Not So Grimm Fairy Tales

Some might consider it cruel, but I’m of the opinion that children’s stories benefit from that added sprinkle of fear. Children love to hear scary stories of wolves and witches and it’s this mix of the macabre and the magical that has kept children enchanted by the tales of the Brothers Grimm throughout the decades. So it’s a little disappointing to see this very capable theatre company playing it rather safe in their depiction of the villains within their four versions of Grimm’ classics.Our three excitable storytellers act out four popular tales: Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, Rumplestiltskin and Hansel and Gretel. The set and props are simple, effective, appropriately stylized and colourful, while the three actors perform with gusto. There may have been a few visible cracks in their demeanours whilst attempting to keep the energy up, but the job was valiantly accomplished considering they were all on stage for the whole 50 minutes. The interaction with the audience was fun and there were a few moments dotted throughout the show that were truly inspired: the inaudible voice of Little Red Riding Hood’s mother, Rumplestiltskin’s shower of gold, some fantastic use of sound effects and, of course, the bubble machines! Every children’s show should have bubble machines (make sure you get your little ones in the front three rows).Which brings me back to my opening criticism. It would have been nice to have a darker edge to the villains in both performance style and appearance, rather than solely played for humour. For there to be any real danger present in these tales they require a little light and shade to appear between the fear and the laughter. With only laughs to be had from the production it gets a little tiresome, and by the time we come to the final tale some of the younger audience are a little restless. There is still some nasty stuff in there (wolves eat grandmothers, witches eat children) but the company should really have trusted the Brothers by bringing to life their memorably downright evil baddies. I asked my four year old niece if she enjoyed the show, and she chirpily said she would like to come back tomorrow, so the company have definitely done something right. It seemed like the majority of the other children had a great time as well. For me however, I would much rather have my fairy tales served Ever So Grimm as opposed to Not So Grimm.

Reviews by Stewart McLaren

Online at www.DavidLeddy.com (with Traverse Theatre)

City Of the Blind

★★★
Northern Stage at King's Hall

Milk Presents: Self Service

★★★★
Scottish Storytelling Centre

Haggis Haggis Haggis

★★★
Institut français d'Ecosse

Antiquithon

★★★★
Traverse Theatre

RIVERRUN

★★

The Blurb

A handful of princesses, a whirlwind of witches and one weally, weally wicked wolf are all brought to life in this energetic, colourful, laugh-a-minute show. Lots of fun for all the family!