Fresh from winning an ONCOMM Award for their inventive reinvention of Wonderland in Alice – A Virtual Theme Park, Creation Theatre is continuing its exploration of the digital auditorium with their newest production Grimm Tales for Fragile Times and Broken People.
Before starting, we’re encouraged to light a candle and switch off the lights, which might seem a little much at first but actually turns out to be a highly effective method of creating a different, special, theatrical even, atmosphere far removed from the many Zoom meetings that make up so much of working life now.
The Creation Theatre Rep Company takes us on a journey through some of the more haunting recesses of the Grimm storybook. Tales like Rumpelstiltskin, The Juniper Tree and Godfather Death are told individually but coiled together, intertwined threads drawing us deeper into a collective darkness that somehow feels just right for these times. And lest we get lost in that darkness, there’s a timely reminder of how else we can use that candlelight.
Directed charismatically by Gari Jones, and aided immeasurably by sterling work from designer Ryan Dawson Laight, the show visually riffs on ideas of toy theatres and puppetry, leaning in to their creepiness as elongated shadows crawl up the wall. And the company works so effectively at elevating the act of simple storytelling to something entirely engrossing. They’re all good but Natasha Rickman’s anarchic take on Rumpelstiltskin, through blazingly modern eyes, is a real stand-out.
Grimm Tales for Fragile Times and Broken People is streaming until 13 March 2021.