The Sweet Little Prince | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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The Sweet Little Prince


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THE SWEET LITTLE PRINCE, T.U.T.A. (The Utopian Theatre Asylum), at Victory Gardens Theater. Stephen Angus and Zeljko Djukic's adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exupery's The Little Prince includes most of the book's incidents while missing most of its meaning. Director Djukic may have divined that the story is a French existentialist Christology: an aviator with a broken plane wanders through the desert and is eventually saved by the title character, an otherworldly explorer and teller of tales who returns to "his star" when he dies. But the adapters seem to have confused the roles, so it's the aviator who's lying cruciform through significant stretches of the play. Moreover the show mistakenly focuses on the people the prince has encountered--the drunkard who drinks to forget his shame over drinking, the businessman who imagines he can own the stars--rather than on the prince's quest or his encounter with the aviator.

Simone Jubyna as the prince's troublesome rose and Matthew van Colton as his tamed fox deliver particularly appealing performances. And Mike Nussbaum as the prince is so thoughtful and understated that you almost don't ask why a man in his 70s is portraying a young person. Natasha Vuchurovich Djukic's costumes are lovely, but the production remains a plane without an engine.

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