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The Happy Endings Have Been Stolen!

Published: 29 August 2019
Reporter: Peter Lathan

Following the success of balletLORENT’s versions of Rapunzel (2012–14), Snow White (2015–16) and Rumpelstiltskin (2017–18), former Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy has written a new story, The Lost Happy Endings, which the Newcastle-based dance theatre company, under its choreographer and director Liv Lorent, will première at Northern Stage from 31 October to 3 November 2019.

“Both as a poet and as a parent, I’ve always loved revisiting and retelling our traditional myths and fairytales,” Duffy said. “As we have developed the story, we found we weren’t only dealing with the Lost Happy Endings, but also the alternative middles.”

It’s the story of a magical girl called Jub who lives deep in the forest and has six fingers on each hand. Her job is to guard the Happy Endings to stories and fairytales. But one day, an otherworldly Witch steals them, and at bedtime the stories are destroyed...

Goldilocks changed the locks on the cottage of the three bears...
Cinderella’s foot is now too big for the glass slipper…
Little Red Riding Hood is gobbled up by the wolf…
Pinocchio’s nose never stops growing; in fact, it’s grown so long that he arrives everywhere a whole day before he sets off!

As the Witch disappears with the stolen Happy Endings, it is up to Jub to save the night, encountering many much-loved fairytale characters and woodland creatures in her quest...

As well as Liv Lorent and Carol Ann Duffy, the creative team reunites composer Murray Gold, dramaturg Ben Crompton and lighting designers Malcolm Rippeth and Michael Morgan. Also joining the production are set designer Neil Murray, fashion and costume designer Nasir Mazhar and narrator Joanna Lumley.

balletLORENT's dancers will be joined on stage by 18 local children aged 7–10. Some of these have taken part in balletLORENT’s previous fairytales and some have been selected through a 6-week schools project in areas of socio-economic inequality, including St Paul’s CE Primary, Westgate Hill Primary Academy, Central Walker CE Primary and Knop Law Primary.

The Lost Happy Endings runs at Northern Stage on 31 October at 6:00, 1 November at 1:00 and 6:00 and 2 November at 1:00 (relaxed performance) and 6:00 and is co-produced by Northern Stage and commissioned by Sadler’s Wells.