Grimm Tales Young and Old is a retelling of five of Grimm’s Fairy tales, rewritten by Phillip Pullman, performed at the Barge House, South Bank. As you enter the building you are immersed into a dark fairy tale world, as you walk up several flights of stairs covered in creepy old fashioned photos, rusty metal and exposed brick, the tone is set well for the show ahead.
We are taken on a journey of five stories over four floors. The stories are delivered through the characters self-narrating what they are doing. This style is very clear and very appropriate for the children in the audience, however as all of the five stories I saw were in this style, by the second half it became quite relentless. Because of this I think the show is more suitable and magical for an audience of children rather than adults. Nevertheless all the actors give believable and watchable performances which enchant the audience. There is an inventive use of props and set and the use of light is particularly impressive and original. Alison Duddle and Horse & Bamboo puppets were a delightful addition and well manipulated by the cast.
I felt the mechanism used to move the audience to the next room or story was very unsophticated. At the end of each story one actor, often with a lack of commitment, would shout “follow me”. As the stories were performed with commitment and charm these moments undermined the piece and there could have been a more magical, inventive way to do this.
If you are going to Grimms Tales For Young and Old as your first experience of immersive theatre, I’m sure you will be blown away by the scale, design and logistics of such a show, especially if you are going with children. However if you have seen some of this, currently fashionable, genre of theatre before you may not find there is much that is original about this particular production. 3/5
Review written by Lucy Bishop.
Phillip Pullman’s Grimm Tales For Young and Old is currently showing at the Oxo Tower until Sunday 15th February. For more information on the production, visit here…
For tickets to Grimm Tales For the Young and Old, visit here…