FRINGE 2015: The Princess and the Glass Piano – Channel 9 Studios: The Chapel of Love – 3.5K

A princess appears and makes the unusual statement that inside her small frame, there is a glass piano. How it got there, she’s not exactly sure, but it has been there for a while and appears to be permanent. Aside from this minor affliction, she seems a bright, intelligent and sensible girl; though perhaps she is a little too attached to the toys of her youth and is rather fond of wine.

This is obviously a psychological manifestation of some inner anxiety; it is obvious to her mother, it is obvious to her doctors. Yet Alexandra maintains that there is indeed a glass piano inside of her – regardless of its appearance conveniently coinciding with her father’s abdication and her familial breakdown – and at times you may believe her.

Based on a 19th century Bavarian princess, writer/director Sharmini Kumar has crafted a peculiarly appealing tale of a girl trying desperately to shape her own destiny; and of the ludicrous manner in which the subconscious may attempt to help out with this. She has woven little details of the true story throughout, which help to flesh out the character and, while she is a little too haughty to truly like, enable you to sympathise with her.

Elise Kumar’s performance of Alexandra is measured and enjoyable. Her physical command of the character is excellent, maintaining the rigid stance one might adopt, should one have a glass piano inside oneself, throughout the hour. In her flowing white dress and tight curls, it is like watching a doll tell a story.

Simple lighting cues help to indicate when Alexandra is impersonating other characters within her tale, and their appearance keeps the momentum of the story rolling along. Good attention to detail has been paid in terms of costuming, however some of the props, particularly the stuffed animals, are distractingly modern.

While the lofty attitude of Alexandra means that you are unlikely to empathise too deeply with the character, or become emotionally invested in her plight, the tale of her affliction is interesting and this presentation of it is satisfying.

Kryztoff Rating: 3.5K

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