Fairytales, Fables and Other Assorted Nonsense

Plum Grosvenor-Stevenson and Cal Moffat
Assembleth Theatre
Barbican Theatre, Plymouth

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Tanya Wylie as the Hood, Charlie Limm as Susan and Ryan Full as Wolfie

Great fun.

After a slightly slow start, writers and directors Plum Grosvenor-Stevenson and Cal Moffat’s latest madcap offering takes flight with a clever, hilarious and fantastical tale of revolt in fairytale woods.

Very Tom Holt-esquely, nice-but-insipid Susan (a convincing Charlie Limm) drops into a land ruled by the fearful Hood (formerly known as Little Red Riding Hood) whose grandmother’s somewhat hairy chin, a passing woodcutter and a bit of a mistake gifted her the neglected forest.

With her hench-Big Bad Wolf extracting with menaces exorbitant turnip taxes, the fairytale folk are ripe for revolution and looking for a leader.

A reluctant hero, armed only with a geometry compass and a baguette, Susan’s unwitting victory at the Certain Death For Anyone Falling Down This Cliff Cliff sparks the riot and thrusts her into the thick of the action.

The tremendously versatile Tanya Wylie and a charismatic Ryan Full play all the other parts—superbly—as the narrative introduces myriad childhood characters with a twist: Zen swordswoman Snow White, inflexible dwarfs, little pigs with degrees in architecture, a lying magic mirror, flag-waving bears, a chavvy Cinderella, gaol-breaking penguin and a kazoo-playing Prince Charming fresh from undercover work as the Pied Piper alongside a plague-ridden Puss In Boots.

Add a vegetarian intern lovelorn Wolfie, riotous montage, hilarious courtroom scene, shadow puppets, poisoned fruit and the best audience participation (not the usual panto cringeworthy stagnant fare) I’ve seen and—well I’d happily spend another 70 minutes watching it all over again.

Delightful—and heading off on tour. Catch it if you can.

Reviewer: Karen Bussell

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