Fourth Monkey's Grimm Tales: Hansel and Gretel

You think you know the story of Hansel and Gretel, but can you fully comprehend the suffering that they endured? Poverty, starvation, abandonment, incarceration, murder and insanity? No, you don't think about that bit, do you?

Be prepared, or you might find you lose your way along the crumb trail.

Look beyond the candy sticks and the crumb trail, and goose pimple your way into the demented abusive tale of Fourth Monkey's adaptation. Voices stripped away and minimal prop usage evoke the stark cruelty and deprivation of Hansel and Gretel's reality. Their vulnerability is preyed upon by the evil witch and they are punished in the most grotesque ways imaginable.

But that's where the strength of this production lies – the audience's imagination. We all vaguely know the plot of Hansel and Gretel, so the cast have the perfect foundation to manipulate the viewers' intelligence through Meyerholdian movements, insinuating rather than telling. Black cloth hanging over a face with elbows bent high not only conjures a peering crow, but continues to leave a smoke and mirror effect on your interpretation of reality. Can you trust your version of what's happening? Can you be certain of what you're seeing?

Your mind will be assaulted. And you'll take a gross pleasure in it. The shock hits you hard. It threw me into a delirious state of giggles – if I didn't laugh, I'd cry. Fourth Monkey have done it: they've lifted the veil of the news stories and the grotesque and shown us what we're all too keen to turn a blind eye to.

The only flaw in an otherwise perfect production is the set-up of the venue. The tiered chairs mean you can't always see the whole stage and as a large part of the action is on the floor, you might find you miss some vital character points because the person in front of you has a Mohican. Sit at the front to be told the whole tale.

There's nudity, sensitive scenarios, chilling music and a whole miasma of terror. Be prepared, or you might find you lose your way along the crumb trail.

Reviews by Lydia Nowak

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The Blurb

‘A magical experience’ ***** (A Younger Theatre). ‘A company with an original freshness all of its own’ ***** ( ‘When the moon comes up I will be able to see the crumbs of bread that I scattered, and they will show us the way back home.’ Delivered with mature themes of conflict and incest, multi award-nominated Fourth Monkey deliver Hansel and Gretel as part of their Grimm season at this year’s Fringe. Written and adapted by critically acclaimed Toby Clarke, writer of Sans Salome (Fourth Monkey) and Result (Sketty Productions).

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