Grimm Tales for Fragile Times and Broken People is an atmospheric and timely retelling of some of the Brother Grimm fairy tales, set in a forgotten woodland whose inhabitants are isolated in their homes (sounds familiar?).
Performed via Zoom, it makes it impossible for us not to feel part of the stories, as twisted as they might be. Perhaps that is what made it so fun, especially as it was possible to see some people who had left their cameras on, and I could watch their faces as the tales intensified and became darker and darker.
“The howls were horrible. I was so scared. I was so happy”.
Directed by Gari Jones and written by the artists of the Creation Theatre’s newly created online Repertory Company, this re-imagining of the eerie tales becomes haunting stories that are intensified by the cast’s strong performances. The tales include Kofi Dennis performing ‘The Moon’, Dharmesh Patel ‘Godfather Death’, Natasha Rickman ‘Rumpelstiltskin’, Annabelle Terry dramatizing the ever so disturbing ‘Hansel And Gretel’, and finally Graeme Rose with ‘The Juniper Tree’. The narratives interweave and tangle around each other creating a braid of creepy and atmospheric tales.
Of course, due to limitations of the lockdown, each actor performs from their own house, or own space. Even though they are not physically in the same place, the costumes and set designs work perfectly to not only enhance the creepiness of the tales, but also to tie the stories together. Created by Ryan Dawson Laight, the set and costume designs stand out as their own character. Such is the power they bring to the play.
Together, the set design and the performances made the play what it is. One interesting thing in this play was the use of the camera, as the angles used really enhanced the creepy atmosphere and the actors’ performances. This is especially true for Annabelle Terry, as she performed the classic story of the two siblings who get lost in the woods, being herself stuck in a wooden box with the camera peeking from outside it and above her. This gave an even more distorted perspective of the tale.
Unfortunately, there were some sound issues during the play that hindered the power of the performances, but those were soon recovered as the play continued. Grimm Tales for Fragile Times and Broken People is clearly a labour of love, and it shows. I highly recommend getting some friends around (virtually), lighting up a candle, and enjoying the retelling of these classic tales.
You can still catch Grimm Tales for Fragile Times and Broken People until 13 March – book your tickets here.
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