Thursday 24 December 2009

Grimm Tales - Library Theatre Manchester

We went to see this yesterday evening. It is a production well worth seeing. It was adapted from the Bothers Grimm’s Tales by Carol Ann Duffy. It was dramatised by Tim Supple and directed by Rachel O Riordan.
It is a skilled adaptation. Very appropriate, too, having something by CAD, now poet laureate. It retains the essence of the original slightly grimmer versions of some well-known fairy-tales. Could the word “grim” possibly come from the nature of these stories?
The stories – Hansel and Gretel, the Golden Goose, Ashputtel (Cinderella to us), Iron Hans, The Mouse, the Bird and the Sausage, the Lady and the Lion and Little Red Ridinghood were presented almost in Brechtian fashion, with a troupe of actors who narrated the stories, acting out some of the characters as they went along. They also played impressive jigs on a variety of musical instruments.
The stage at the Library Theatre anyway is novel. It tapers to the back to fit into the circular building which is the Central Library in Manchester. It has quite a slope on it too. You fear for the actors’ balance. The set was enchanting, though. A mixture of woodland and faded old mansion, with misty forest in the background.
It was gratifying to see the theatre absolutely full. Interestingly, the audience was middle to low-brow, with lots of children as well, yet they really appreciated the humour and the subtle connections. This was so much better than the traditional smutty pantomimes.
The Library Theatre is moving temporarily to the Lowry then taking over the former Theatre Royal. I wonder what they will do with that enticing space?
We came home in a heavy snowstorm. Manchester was enchanting. The trams ran all right but the short car journey back to our home was decidedly iffy. We did it, though we couldn’t get the car on to the drive.

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