The cast of The Fruity Prince find themselves facing an uphill struggle – they’ve got, to be blunt, a terrible time slot, in a difficult to find venue.
The slot is at 11.05 pm, the venue is The Vault at Paradise Green – the lowest floor of cellars underneath Augustine’s Church on the George IV Bridge.
They also, and I think this is fair, have an obviously very restricted budget – although they are working as hard as they can within those restrictions.
The show is a piece of theatre with songs – modern, recognisable pop tunes, with lyrics re-written to fit the narrative.
The story is a historical Alternate Universe, which may have some truth to it. Elizabeth I was, infamously, ‘The Virgin Queen’. But how true was this in reality? And what if Good Queen Bess had had a son?
The premise here is that Liz 1 is far from ‘virginal’, and has a son who has been raised by one of her Ladies in Waiting. Henry is a lovely young man, and very, very gay.
Henry manages to worm his way into William Shakespeare’s theatre company – much to Elizabeth’s despair. She’s about to acknowledge Henry as her son, and thus make him heir to the throne.
Whilst at The Globe, Henry falls in love – with another man, an issue that becomes a problem when Henry’s mum wants him to marry and further secure the Tudor line of succession.
The exiled lover returns at the last moment, rescues Henry from his sham marriage, and they run away together. It’s a happy ending for them, and the history we’re familiar with for Elizabeth, with no heir to succeed her.
Don’t look at any of this too closely – it doesn’t stand up to a great deal of scrutiny.
It is all, however, gloriously silly fun. In particular, the use of Madonna’s ‘Vogue’ is amazing. The fun the cast is having is infectious, and they carry the audience with them.
There is a very strong story here, but the script itself could use a further revision – replacing some occasionally strong language with plot-advancing lines would serve the effort better.
It is an incredibly brave move to bring a new show to the Fringe, and with development, this could return next year much stronger or could go on to a tour of Studio spaces. I look forward to seeing future versions of this funny, witty, bawdy story.
The Fruity Prince continues at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe until 27th August
Featured Image Credit: Edinburgh Fringe Festival / The Stage