Tori Amos’s Musical Premieres

10.23.2013

By Matthew Breen

After five years of writing and planning, and one postponement, 'The Light Princess' has opened to good reviews at the National Theatre in London

The Light Princess is a collaboration by Tori Amos and dramatist Samuel Adamson, and is adapted from a Victorian-era fairy tale, and it’s getting raves from reviewers. The show has been monumentally technically challenging, and even National Theater chief Nicholas Hytner warned her. Amos says, “He told me it would be a glorious nightmare – and it has been.”

The story is of a grief-stricken princess whose sadness makes her float up into the air. Because the original story is Victorian, Amos and Adamson’s interpretation made the kind of changes that you’d expect Amos to make about a story written about a young woman, by a man, over a century ago. "There were things in the story that did not resonate with me at all," says Amos in Metro. "I’ve never met a girl like the character in it and I thought, nah, no teenage girl will relate to this. She’s a man’s view of how a girl is. Sam [Adamson] and I always wanted a character who was truculent and passionate and had a point of view. It took us time to find her."

The score is built around the instrument most associated with Amos, the piano. She was inspired by “the early 20th-century school of Debussy, Ravel, Bartók –and Schubert, of course, from the 19th century. He was the greatest songwriter who ever lived. I don’t know if most people would know that. I don’t know if my daughter, for example, would know that – she’s a Britney bitch but there you go.”

In a review, Mark Shenton of London Theatre wrote, “There are times when it feels Wicked-like (or rather Wicked-lite), as if it has been rewritten as a new Into the Woods fairy story. While Elphaba in Wicked famously sings of defying gravity, Althea desperately wants to experience its effects.”

Andrzej Lukowski of Time Out wrote, “The National Theatre's much-hyped new musical is a visual and technical tour de force with a title performance from Rosalie Craig that'll blow your mind and melt your heart.”

Simon Edge from Daily Express wrote, “What makes it so visually original is that Althea, in a staggeringly good performance by Rosalie Craig, floats above the stage for a good three-quarters of the show. You might assume she's on a trapeze, and she is indeed wired up for some of it. But for the most part she is manipulated as a human puppet by other members of the cast, in a show of amazing physical strength on her part as well as theirs. At one point she has to sing upside down – ‘Yes, I'm very versatile!’ - and it never looks anything less than graceful.”

Tickets are available currently booking through January 9, 2014, at The National Theatre.

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