Theatre review: Waking Beauty
Theatre review: Waking Beauty

Edinburgh Festival Fringe theatre review: Waking Beauty, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Billy Barrett. ★★★ Once upon a time there was a beautiful young maiden who lived in a cabin in the woods with her mother and who was betrothed to a handsome prince. There was just one problem – she wasn’t really into men. This …

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Edinburgh Festival

Edinburgh Festival Fringe theatre review: Waking Beauty, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Billy Barrett.

★★★

Once upon a time there was a beautiful young maiden who lived in a cabin in the woods with her mother and who was betrothed to a handsome prince. There was just one problem – she wasn’t really into men. This brand new fairytale about sexuality and traditional obligations is an enjoyable twist on familiar tropes, pastiching the Brothers Grimm and co to put forward a message about tolerance of diversity.

It’s difficult to gauge who exactly Waking Beauty is pitched for – the style is full-on earnest Disney, rather than tongue-in-cheek take-off, complete with old-timey language and costumes. Its moralising can feel simplistically patronising when presented to an adult audience, and its semi-immersive staging in one of C nova’s attic spaces – which is papered with storybook pages and adorned with fairy lights – has a childlike wonder that makes you think it might be better programmed in the morning and explicitly aimed at kids.

While a compelling premise, it lacks the darkness or complexity of other queer and feminist fairytale remixes. With that in mind, the show could have a successful and important post-Fringe life as a theatre-in-education piece, but is otherwise not sufficiently radical a reworking to truly provoke or enlighten.

C Nova (Venue 145) until 31 August / listings

Published in The Scotsman on 26 August 2015

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