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Grimm Tales

Tron Theatre, Glasgow
Four stars
When a family is so poor  that they abandon their hungry children in
the forest, you know things have become pretty desperate. This isn't
some contemporary tale of austerity culture and food banks, however,
but is the Brothers Grimm's much loved story of Hansel and Gretel, as
told here by the Cardiff-based Theatre Iolo for the Tron's
Commonwealth-supported Home Nations Festival 2014.

One of two Grimm Tales first reimagined by poet laureate Carol Ann
Duffy and dramatised by Tim Supple in 1993, Iolo's take on them is as
dark as Duffy's writing is sharp. With a cast of five scampering their
way around a set of artfully arranged door and picture frames, Kevin
Lewis' production is underscored by live banjo and guitar playing that
adds to the moody intimacy of the show. Both stories are brutal, as is
made clear when Hansel and Gretel shoves the Witch into the fire before
pocketing all her precious wares and making a prodigal's return home to
their now widowed father. As ecstatic as he is to see his lost
children, their dear old dad should really watch his back.

Sibling rivalry abounds even more in Duffy's radical take on
Cinderella, the abused young woman who is gifted here with her original
German name of Ashputtel. Here, Ashputtel's suitor is a  punky,
leather-jacketed, guitar-playing Prince who she shimmies with all night
long. Like a pair of wannabe WAGS, Ashputtel's nasty step-sisters are
desperate enough to go under the knife to get their man. When the birds
peck out their eyes at Ashputtel's wedding, it's a viciously downbeat
ending to a family favourite that's been reinvented forever.

The Herald, July 29th 2014


ends

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