Having attended the first performance of this delightful operetta (written by teachers for a Class 6 at Wynstones Steiner School) I made a point of not missing the next one and of telling friends they simply must come. This was an outstanding piece of work performed by Class 6 with their teacher, Marika, with the support of ever-faithful Sandi at the piano. Each performance had a completely different cast.
The story, very briefly, concerns Francesco, the young, high-living son of a cloth merchant who is not satisfied with his lot in life, wishing, quite simply, to be a Prince! His friends recognise his leadership qualities and encourage him to take up arms and win fame and fortune through fighting. Francesco, through various experiences, comes to appreciate nature and his fellow creatures; he begins to talk to the birds and the beasts and compassion is born in his heart. He decides to dedicate his life to helping the poor and the sick. His friends are won over and Francesco does indeed become a leader, a ‘Prince’, famous throughout much of the world and over hundreds of years – as Saint Francis of Assisi.
There is so much to praise: the clear singing voices of soloists and choirs; the full participation of every member of the class at every moment of the performance, in this way giving support to each other; the full-hearted gestures; remembering to sing forwards when they were actually ‘talking’ to someone at their side; the ease with which the children slipped from one role into another in the two word-perfect performances; and most of all the complete and vigorous enjoyment of the whole group which flowed over to us - the enchanted audience.
One can easily guess how much hard work went into the mastering of this operetta, to the making of costumes, the building of new stage blocks, the painting of screens and finally to the lighting and serving of excellent refreshments ...and much more.
So, on behalf of the whole enchanted audience, a very big ‘Thank You!’ indeed.
Review by Christine and Keir Polyblank