Creation Theatre Company - Snow White and Other Tales from the Brothers Grimm
3rd December 2016 to 7th January 2017.
Review from the Newbury Weekly News.
It's Grimm… but Funn
Stories within stories, a great winter treat from Creation
Creation Theatre: Snow White & Other Tales from the Brothers Grimm, at the North Wall, Oxford, from Saturday, December 3, to Saturday, January 7
It's back to the future with Creation Theatre's winter treat Snow White & Other Tales from the Brothers Grimm, written and directed by Gari Jones.
Seasoned Creation fans will recall productions, even one similar in content to this show, in the Spiegeltent in the grounds of Oxford's BMW mini plant, with its cabaret-style seating. At the North Wall the drama takes place on a high stage, surrounded on all sides by the audience, with the performers nipping up steps to the stage, running in and out of hidden entrances, and disappearing down trap doors in a mask of darkness. Being close to the stage, many of the actors address theatregoers directly, involving them closely in the narrative.
Complexity abounds with stories within stories within stories. Snow White (Josie Dunn) takes a leaf from Scheherazade when she tells the seven dwarfs (numbers made up by local schoolchildren) a different tale each night to pay for her rent. Wearing a red cloak and earphones, the pretty princess morphs seamlessly into Red Cape with attitude, all teenage overconfidence, overlooking the dangers in the deep dark wood.
While there is a lot of fun with dances, and several scenes are interlaced with jolly songs, the folk tales collected by the Grimms are, well, grim. Hard-up parents abandon Hansel (Tom Richardson) and Gretel (Shelley Atkinson) deep in the wood. The children encounter a cannibalistic witch who owns the temptingly sweet cottage they think is a sanctuary. Red Cape and her grandmother are eaten by a debonair wolf who charms them into carelessness.
Snow White dismisses the wise counsel of her protective dwarfs by allowing her stepmother-in-disguise, the Queen (Clare Humphrey) to poison her with gifts (a comb, an apple). A king marries a woman for spinning straw into gold. It's a task aided by a sprite, Rumpelstiltskin (Simon Yadoo) who appears from underneath the floorboards. Her price is giving up her first-born baby. While that is horrible enough, the king's coercive behaviour to the young woman – he marries her only because of her gold-making – makes a happy ending for the couple unlikely. Recommended.
There is a review from DailyInfo ("delivered with surgical timing and tons of enthusiasm by the excessively talented cast of six... a first-class Christmas show and highly recommended!")