Review: The Grimm Tales by Carol Ann Duffy

Rebecca Thomas and Owen Elton’s production of The Grimm Tales was a feast of storytelling magic framed in the familiar surroundings of a Shell dorm – albeit with rather more silk pyjamas than usual.

The driving impulse of these stories as an essential part of growing up was very evident – and it wasn’t afraid of being as painful and dark as it was comical and entertaining. The large ensemble of shell actors and technicians approached this collection of familiar stories with a fresh energy finding a playful delivery style that moved fluidly between dark forests, dimly lit castles and shameless farm yard antics. The Ellis Theatre audience, within Paul Cox’s deceptive set design, could celebrate the important role these stories have played in all children’s lives – stories that have stood the test of time and been recycled by each generation. This cast attacked each story with a high octane sense of purpose – these stories were not just merely fantasy, they became weapons to ward off the dark, to delay sleep and imprison the morning. There were lots of impressive performances that presented a colourful range of characters; from a bony witch who was evil beyond all reason to an abusive tailor who wrestled with his wayward goat. The joyful and energy was underscored throughout with live music adding to the sense of spontaneous creativity and driving the action towards its inevitable ‘happy ever after’.

Congratulations to the whole cast and crew of this impressive, slick and inventive production.

David Kenworthy
Head of Drama

You may also like