Recently, I had the pleasure of attending Olga Jegunova and Matthew Crampton’s immersive retelling of ‘The Little Prince’ at King’s Place in London. An interplay of music and prose, punctuated by evocative objects – it was fascinating and moving, as one expects the story to be. It is a nostalgic childhood memory reading Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s novella, never able to hold back the bitter-sweet tears as it comes to an end.
The performance was advertised as ‘spell-binding’, and that it was. The duo were meant to work together, building a conversation through spoken word and sound, which is captivating for adults. But even more so, the element of play, and Matthew’s shifts in character – hiding away, and then reappearing as the cynical man on another planet, enthralled every child in the audience. This is certainly a family event that takes you on a rollercoaster of emotions, allowing you to experience all the elements of fairy tale and drama in only an hour (which flies by).
Olga’s stunning ever-hanging accompaniment keeps the piece alive – a breathing, evolving performance. I hope this is one day available as an audio bedtime story, not to mention if it’s read in collaboration (insert Olga’s soothing podcast voice here). There are little more words to reflect on the masterful interplay between the scripted and unscripted, except a recommendation to book your tickets for the next available date (watch this space).
“The performance was riveting, utterly involving, we were in the hands of a man who knows by instinct, observation, taste and training exactly the gestures, nuances, stresses and emphases to lead out all the energy and reasoning of a text. And your collaboration with the talented Olga is a delight. Your careful planning and rehearsal ensured a constant complementing of your way of telling this magic tale. The brief hints of musical phrases we know added to the idea of a collective false memory, the stuff of myth. It was, all in all, a marvel, a transformation, and a deep joy. Well done!”
“Matthew Crampton and Olga Jegunova are a pitch-perfect match to bring The Little Prince to life on stage. Matthew’s imaginative story-telling and the piano were magical at King’s Place. Special shout-out to the minimal but immersive stage lighting.”
“A beautiful thoughtful interpretation that deeply touched me. Music pieces powerfully accentuate the narrative sometimes offering contrast, sometimes reinforcement. The excellent performance of Olga and Mathew is full of finely realised detail. Their treatment of the Little Prince preserves the novella’s enchantment yet adds an extra layer of vividness.”