Grimm Tales for Fragile Times and Broken People ★★★★★ Creation Theatre (online) | Until March 13, 2021


Creation Theatre's Grimm Tales for Fragile Times and Broken People is by turns eerily beautiful, terrifying, or just creepy. Mashing together several tales gathered by the Brothers Grimm, director Gari Jones and the actors Kofi Dennis, Dharmesh Patel, Natasha Rickman, Graeme Rose and Annabelle Terry take us on an incredibly surreal journey through the gruesome world the Grimms created. With violence and cruelty throughout, this is most certainly not a show for young children; it does, however, display all the amazing invention this company is renowned for. Living as we do in the lonely isolation of lockdown, tales of loss and death seem unlikely topics for entertainment but the treatment here is so mesmerising that we are drawn into this bizarre world and wait aghast for the next horrific piece of the action. Probably the best known story is Hansel and Gretel, and when we finally meet the witch in her Gingerbread House she is a wonderfully frightening monster hiding behind diaphanous draperies. Her demise in the oven is thrillingly executed. Rumpelstiltskin's tale is accompanied by the clever use of puppetry. Throughout, the design and makeup bewitch us; often there are references to early surreal cinema such as Nosferatu. These tales of avarice and jealousy rarely have happy endings, as we have it confirmed that “Life is in Death's hands” and “We are all equal in death.” Nevertheless, this is a brilliantly created show by the current masters of the surreal. It kept us glued to the screen for an unforgettable hour.

Rated: ★★★★★

Reviewed by D.S.J.

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