I was pleasantly surprised by this performance. Although the cast are young enough to be in the American High School Theatre Festival, they had the discipline and talent to really bring their show to life and give it an edge which was unnerving and verging on sinister. Very well choreographed, imaginative and an excellent choice of stories to perform, this show is accessible to all, even those previously unfamiliar with The Cautionary Tales.
The Austin Playhouse really thought this performance out with great detail and precision. Not only were the actors incredibly focused, but their lighting choreography was spot on; it added perfectly to the eerie atmosphere and drew chills from the audience. Some spooky music was added to the show too, enhancing this creepy performance to a good seven on the unnerving scale. I think I’d be pretty freaked out if I were under ten; although saying that, I was still a little chilled. Clearly, the Austin Playhouse did their job well; I know I won’t be bullying other children or sucking my thumb anytime soon.
I know this is an adaption of Heinrich Hoffmann’s tales, which are meant to scare children into good behaviour, but as a Fringe show for children, perhaps a little lighter humour could have been used. It was a really dark performance and although this was well done, the cast could have made it a little kinder to their target audience. The kid behind me sobbed a little - it was unnerving.
Eerily enjoyable, but perhaps a little too frightening for the younger members of the audience, The Cautionary Tales was well presented and well-acted. It was just a little too intense and dark for their target audience and would have benefitted from at least a brief moment of brighter humour.