It’s Grimm Up North presents a Fringe first through the medium of animated comedy: simply playing just under an hour’s worth of television, what would amount to the first two episodes of a TV series. The production team member who introduced the animation described it as a ‘labour of love’ and that much is evident as animation is not an easy medium. Unfortunately, as soon as the opening credits were rolling, it was fairly evident that the only people who would love it were those involved in the piece.
Animated comedy can be enormously successful when it is well crafted, witty and well produced. It’s Grimm Up North is none of these things; it is crass, crude and largely in bad taste.
The series is set in the fictional northern town of Hardington with Episode One introducing us to supermarket owner, and only meat supplier to the town, Gideon Gold. His sinister personality is apparent from the outset and is only confirmed by the discovery of his crippled daughter and violent reaction (involving a flamethrower) to her suitor. Episode Two moves the audience to a hairdressers in the same town, where Billy Roundy is shown repeatedly lying about being terminally ill to female members of staff in order to seduce them into having sex with him before taking compromising pictures on his mobile phone. The characters are vulgar, uncomfortable to watch even in two-dimensional form and at times so unintelligible that it was a struggle to decipher any meaning. I feared it was merely personal taste that precluded my enjoyment of the piece, but the reactions of the rest of the audience were more often noises of discomfort than enjoyment at a piece of comedy.
I had hoped It’s Grimm Up North would be able to redeem itself with some references to the fairytales of the Brothers Grimm to which the title alludes. Unfortunately there was only one reference, though quite heavily veiled, to Rapunzel in the tower. Sadly her story did not end happily ever after and neither did mine.