Muddy reviews: Grimm Tales for Fragile Times & Broken People
A dark and very twisted new production that weaves together traditional storytelling with digital tech to startling and compelling effect.
If it’s fairytales of the sugary feel good kind you’re seeking then I suggest you flick over to Bridgerton and leave the arty angst to the dark and twisted company at Creation Theatre, who have channelled the true Brothers Grimm for their latest live online production Grimm Tales for Fragile Times & Broken People.
These familiar childhood stories may have been misappropriated by Disney and their ilk along the way, but classic tales such as Hansel and Gretel or Rumpelstiltskin are as dark as any Scandi-noir TV drama and then some. Director Gari Jones harnesses this underlying theme of unease and discord to create a jarring but truly compelling piece of online theatre. We know and love/hate these characters already, they are part of our collective cultural consciousness, part of our childhoods, but here they are cracked open with torment in a way that reflects our own strangely unheimlich situation in lockdown. We are at home but not through choice, we are struggling and tormented both individually and as a society. The play touches on some triggering themes, so be warned you may need a snuggly blanket and some scented candles on the go whilst you watch. Deprivation, abject need, trauma, abuse of power, betrayal and loss are probed like open wounds and parallels are clearly drawn between these fables and modern day poverty and politics.
Shadowy, dark sets evoke deep forests and claustrophobic spaces that force the viewer into sharing an almost uncomfortably close space with the performers as each interwoven story slowly and horrifyingly unfolds. Whilst the production is paving the way for a new digital form of theatre, it’s also harnessing traditional conventions of verbal storytelling and the very intimate relationship that exists between the teller and the listener that can feel starkly exposing. Whilst the overarching theme of the play is clearly dark though, the viewer is ultimately left with the sense these unfathomable struggles and obstacles have finally been endured and overcome, and that there is light at the end of a very dark tunnel.
Muddy viewed a live preview of the Grimm Tales for Fragile Times & Broken People, with further live previews from 10-14 Feb. Streamed performances can also be booked for 24 Feb – 13 Mar.