What do a silver lining, dragon tears & a floating princess have in common?

Magical-ness, of course. And in the last five days, Moontrug has stumbled into ALL of these things. The silver lining rainbow cloud came first, on a drive down to the New Forest. Four-leafed clovers and horseshoes may be symbols of luck – but silver lining rainbow clouds? Symbols of pure magic, surely.

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The next bundle of magical-ness was found tucked inside a L’ETO cafe in London. Printed on the menu was an item so rare and mystical it’s a wonder there aren’t crowds queuing outside… DRAGON TEARS. Boom. And I gobbled them up – he he he.

Dragon tears

But perhaps the most breathtakingly magical thing of all was the floating princess found by a shimmering lake inside an enchanted forest. Where, you ask? Inside the National Theatre, at the Southbank, in London…

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Based on a Scottish fairytale by George MacDonald, The Light Princess brings together iconic singer-songwriter Tori Amos with playwright Samuel Adamson and director Marianne Elliott (Curious Incident, War Horse) in a spectacularly dark fairytale about grief, rebellion and the power of love…  Once upon a time, in opposing kingdoms lived a princess and a prince who had both lost their mothers. Princess Althea of Lagobel, unable to cry, becomes so light with grief that she floats. Embarrassed by his daughter, Althea’s father locks her away. Meanwhile, Prince Digby of Sealand becomes so heavy-hearted after his mother dies that he can’t smile, and so his father forces him to train as a warrior. But when the kingdoms of Lagobel and Sealand declare war on each other, Althea is forced out of hiding and down to ground. In defiance of her father, she runs away – only to encounter the solemn prince on contested land. Beside a magical lake, the warring heirs begin a passionate and illicit affair. But for Althea to find real love, she must first confront the world’s darkness and face her own deepest fears.

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The Light Princess is up there with the most magical stage productions in London, as brilliant as Matilda in many ways. Because although Althea is a princess, although she floats and lives in a magical kingdom called Lagobel, she’s real. She’s not an old-fashioned fairytale princess – she’s a girl with attitude, with faults and weaknesses just like the rest of us. She may be a strong-natured red head (just like Merida from Brave or Princess Fiona from Shrek), who does fighting, answering back, giggling, snogging – and lots of floating – but she’s also a damaged child, at times selfish and uncaring, at times vulnerable and lonely. One minute we’re laughing at her ability to be carefree and cheeky; the next minute our eyes are misting up as we learn the heart-breaking truth of how her father has stopped her floating. And we know it’ll take more than carefree cheekiness for Althea to feel properly alive again.

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Not only is the play brimming with wonderful characters – a courageous orphan, Zephrus the bird, a cheeky mouse and a handsome prince – the set is also incredible. A glittering lake with gliding flamingoes, swaying lilies (and naughty frogs), a forest of giant pink sycamore leaves, a library wall scaled by a floating princess, a car that races through the depths of a dragon-ridden forest… Don’t close your eyes – don’t even blink – you won’t want to miss a thing. And don’t forget to buy a programme when you’re there: adults, it’s got a fascinating article on gender discrimination by Tanya Bryon (British psychologist, writer and media personality) and kids, all theatre programmes smell AMAZING. It’s worth it just for that. The Light Princess is on until February 2nd, it’s suitable for 10+ years, it’s showing at The National, Southbank, and you can buy tickets here.  Have a Moontruggishly Magical New Year!

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