Costumes are downtown Tirolean with thick tights, chunky furry boots and short kicky skirts. Eilidh McCormick plays a bewitching Marlene with punk pink hair whilst the huntsman patrolling this wood is the hilarious Richard Kidd who sports a black leather trilby and jacket and pops to Justin Timberlake. The eccentric humour of Alex Beckett as the Mirror reminds the evil queen that, ‘beauty is a light inside the heart’. This is a omnipresent message as Star Girl who marks the beginning and ending of the show demonstrates. Curiosity has taken her off the beaten track, deeper into the woods. Through kindness she has given away her bread and clothes to children more needy. She digs into the earth to find a key next to an iron chest whilst the audience waits to see if her generous spirit is rewarded.
A singing snow-white bird puppet flies in and out of the tales linking them up as does Hansel and the adorable Gretel’s (Claire Andreadis) journey into the forest where they entertain each other with tales. Interweaving the stories highlights recurring themes that relate back to the Grimm family’s dramatic shift from living in a rural idyll to the reduced circumstances of urban life brought about by the father’s death. Matriarchs get a raw deal in the tales. ‘As long as you keep everything immaculate and pristine you can stay’, say the detailed puppet Dwarves to a bewildered Snow White. Jessica Sedler wears faded flowers and garish nets as the old woman living in the gingerbread house built to lure children off their path and is evocative of the strong harmful potential of women in Paula Rego’s paintings. She feeds the children crepes. Whilst this is a gourmet treat the audience can order in the interval, most of the food in the tales is cursed with characters such as Thumbelina working a passage through an animal’s digestive tract.
No one is scared of Tim Crowther’s fabulous rock star wolf as the audience knows the scheming wolf is the victim of the plot. The children are awesomely fearless when Death takes the stage to turn the set to hell with the biggest flames being the ones for children. Symbols testify to the bravery of children. Flowers at the edge of the circular stage in the round are dreams. The wolf tempts Red Cape away from the path as she circles the tent plucking the prettiest blooms. These children know ultimately they must leave the comfort of the path. Adults too should be nudged off the well-worn ring road to BMW group plant if only to enjoy a favourite tale such as the romping Rumpelstiltskin and watch the Juniper tree explode. Creation Theatre makes gold out of straw once more.