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
Edinburgh Festivals 2015: complete coverage
• Get everything on our Festivals homepage – on desktop, mobile or tablet
• Looking for reviews? Check out the latest Scotsman reviews – or browse all the reviews ranked by star rating
• Don’t miss a thing: sign up to our daily email newsletter
• Watch all the latest videos from the #WOWwagon
• Get distracted by our Festival Blog
• Check out today’s half-price ticket deals
• Follow our social accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – and join the conversation with #WOWfest
• Download the WOW247 app for iOS and Android