Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Beasts & Beauties – Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal

Beasts and Beauties at Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal: Review
12:10pm Thursday 15th December 2011 in News

By Adrian Mullen »
Arts correspondent

BEASTS And Beauties was a magical and rich blend of finely-tuned storytelling and acting.

Staged at Kendal’s Brewery Arts Centre, there was no real slapstick but enough knockabout comedy and ‘it’s behind you’ moments to make it feel like festive family entertainment.

Because it’s not a traditional pantomime, I daresay it might have its detractors – but not I.

Put together by professional outfit Spike Theatre, I was totally enchanted and seduced by the company’s fairy tale world and loved the way the sharp script included an engaging narrative to ferry you through each yarn.

From the original writings of Carol Ann Duffy, the highly inventive production was dramatised by Melly Still and Tim Supple.

Each of the eight European tales is told with a visual economy that gets right to the essence of the fable – fabulously.

There was Bluebeard, the grisly tale of a nobleman with a ‘blue rinse’ stubble and an unpleasant habit of cutting off the heads of his wives.

Beauty And The Beast was beautifully recreated with a romantic simplicity that was captivating to watch, and In The Emperor’s New Clothes Spike’s Lee McPherson and Graham Geoffrey Hicks rose to the royal occasion as the ‘two geezers’ who comically duped the king and his household into believing they were the weavers of a noble amount of invisible finery.

Spike also did a grand job at making what is essentially a grim and gruesome story of The Juniper Tree into a fantastic and funny fable with some incredibly clever puppetry, which really was top notch.

And The Girl AndThe North Wind was another tale making amazing use of the minimal but extremely imaginative props. It also starred the excellent Bekah Sloan as the spirited girl who battles to survive the harsh Norwegian winter and outwit an unscrupulous Troll inn keeper.

The cast were all quality performers, including locals Sam Moorhouse and Hannah Plant, both young talents who have risen through the Brewery youth arts programme.

* Daytime performances run until December 31; 7pm shows are on December 23/27/29.

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