fringe: grimm tales

adelaide fringe: grimm tales
Children's and Household Tales by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, more commonly known as Grimms' Fairy Tales, was first published just before Christmas in 1812.

And if you know anything about those original tales, you know they were barely suitable for children... eyes are plucked out, toes are cut off, and characters die... a lot of them.

So I was hoping for something a little on the dark side from Black Cat Theatre's show, Grimm Tales.

It's a small production, with only four actors playing multiple roles, plus a brief child role at the beginning of the show.

Isaac Gates, Sasha Kreig, Sara Pepe and Jess Walker all do a good job with the material, especially since this was their opening night. And each of them has moments where they really shine... Gates as the Fairy Godmother, Krieg as two different versions of Gretel, Pepe as the Witch in the Gingerbread House and Walker as the Prince.

I will say that Walker steals the show a few times though, mostly in her small but important role as the prince, but also during the first of the monologues.

The stories they tell aren't always the big ones you know from Grimms, with the exceptions of Hansel and Gretel and the tale of Ashputtle, aka Cinderella. But I think this was a wise move as it meant I got to experience stories I either didn't know at all like "The Mouse, the Bird, and the Sausage", stories I only knew a little like "Sweet Porridge" or original versions of stories I knew pretty well, like the aforementioned Ashputtle.

The individual stories seem to vary between sticking very closely to the original telling and a somewhat more modern take or at least with the odd modern aside, which oddly enough never feels weird, and the Fairy Godmother sequence is a modern monologue rather than an original Grimm story, but it makes sense within the show.

The staging is simple, as the show is in the function room of a pub rather than in a theatre, but they've amassed an impressive range of props and set dressing that works for the various stories, even if some of it only gets a single use. But again, it makes sense within the conceit of the show, that everything is happening inside a little girl's bedroom.

While it may not have been as dark as I was hoping, it does manage some distinct black comedy at times.

yani's rating: 3 gingerbread houses out of 5

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