Grimm Tales for Fragile Times and Broken People
Over a candlelit Zoom call, a collection of the famed Grimm brothers’ fairy tales are retold with a digital twist in Creation Theatre’s latest production, Grimm Tales for Fragile Times and Broken People. Featuring pre-recorded monologues reimagining a few age-old bedtime classics (such as Rumpelstiltskin, Hansel and Gretel and The Juniper Tree), medieval fantasy and macabre writing combine to create an effective hybrid stage/cinema production with a dedicated cast and strong aesthetics. The occasioal technical fumble is easily forgiven as the dark, uncensored reinterpretations of the Brothers Grimm’s famed works will no doubt leave horror-inclined viewers and lovers of all that is spooky charmed and immersed.
Five performers, directed by Gari Jones, act as character narrators for tales on a range of subjects, from sinister witches to the moon’s familial relationships and the consequences of having death as a godfather. Creation Theatre’s morbid yet fantastical production offers both nostalgia and a new cynical layer to the classic literature. Despite the use of creepy makeup, detailed old-fashioned costumes and unsettling sets, typical for the genre, the team is evidently dedicated to tweaking traditional storytelling forms and pushing for new theatrical experiences.
Instead of the monologues existing independently and being linearly told, actors’ performances intermingle, as monologues are cut and edited, continually interrupting one another and keeping the audience in suspense as they await the conclusion of multiple storylines. The new episodic structure proves to be dynamic when it works, but it’s unfortunately confusing at points. Narratives shift seamlessly and without warning, proving to be jarring, as no musical interlude or pause is given to let the audience digest the progression. With the indistinguishable cuts and changes, the overall pacing can feel choppy.
However, despite the fast-paced editing, the cast expertly pulls viewers back into the Brothers Grimm’s delightfully haunting world. All the cast demonstrate emotional complexity in their delivery of the monologues, furthering Grimm Tales for Fragile Times and Broken People‘s sense of spooky fun as they embrace beloved horror cliches and aesthetics. The stellar acting, paired with the striking work from designer Ryan Dawson Laight, truly immerses viewers, transporting them from the depressing reality of lockdown to the delightfully tragic pages of bedtime stories.
Grimm Tales for Fragile Times and Broken People is at from 24th February until 13th March 2021. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.