Live On Stage Stage

The Book Of Dust – La Belle Sauvage

La Belle Sauvage
09 December 2021
Bridge Theatre
2.5 out of 5.0 stars

I have to admit, I haven’t read the Book Of Dust series, but I still wanted to check out the new play at the Bridge Theatre. So keep in mind that this review is for the play alone, without any prior knowledge of the material or presentation of the books. I really loved the stage design, that combines gorgeous picture book graphics with simple but effective stage dressing and props.

Projections are utilized to animate the backdrop, but kept in a wood print aesthetic, it’s really quite beautiful. While plot will always need to be simplified and shortened to suit a stage play, I found this one to be a little too simplified. The basic premise of this fantasy world is quickly gleaned from the first few scenes, but every plot point seemed so obvious and predictable, it felt very much like a children’s book with some more adult themes added.

The foreshadowing in the storytelling is so plainly spelled out, nothing comes as a surprise or plot twist. Without knowing this story, I could predict the plot and ending within the first 15 minutes, which did make it feel a bit plain and boring.

The acting and pacing were great, it’s simply the plot itself and how it is presented that I found to be lacking. Perhaps, for fans of the source material, this would be an enjoyable addition to the fantasy world of the books, but I’m not sure if it holds up on its own. It wasn’t bad, just a bit too formulaic and predictable in how it approached a story that could have been more.

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