Following the adventure of Princess Destiny as she struggles to fulfill the prophecy laid out by a gang of completely stoned goblins, the Prophecy of Destiny is an action-packed and witty take on the classic quest story.
“The play is very well-structured, with groundwork laid in the first scenes for jokes that come to fruition at the very end”
Sophie Brawn’s impressive script sets up a challenge for director Val Gladkova and the ensemble – and they more than rise to it. The story is ambitious and complex, with plenty of subplots and entertaining characters. Highlights included cloning shenanigans, a reluctant fairy godmother, the stirrings of a proletarian revolution and a self-conscious but highly enthusiastic executioner. One of Brawn’s biggest achievements for her is writing a show with a hefty run time (about 2 and a half hours) that keeps its audience engaged throughout. The play is very well-structured, with groundwork laid in the first scenes for jokes and twists that only come to fruition at the very end.
Overall, the show’s comedy landed well with the audience. More than a handful of one-liners got decent laughs from the crowd. I would generally expect Covid jokes to fall slightly flat at this point, but here I can honestly say that they worked. It’s clear that Brawn knows her de ella’s audience—there are even jokes in this show for Latin fans (I’m actually a bit embarrassed by how much I laughed at some of them).
For such a silly and fun show, the story’s political edge was perceptive. It made a point that feels pertinent to us in the real world: as the story unfolds, the characters are forced to confront the idea that not all problems can be solved by a single hero, but that the systemic problems facing the kingdom are far more complex than individuals can hope to deal with. Sometimes what you need is a functioning healthcare system and labor rights legislation, and slaying an evil wizard won’t quite cut it.
A show is more than its script, of course, and it is here that the work of Val Gladkova, musical director and pianist James Rosser and the production team comes in. They adapted the work deftly, carrying across the script’s humor and political message. There were some standout performances: Lola López played the talking cat with grace and ease; her attention from her to movement from her really added an extra dimension to the character. I was particularly impressed by Iona Boyer’s singing of her and the energy and bravado she brought to the role of Fred 2 (the clone of the adventure-hungry Prince Fred).
Despite the whole cast shining at various points, the show did feel like it could have done with just a little bit more polishing to keep its pace up. I think it was also held back by its venue. A very simple lighting rig limited the production team’s choices to a considerable extent: almost every scene transition was carried out using blackouts. Perhaps some more creative choices could have been made to bring to life the fantasy world.
all in all, the Prophecy of Destiny packed a punch despite what it lacked production-wise. They rolled with their lack of resources in a way that felt befitting of a pantomime, poking fun at the absurdity of a carriage that was simply a piece of cardboard with the word “carriage” written on it. In fact, I think they could have gone further and fully committed to the panto genre – the occasional breaking of the fourth wall felt slightly out of place, and it would have been nice to see more audience interaction throughout.
“Sometimes what you need is a functioning healthcare system, and slaying an evil wizard won’t quite cut it”
I honestly had a great time watching the production. The story has everything it needs to be a truly fantastic evening’s entertainment – it just needs a bit of polishing. I would recommend going along to see it, especially since the money will go to the homeless charity Wintercomfort. If you’re looking for super serious high-art, it may not be up your street, but if you’re after a really fun couple of hours, The Prophecy of Destiny is well worth the time.
The Prophecy of Destiny is on at Wolfson Hall, Churchill College at 7pm on the 4th and 5th of February.
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