The buzz on Princess and the Pea (or is that the Pea and the Princess?)

The reviews are out!

But first how’s this for some audience feedback (from trip advisor)

Was dragged along by my mum. So that granddaughter could see a proper show. Not too sure myself, remember not enjoying “pantomime” type stuff. But this show is 5 star the whole sub story line with Mr Pea is brilliant drags adults in & is a big surprise for the kids. Really glad I went along & a memory my little girl will have forever

Northern Soul said of the show

You know you’re in the presence of superior children’s entertainment when the word ‘jelly’ isn’t rhymed with ‘belly’but is paired instead with ‘Machiavelli’….. It’s a sublimely subtle addition to the fairytale recipe – one that adds a little extra spice but never stops it tasting airy and light…..a show that might be a re-run of a wrinkly old tale but, with invention and ingenuity throughout, feels gloriously fresh from the pod.

You can read the full review here . Not that it’s a review which has met universal approval – here is one of our schools tweeting ….

Your Move mentions the show in its top three Christmas shows – read more here describing the show as A charming piece of festive family theatre not to be missed.

The Guardian review is up too, *** from Lyn Gardner – a critical but balanced piece which recognises the charm, invention and lightness of touch of the overall production. And of course there is an honorary nod to our Mr Pea’s ‘winningly warm performance’. You can read the full review here, and a little more about the Princess Question on my blog here

Public Reviews said Princess and the Pea was director Nina Hajiyianni’s

most daring and ambitious [Christmas show] to date…uniformly excellent performances are given by the strong ensemble team of actors …but it is a comic performance from Graham Hicks as the larger than life pun-tastic Pea that steals the show, he may be green on stage but his performance is technicolor to the core….{designers} Victoria Saville (set) and Molly Lacey (costume) vision is strong and really lifts the show and, when lit by Phil Saunders’ stunning lighting design, really gives the production some powerful atmosphere…..a delightfully ambitious production that provides plenty for old and young to enjoy

Read the full review here . ANd there is another **** review from Orbis Journal here.

In a land of pantos, the Unity’s seasonal show has always stood apart – the theatre choosing lyrical storytelling over pratfalls and he’s-behind-yous.

Writes Catherine Jones of the Liverpool Echo

And it’s delivered another ap-pea-ling (you may as well get used to the pea puns now) production for 2015, based on a favourite fairytale….

Hajiyianni has created some striking moments of physical theatre – Cameron’s escape into the night-time forest being one.

There are delightful performances from the quartet of actors, who all had a hand in devising the piece and who perform Patrick Dineen’s (trademark) gorgeous and atmospheric whirligig waltz-style songs with panache.

And as with all Unity Christmas shows, it’s beautifully staged with set design from LIPA students Victoria Saville and Molly Lacey Davies.

Read the full review here

And here’s the British Theatre Guide:-

Under Nina Hajiyianni’s unfussy direction, the cast give committed well-choreographed performances that hold the children’s attention…Plenty for adults, Plenty for children. Plenty to celebrate in The Princess and the Pea…..

Read the full review here . And here’s what North West End had to say:

The Princess and the Pea is an appreciated departure from yuletide tropes without being any less affable, charming or engaging…..I would recommend, if you know a family member who is in need of a genial adventure, to come along and let them see this show which neither patronises nor intimidates. It is an endearing romp.

Award for first reviewer out of the hutch went to Ian D Hall of Liverpool Sound and Vision, describing the show as:-

a tale to delight and capture the very best of imagination for all who make their way to the theatre on Hope Place this December.


The Princess and the Pea joins a long list of alternative/anti panto productions that the Unity Theatre have offered the theatre goers, both young and old, in Liverpool …. exemplif[ying] the side of Christmas that is not often explored, the chance for parents and children alike to be immersed into a theatrical setting that doesn’t rely on anything but a humdinger of a story.

Read the full review here

North West End is out too, describing the show as “an endearing romp” with an esmemble that consisted of “terrifically transformative actors”

The Princess and the Pea has been lovingly crafted under the direction of Nina Hajiyianni. She and her company create a world that the children can easily identify as a traditional fairy tale while using minimal set pieces. The four-strong ensemble are instead aided with striking light transitions that saturate the space and pull the audience a little further into a family accessible sense of surrealism.

Read the full review here

Which is perhaps why ‘peamania’ is taking over Liverpool….


A picture tells a thousand words!

Oh and so does a trailer

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Mary Bale via facebook.

Have just seen the Unity Theatre Christmas show ‘The Princess and the Pea’ it was amazing! Such a magical show that is well worth going to see.

Peter Ward via facebook
Thoroughly enjoyed unity theatre’s Christmas show tonight. How do you make 75 minutes of great theatre from a story that takes three minutes to tell? Go find out by seeing this fabulous production directed by Nina Hajiyianni, with great music and songs by Patrick DIneen, and performed by a cracking ensemble of four including our very own Graham Geoffrey Hicks. Technical wizardry by Phil Saunders & team and of course congratulations to Matthew Linley for his first Christmas show as AD. Thanks to all involved for a children’s show that weaves beautifully a strong contemporary political message into the narrative…


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To start us off here’s a fun Liverpool Echo interview with our Queen of Mean,  Keddy Sutton   one half of Unity favourites Caz ‘n’ Britney.

And it turns out not only has the Unity championed the cult Caz ‘n’ Britney, but the Hope Place theatre was also where a then teenage Keddy saw her first comedy. “It was Lip Service,” she recalls. “That’s the first thing I ever saw at the Unity.“It was just a black box, and I thought – my God, that’s what I want to do!”

You can listen to Keddy talking about the show, her career and all things Pot Noodle on this Unity podcast here:-

And here is the show popping up in the Echo’s things to see this month

From Northern Life, this is Pea director Nina Hajiyianni on some of the thinking behind the show

I think it is possible to get a really good story and still deliver on audience participation, on the music, and on really big, bold visual images, all of which we do…..We know that for some people, it’s the only time they go to the theatre, so we want the experience to be really inspiring. We feel that work for young audiences should be the best kind of work that there is

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And from Stage Review here is a little more from Nina

In this fantastical new version, Unity Theatre and the inventive Action Transport Theatre create a funny, original, beautiful retelling of the much loved and familiar tale.

This one is from Lancashire Life – its an interview with our Princess, Josie Cerise

 “I play the princess, but I am not your typical Princess. I play her more as a hero. She is quite a feisty character.” The tale reflects modern society, as Josie concludes. “She has gone on a journey to seek refuge and shelter. It is a very prevalent message in the media with the echoes of modern life etched into the play.”

And if you are into competitions here a Pea flavoured special from the Guardian . Finally here is an earlier blog post of mine about some of the ideas behind the show.

Princess and the Pea (a Unity Theatre Liverpool, Action Transport co production) runs at Unity until 9 Jan when it transfers to Whitby Halls, Elsemere Port. For further info call 0151 709 4988 or visit


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