Grimm: An Untold Tale

For those who don’t know, the Grimm brothers are the authors of the famous book Grimm’s Fairy Tales, a huge source of inspiration for all kinds of modern myths and fables. Though the play’s title holds their name, it is not about the brothers, but instead about the countless women that never get mentioned for their role in helping the brothers collect their fairy tales. Set in Germany during the Napoleonic wars, Grimm: An Untold Tale shows the stories of three women the brothers enlist to tell tales: the authoritative Dortchen, the sharp-tongued Dorothea and Marie, the girl ready to escape to something new. It follows their constant battle as society tries to repress their voices and remind them of their traditional place as women.

The singing and interluding folk songs often detract from the enticement of the narrative

This play takes an interesting step away from the norm, using both live music and movement in it’s performance. It switches between lengthy monologues, told in a fairy-story style as it tries to take the women’s lives into that realm, along with classic theatrical dialogue. The live guitar backing adds an enchanting element to the scenes, heightening the tension or softening the mood where it is needed. The singing and interluding folk songs, though, perhaps stretch a little too far, often detracting from the enticement of the narrative.

The highlight is certainly when the women come forward to tell their own fairy tales. The stage takes on a magical atmosphere, with the women using large movements partnered with the music to bring the story to life in a new way. This very visual way of performing is enhanced by the fact that the stage is viewed from three angles. Although it can be confusing during the monologues, the more physical scenes saw the actors use the entirety of the room to try to immerse the audience into the experience.

The play’s three actors take on multiple roles, slipping into each with ease, with obvious transitions only between scenes, making for little confusion as to who’s who.

It is always empowering to see a show that lets women and feminism take the front seat, but disappointing to see it take place in such a small venue. The strong actors easily bring the stage to life, embracing the musical and ‘fairy tale’ element of the play but as well bringing a new, feminist twist to the writing of the Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Such an original show deserves more credit, an imaginative step forward in helping the “women of this world grow back their hands”.

Reviews by Megan Atkins

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The Blurb

Of the 214 fairy tales in the Brothers Grimm collection, over half were sourced by women. In the midst of the Napoleonic wars, the Grimms endeavoured to preserve German folklore. They enlisted the best storytellers they knew: Dortchen the Wild, Marie locked in her tower and Dorothea with the razor-sharp tongue. Weaving tales of silver slippers, devils and wolves, Fiercely Spun's visually playful storytelling and original live music revives these forgotten female voices and the darkly delightful stories they told. Shortlisted for Les Enfants Terribles Award 2016. On The Cupboard: 'Remarkably original' ***** (BroadwayBaby.com).

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