ReviewSouth East

BRIGHTON FRINGE: The Grimmest of Grimm Tales – Sweet St Andrews


Writer and Director: Jane Deane
Reviewer: Glen Pearce

The guardians of our national morals often assume children have no stomach for gore or horror but as the Brothers Grimm knew all too well in their collected tales, the young mind has plenty capacity for imagination and, if told well, can comprehend and process a surprising amount.

Even the most popular of fairytales, such as Red Riding Hood, have a dark element if examined closely enough, but in Av Va Laff Production’s The Grimmest of Grimm Tales it is the less well-known fables that are explored.

Perhaps in more politically correct times these stories have fallen out of favour but The Storytelling squad, populated by the suitably theatrical moinequred Gaffer, Tabs, Gobo and Cue, and their trust Story-Max 3000 are determined to find the grimmest of Grimm Tales.

We’re offered three candidates. The tale of Death becoming an unlikely Godfather for a young boy, a blood-filled tale of chicken death, neither of which offer the traditional ‘and they all lived happily ever after’ ending.

The traditional happy ending is restored in the final offering, Hans my Hedgehog, a surreal offering featuring a bagpipe playing hedgehog who farms pigs while riding a giant flying rooster.

The company (Jane Deane, Eden Ballantyne, James Mitchell and Nisha Anil) swap between the multitude of characters with ease, mixing plenty of comic action in among the more darker moments. It’s an engaging mix and one that draws in both its target young audience but also provides plenty to keep their parents and grandparents entertained as well.

Some of the musical numbers fall slightly flat in the challenging acoustics of St Andrew’s Church but its a minor niggle in a production packed full of fun and inventiveness. The tales may be grim but there’s enough warmth and charm here to entertain even the meekest of souls.

Runs until 4 June 2017 at Sweet St Andrews | Image: Contributed  |  @brightonfringe

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The South East team is under the editorship of Nicole Craft. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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