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Pegasus - Grimm and Grimmer

9th to 30th December 2011.

Review from the Newbury Weekly News.

Fairytale fun

Grimm and Grimmer, at Pegasus Theatre, Oxford, from Friday, December 9 to Friday, December 30

Pegasus Theatre has taken a bold step in programming touring theatre company Gonzo Moose's devised drama Grimm and Grimmer to run over the festive period.

As an additional treat, the theatre has commissioned local designer Nomi Everall to create a fairytale whodunit across the Pegasus' public spaces. Children can follow an exhibition of puppets and miniature fairytale sets in which clues are hidden. It's a lovely touch.

The play, devised by the company and directed by Abigail Anderson, has a delightful premise. The Brothers Grimm, Wilhehn (Mark Conway) and Jacob (Seamus Allen) years ago encountered Rumpelstiltskin who, in a Faustian pact, offered them the best stories in the world for their collection of fairytales.

In return, Wilhelm would have to accept certain death by donating his heart to the necromancer. A clockwork heart is inserted into his body, designed to stop ticking two decades later, on Christmas day. Now Christmas Eve, the brothers' feisty younger sister, Lottie (Lauren Silver), discovers a magic formula and sets off for fairyland in a quest to find Rumpelstiltskin and save her brother's life.

Lottie enters a Shrek-like world where the king and queen appear to have stepped out of a Woody Allen film. She encounters random zombies wearing shockingly-coloured wigs and a Glaswegian riddlemeister who threatens to glass those who fail his quiz.

The comedy emerges from the company's close reading of academic texts on fairy tales by Bettelheim and Propp but most of the audience does not need to know that. Instead they can enjoy the fine jokes and crazy slapstick.

The trio, schooled in improvised comedy, reel off jokes at over one a minute. In one scene they give us wickedly clever fairy tale plot summaries - longer than haiku but shorter than tweets, and all hilarious.

The physical theatre is equally funny. Seamus Allen's Mime Prince's mime of the journey to Rumpelstiltskin's cave and all the dangers inherent in such an adventure, deserves its applause.

Some of the humour is quite adult, with one scene playfully blood-splattered and teasingly gory. A show, literally, to raise the spirits.


There is a review at Daily Info ("a rich, deep and hilarious family theatrical experience that literally bursts off the stage").