Antoine Marie Jean-Baptiste Roger, comte de Saint Exupéry is (unfortunately, perhaps) best known in these islands as the author of The Little Prince, a moral fable for children.
It vastly overshadows his other literary works and indeed his life as a pioneering aviator and World War Two pilot and propagandist.
Saint-Exupery, a Pilot’s Life makes a few very faint attempts at setting the record straight, but mostly settles for providing some very bare context for the writing of The Little Prince.
It’s an unavoidable element of the Fringe that some productions, at least, will not find the reviewers who might be most sympathetic to what they may be trying to achieve, and this is one such case, so if you love The Little Prince, possibly best to look away now.
Seemingly determined to attempt to tell the story of The Little Prince and that of its author, Saint Exupery, a Pilot’s Story signally fails to do justice to its proclaimed subject matter.
Although, as claimed, The Little Prince reflects aspects of Saint-Exupery's life story, his other works reflect that life more fully.
Vol de Nuit, Courrier Sud, or the late Pilote de Guerre, are excellent both in themselves and as introductions to modern French literature, yet scarcely given a mention, and his marriage to Consuelo Gomez Carillo receives little more.
Terre des Hommes, his philosophical memoir, influential in the post-war world he did not live to see, is passed over in silence.
The preceding excursus seems necessary given the limited portrait of Saint-Exupery offered here.
To return to what is on offer, it’s frankly patchy also. Vanleere tries hard to give us a convincing Saint-Exupery, but it’s glimpses we get rather than a rounded figure. Louise Seyffert’s Little Prince and Rose are admittedly difficult roles, but equally fail to satisfy.