Yikes. Critics did not care for The Little Prince at all. The Parisian transfer that just opened at the Broadway Theatre was panned for pretty much every element; the worst offenders: boring narration by Chris Mouron, a pre-recorded atmospheric score, outright ugly costumes, lackluster projections and uninspired acrobatics and dance. Not engaging enough for children or enough of a wow for adults, performances reportedly had folks leaving in droves at intermission. If you can hang on, the second half is better than the first (with the best bit coming during curtain call); but the consensus is the two-hour runtime of this production is roughly two hours too long…
New York Times Review of The Little Prince
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s “The Little Prince,” a megaselling classic of children’s literature first published in 1943, begins with a crash landing. Now, an adaptation of the beloved tale has made a similarly unfortunate entrance on Broadway. The show is trying to juggle theater, dancical, circus, cabaret and everybody’s favorite: philosophical musing. It’s a mix that Cirque du Soleil, especially with the shows directed by the mastermind Franco Dragone, has fine-tuned into cohesive spectacles. And the company’s achievements seem even more remarkable in comparison to this underwhelming mishmash, which opened on Monday at the Broadway Theater. This “Little Prince” is an uncomfortable hybrid…[and] a long day’s journey into whimsy. … A central issue is the leaden onstage narration by Chris Mouron, who also wrote the adaptation and is a co-director with the choreographer Anne Tournié. … Instead the show lumbers from one scene to the next, with a few aerial feats and a too-brief apparition by the ring-like apparatus known as a Cyr wheel drowned out by too much bland dancing and way too much of Terry Truck’s recorded neo-Classical, New Agey score.
Time Out Review of The Little Prince
Pity the poor Little Prince. Having left his tiny asteroid planet to explore the galaxy, the wide-eyed wanderer has landed with a very loud splat on the stage of the Broadway Theatre. … In these troubled times, it is heartening to see so many people agree about at least one thing: The Little Prince is quite confoundingly bad. Devolved from Antoine de St. Exupéry’s classic 1943 children’s book, The Little Prince is not—as its cannily edited videos may have led audiences to expect—a musical or a spectacular cirque piece, though it has several unimpressive musical and circus elements. It is a clunky extended contemporary-dance piece, choreographed and codirected by Anne Tournié, with skeletal narration provided in heavily accented French by librettist and codirector Chris Mouron. Costumed to resemble some kind of formal oompa loompa, Mouron delivers all the dialogue as well, with no differentiation among the characters. To anyone who hasn’t read St. Exupéry’s version, the show’s barely connected adventures will be confusing at best. They are even less comprehensible to anyone who has read the original, since this adaptation misses both the charm and the point of the book to a degree that is almost perverse. … Yet if this Little Prince focuses on the eye over the heart, it also short-changes the eye. The action unfolds in front of garish and sloppy-looking video backgrounds, and the costumes may well be—truly—the ugliest I have ever seen in a Broadway show. … The talented dancers deserve better, and so does the audience. Despite a last-ditch downpour of red hearts and (finally!) some decent aerialism at the finale, the question lingers: What the hell was that? The answer is unclear. The Little Prince is neither here nor there nor anywhere, really. It’s lost in space, and a waste of time.
New York Post Review of The Little Prince
“The Little Prince,” based on the old French novel, owes New York audiences a pleading désolé. Or, perhaps, NYC should apologize for booking it. The woeful touring dance show, which opened Monday night at the Broadway Theatre, does not belong whatsoever where it’s currently situated. That is on Broadway, the pinnacle of American musical theater, and 13 blocks away from the New York City Ballet, one of the world’s leading dance companies. In music, dance, design and storytelling, “Little” comes up short. The set, such as it is, is comprised of lazy, textureless projections that bring to mind the 1993 video game “Myst” and the planetary opening sequence of “3rd Rock From the Sun.” When paired with the trippy pre-recorded music (there is no live orchestra), we could be watching a new age cult’s introductory videotape. That said, nothing over the nearly two hours is as compelling as your average brainwashing cult leader. … There are talented dancers in the 16-person cast, which hails from France, but the most impressive pieces — featuring aerial work — get shrugs from NYC theatergoers who are accustomed to regular visits from Cirque du Soleil. … Nor is the book’s meaning or profundity properly explored. We leave not knowing how to feel about “The Little Prince,” other than that it is French and vaguely whimsical; its messages and life lessons wiped away by a production more content with being wannabe ASMR than an embraceable tale. … The lack of a thrilling adventure, the middling spectacle, canned songs and a corny CGI landscape make for a “Prince” that’s much too petit for Broadway.
NY Daily News Review of The Little Prince
In his allegorical 1943 French novella “The Little Prince,” Antoine de Saint-Exupéry wrote, “One sees clearly only with the heart.” So why, one might reasonably ask, is the new family-oriented show at the Broadway Theatre such a cold and removed affair? This is an especially bizarre experience because this stage adaptation of “The Little Prince,” which opened Monday night, employs circus artists, especially aerial strap specialists and gymnasts, and draws from a palette many people would associate with the Cirque du Soleil. … Circus people invariably feed on an audience. They always know how to draw applause. They know how to ask people, especially children, to see with their heart. They’re fundamentally reactive artists, always present and conscious of what the audience sees and feels. But despite a seemingly willing crowd in the seats at Saturday’s performance, no one knew when or if to applaud. Reaction was not sought, connection was rarely made and the entire experience was more soporific than emotionally revealing. … And you know how not to signal that this is a night dedicated to making imaginative leaps as a tool toward tolerance and better global understanding? Have a score by Terry Truck that cannot break out from soundscape and offer up a massive projection screen the size of the proscenium that swallows pretty much all of the human artists operating at the front. … The screen just lives there, swallowing up humanity, the prince, the planets and this entire show.