20 years ago, Casson and Blackmore took Oscar Wilde’s well-loved tale of sacrifice, and created
‘a little pool of magic. The music has variety and charm, the concept is simple and relevant.’ Lynne Patrick, Derbyshire Times
Originally work-shopped at Buxton as part of their first Quest for new musicals, the show, with a cast of 4 and a small band, was developed in Bristol’s QEH theatre, and subsequently premiered at the Old Fire Station in Oxford the following spring.
‘It makes a fine evening: no sex, no violence, no reality.’
Andrew St George, Financial Times
Over the next year the show toured nationwide
‘The power of imagination was fully exploited by the company which presented a novel adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s enchanting tale.’ Darlington & Stockton Times
Coming to rest at London’s Bridewell Theatre in Christmas 1994.
‘Casson’s witty lyrics and soaring melodies transform a simple morality fable into a poignant meditation on the nature of poverty, generosity and the illusion of theatre.’ The Big Issue
Since then, The Happy Prince has been presented twice in New York - at the Manhattan Theatre Club, with an English cast including Sheridan Smith, and at the York Theatre with an American cast, as part of their developmental reading series, whilst some of the songs were recorded for BBC Radio 2’s NIGHTRIDE by Casson’s jazz trio Premier Cru.
The Happy Prince is the story of a statue prince and a migrating swallow who together redeem the poverty of a city. In our musical, it is also the story of how that story is told. All the other parts are played by a magical and mysterious storyteller, Chorus, and assistant, Pandora. Pandora craves Chorus’ power, as a child wants to usurp a parent, or an assistant surpass the master magician. Throughout the drama Pandora tries to take on more than she can cope with. And Chorus must mould her to her will.
Each of the players embark on an adventure in undertaking their role in the play. In our original production they were actors seeking to distinguish themselves. In this they are young people seeking to identify themselves. Stories are how we grow and Chorus is the teacher with lessons still to learn. His pupils too are seeking purpose, companionship and love.
ANDREW BOLTON AS CHORUS
SUE CASSON AS PANDORA
VALERIE WEYLAND AS THE SWALLOW.