; photo credit: imaginary beasts.

Presented by imaginary beasts
Written by The Ensemble
Based on the fairytale by Hans Christian Andersen
Directed by Matthew Woods

January 14 – February 4, 2017
Plaza Black Box Theatre at the Boston Center for the Arts
539 Tremont Street, Boston MA
Boston, MA 02116
imaginary beasts on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Boston, MA) In this uncertain and tumultuous political climate, the arts are a fantastic medium to fight back. While this often applies to theatre, I must admit I was surprised that imaginary beasts’ production of The Princess and the Pea used the kid’s show to make a mockery of our current state of affairs. But it was effing brilliant.

In imaginary beasts’s version, The Princess and the Pea tells the story of ruthless leader Queen Clump (Molly Kimmerling), who will stop at nothing to ensure she is not usurped. This proves a difficult feat when her son, Prince Percy (Sarah J. Mann), meets and falls in love with the shipwrecked Posy (Rebecca Lehrhoff-Joy), whose origin is shrouded in mystery. Behind the scenes, the evil Demon King Cataract (Joey C. Pelletier) wishes to claim the throne for himself, but will the actions of Snap (Sarah Gazdowicz), Mop (Tom Rash), Moe (William Schuller), and Mottle (Amy Meyer), a group of misfits, be enough to thwart the dastardly plots, or will the kingdom fall into tyrannical darkness?

As with any imaginary beasts show, The Princess and the Pea requires a great deal of audience participation. While kid’s shows tend to win over their audiences early on, the group of kids (and adults) that were watching the show enthusiastically berated the bad guys and cheered on the good ones. This was a true testament to the pure exuberance from every single cast member throughout the show. It was such a treat to see the actors on stage invested in telling this story, and the cast did a great job of highlighting the humor in each of their characters while still keeping the balance of an ensemble performance.

Sitting through The Princess and the Pea, I also realized that while it pulls off the guise of a children’s show, between both Cotton Talbot-Minkin’s sophisticated and chic costume design and Matthew Wood’s colorful set design, the show really works to please its adult audience. Throughout the performance, the adults were the ones consistently laughing at each innuendo, and as the only twentysomethings in the audience, my guest and I arguably had the most fun watching the show. Full of sharp humor that beautifully targets President (rhymes with Clump), The Princess and the Pea deserves the attention of any adult who enjoys and feels invested in theatre, and anyone who understands that the arts matter.

This show is both clever, relevant, and a serious riot. imaginary beasts’ The Princess and the Pea may be based on a children’s fairytale, but its story is a marvelous treat for adults who give a damn about theatre and what it means to be an artist.

The Princess and the Pea runs for 2 hours with one intermission. To purchase tickets, click here.

Queen’s Note:
we elected a thin skinned bigot to the office of the President dead set on turning our “democracy” into a fascist, totalitarian oligarchy dominated by the 1%. His plan to slash the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for Humanities is HERE. Trump is a monster. His policies, when he names them, are destructive. His narcissistic behavior is more so. Fight him. And, for the love of all that’s sacred, keep creating. If you need help, ask for it. Our existence is our resistance. May the force be with you. – KD

Sign the petition to protect the National Endowment HERE.

#blacklivesmatter #translivesmatter #brownlivesmatter #yellowlivesmatter #lgbtqialivesmatter #immigrantlivesmatter #muslimlivesmatter #disabledlivesmatter #theatreartsmatter #NODAPL

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