Rumpelstiltskin and the Wheel of Fortune
Theatre of Widdershins
Scottish Storytelling Centre
When you enter the theatre at the Scottish Storytelling Centre for the latest piece by Theatre of Widdershins, children are asked for their first names by storyteller Andy Lawrence so that they can be given their "fairy name"—some of which will pop up later in the story.
On a stage covered in hay bales, our storyteller asks the audience whether they would like to be able to turn straw into gold, neatly leading his listeners from the familiar and the everyday into the story of greedy King Avarice who learns of a girl called Polly Buckwheat who, according to her tall-tale-telling father, can spin straw into gold.
Unlike any of Corny Buckwheat's friends, the King believes the story and marries Polly, afterwards insisting that she carries out her supposed skill. As she languishes in a cell full of straw, a strange little man appears and offers to help—but of course there is a price to be paid.
Everything in the show appears out of these hay bales, which open up to reveal various sets for the puppetry scenes, all of which have been created, along with the puppets, by Lawrence. These are beautifully made and create the perfect style and atmosphere for the fairy tale.
The stories themselves are constructed from the familiar language of storytelling with a few modern slang expressions thrown in, but the charismatic storyteller makes it all blend together smoothly and with lots of humour both for children and for adults.
Throw in a few simple conjuring tricks and this is a great little piece of storytelling theatre that will easily keep childen entertained for an hour and which will equally entertain the adults accompanying them—or who didn't feel it necessary to bring a child.
Reviewer: David Chadderton