Edinburgh Festival Fringe children’s show review: A Pocketful of Grimms, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Kelly Apter.
Although it’s fun to see traditional stories subverted or modernised, there’s something to be said for keeping them pure and simple. When it comes to choosing tales, Story Pocket Theatre figures if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – and broke they most certainly aren’t.
The stories written by Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm have remained popular for over 200 years for good reason – they entertain. Here, Story Pocket takes on four of the brothers’ tales: Hansel and Gretel, The Golden Goose, Rumpelstiltskin, and the much lesser-known The Mouse, the Bird and the Sausage. They also throw in an old version of Beauty and the Beast, with an ending few will recognise.
Stepping on to the stage in a long velvet coat, our storyteller agrees to let three friends join him in delivering tales. Each is dressed in clothing from centuries ago, leaving us in no doubt that we’re back in the 18th century when the Brothers Grimm first put pen to paper.
Then we’re off. The simple but highly adaptable set opens out to depict a forest, Hansel and Gretel hold hands and the tale begins. We all know the story so well, there’s nothing new to discover – yet there’s something hugely comforting in that. Spending an hour with Story Pocket Theatre is like curling up in a warm bed, and being read a story while you nibble on a piece of toast.
Which is why A Pocketful of Grimms works for everyone in the room. Rumpelstiltskin is so woven into the fabric of our childhoods, you can hear a collective “yes” from the audience when it starts.
The highly physical performances bring the tales vividly to life, with each character distinct from the last. There’s nothing new here – but why would there be? Just well-loved, well-delivered and very well received stories.
Gilded Balloon (Venue 14) until 31 August / listings
Published in The Scotsman on 17 August 2015
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