Norwich Puppet Theatre, Norwich
6 August 2014, 2.30pm
Director Rene Baker’s story of The Frog and the Princess at the Norwich Puppet Theatre is a wonderful retelling of the Brothers Grimm’ story with a much better message than all that frogs-turning-into-a-handsome-prince-after-a-kiss nonsense.
Apparently, you can also love a frog. Who knew?!
Aya Nakamura and Gilbert Taylor are two skilled performers who deftly tell the story of a slightly spoiled princess who meets a frog when she goes looking for a ball that has gone over the palace walls.
After being nice to him just to get her ball back, she then deems him unworthy of being her friend because he is a frog.
But the frog persists until the delicious moment you realise he is going to stay a frog and the princess will have to like it or lump it.
There are reminders from the start that the pair are actually similar and as they embrace these differences, what was once a traditional tale about keeping your promises moves up a gear into being about prejudice and tolerance.
It’s all told on a simple wooden plinth revolving set on which different scenes and spaces are effectively created with the help of minimal but effective props, sound effects and music.
The expertly worked puppets make you forget they are being “worked” and all in all the gentle but charming production is very relaxing to watch.
Filled with both humour and poignancy, it’s a great message for youngsters not to judge by appearances and if you just scratch the surface you may find you are not so different after all.
I liked it when the princess kissed the frog because I now know frogs don’t have to turn into princes if they don’t want to!
Running time: 50 minutes with no interval.
Age range: 4+