June 25 – July 6, 2019
La Mama Theatre
January 18- 29, 2017
Director: Stephen Nicolazzo
Set and Costume Design: Eugyeene Teh
Lighting Design: Katie Sfetkidis
Sound Design: Daniel Nixon
Producer: Jo Porter
Stage Manager: Jacinta Anderson
Assistant Director: Paul Blenheim
Assistant Stage Manager:
Design Assistant: James Lew
Janine Watson and
Presented by La Mama, Little Ones Theatre and Midsumma Festival
Little Ones Theatre, purveyors of high camp, take on Oscar Wilde’s darkly romantic fairytale.
An adults-only parable of a selfless swallow and a golden statue reveals the betrayal inherent in perceptions of gender, beauty, sex, and class.
“As he is no longer beautiful, he is no longer useful.”
Memorialised in living death as a golden statue, a happy prince convinces a swallow to deliver jewels to the poor until, eventually, each of their hearts is broken.
Little Ones Theatre transposes this moral and social allegory of Victorian oppression into the world of contemporary homosexual iconography.
The Happy Prince played to a sold out season at La Mama as part of the 2017 Midsumma Festival and added several shows due to high demand. It was critically acclaimed by critics and audiences alike and marked a new direction for Little Ones Theatre.
The Happy Prince received 5 Green Room Award nominations in 2018 including: Best Production, Best Director (Stephen Nicolazzo), Best Set and Costume Design (Eugyeene Teh), Best Lighting Design (Katie Sfetkidis) and Best Sound Design (Daniel Nixon). It won the Green Room Award for Best Director and Best Set and Costume Design.
Featured in: The Age’s Best of Melbourne Theatre 2017, My Melbourne Arts Top 10- Best Shows of 2017, and Sometimes Melbourne’s What Melbourne Loved yearly round up.
★★★★½ “A ‘flawless little jewel of theatre’. Little Ones Theatre has both roles played by women. And its version hovers, with exquisite delicacy, between the soul of the fairytale and the body and breath of a lesbian love story. As with the conception and Stephen Nicolazzo’s direction, the performances are wonderfully poised and labile. They give a full measure of dignity to the story, yet draw out undertones of playfulness and sensuality, with a hint of the macabre.”
Cameron Woodhead, The Age.
★★★★1/2 “This is Wilde, respected and adored” Judith Greenaway, Judith Greenaway, Reviews By Judith
★★★★ “Tremendous, unpretentious work. It’s a love that should never work – it’s a statue and a swallow, a queer connection in a world that upholds old traditions and suffers those who don’t conform – but it’s a love that transcends possibility. This is high romance with a sharp, knowing edge. And when the statue sheds her golden dress, you might cry from the loveliness, and sadness, of a love that gives everything to the world but still can’t survive within it. Watson and Davies are enchanting and enchanted by each other: Davies is witty and biting and bold; Watson is grave and soulful and strong. When they first regard each other – just for a moment – the world stops spinning. This isn’t a happy story, but it’s a gorgeous one, one that has some hope for us.” Cassie Tongue, Time Out.
★★★★ “The Happy Prince is an achingly lovely hour of theatre.” Jason Blake, Audrey Journal
★★★★ “The shadows, shapes and illusions of the Stables stage is the perfect space for this wistful and occasionally macabre tale… It’s made memorable by Janine Watson’s cerebral stillness and tangible depth, while the contrasting bright energy of twirling, soaring Catherine Davies is exhilarating.” Diana Simmonds, Stage Noise
“Detailed, sumptuous, and authentically sensuous. Nothing is accidental. Nothing is incidental. Even the quietly stuttering smoke machine sounds timid and mournful. And, thanks to the performances, we are made one with what we see”
Chris Boyd, The Australian
“Extraordinary staging. Poetic, with a sublime beauty that transcends all manner of convention, The Happy Prince speaks its truth with remarkable clarity, to deliver an hour of theatre that is as moving an experience as any fairy tale could wish to be.”
Suzy Wrong, Suzy Goes See.
“Little Ones Theatre have expertly created a powerfully affecting and layered story of deep affection and sacrifice that will linger in your mind long after the final scene.”
Myron My, Theatre Press
“Captivating…under Stephen Nicolazzo’s direction the actors give restrained, elegant performances that alternately make you laugh and break your heart. We are lucky to have a company like Little Ones Theatre in Melbourne”
Kate Purvis, Aussie Theatre
“Little Ones Theatre have done that deft thing of honouring the source material while making it utterly their own to the point where you’d be forgiven for thinking it was always theirs. While the play’s final lament is devastating, there’s also hope in how it reaffirms that in the face of cynicism and a world where so many people struggle to have compassion or empathy for others that we really have no choice but to love fiercely, even if our hearts get broken.”
David Collins, Arts Review
“An entrancing, resonant, contemporary interpretation of Wilde’s deeply moving work. It could almost be a film – with perfectly set up frame following perfect frame. Nicolazzo is, if there is such a thing, a Theatre Auteur. “
Suzanne Sandow, Stage Whispers
“A delightfully exquisite and heart-squeezing piece of theatre that’s ready to go to festivals all over the world.”
Anne-Marie Peard, Sometimes Melbourne
“Thank you Little Ones Theatre for another remarkable production. The Happy Prince is rich, beautiful, thoughtful, sincere and, at just the right moments, silly and sad in equal measure.”
Richard Watts, Triple RRR