(Peter Crawley article appeared in the Irish Times, 4/12.)
The Birthday of the Infanta
Bewley’s Café Theatre, Dublin
Oscar Wilde’s 1892 fairytale, The Birthday of the Infanta , is a curious thing – an escapist story about the inescapable. It luxuriates in regal fantasy and exotic depiction, trailing a series of bullfighters, zither-playing Egyptians and African snake-charmers through a birthday party at the Spanish court. Yet at its centre is a 12-year-old princess who can only play with children of her own rank – which means no one at all – and a naïve dwarf blissfully unaware that his appearance earns him courtly attention but imprisons him in its disdain.
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