Stick Stock Stone Dead is a piece written and performed entirely by the under 18-year-olds of the CrazySchemeTheatre company, and while the show is a decent first attempt at physical/musical theatre, it could have done with a lot of work before setting up at the Fringe.
The show is an attempt at deconstructing fairy tales and reimagining them for a modern audience, and begins with a long sequence of the seven-member cast coming out and reading aloud from a large, ornate book, as other members lay out a roll of sticky tape on the floor. The aim is to reduce each tale (Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel, Cinderella) down to its basic message (don’t go off the path, don’t have a wicked stepmother), but the sequence drags a little, and the sound of tape being unrolled rather spoils the mood. Afterwards, is the extended musical segment that takes the show to its conclusion, an interpretation of Grimm’s The Juniper Tree. While the performances are energetic, the songs give very little for the performers to get their teeth into, and the core themes of love and betrayal are rather lost among some fairly rote thinking about insecurity and self-image. The lack of any named characters means the audience is often left guessing about what story the action is trying to tell.
Bearing in mind that this is a very young company, one hopes this will be good experience, but more precise work is needed in terms of constructing a relatable narrative, controlling its pacing and delivering a more focused message.