The Cardiffian

FAIRYTALES are so watered down these days, made ever-more safe for the precious ears of children. 

Theatr Iolo are shunning that method, and presenting groups of schools to the truth behind the Grimm brothers’ classic works

Grimm Tales is a four-cast member performance, telling the story of Hansel and Gretel, and Ashputtle, the original tale of Cinderella. The stories may be short, but they are light-heartedly harrowing, telling the hidden meanings to the twisted tales the brothers originally wrote. 

The set is a series of interlocking boxes, creating an imaginary array of different sets as the scenes progress.  The  lack of stable set recognition makes it possible for the mind to create a selection of locations.

The live music consisting of artful harmonies and vocal gymnastics, creates a slightly unsettling and deliberately off key atmosphere.  A level of uncertainty really takes over the audience. The actors used their bodies to create evocative sounds during violent scenes.  This was especially effective when the sound of bird wings was being mimicked by chest tapping.

The performances by the actors: Ceri, Cassie, Wiebke and Elliot, were inventive and believable.  They were approachable and enthusiastic enough to motivate a youthful audience. The direction by Kevin Lewis was intelligent, using the skills of each individual cast member.  

The children in the audience laughed and learned.  They were given the opportunity to question the actors and director about the performance and background story.

The questions were well received, and gave an insight to the show.  It also helped inform the audience about the history of the Grimm Brothers and their works, such as the name change of Cinderella.

The stories at the Sherman were not dumbed down for the children, and allowed them to really become gripped and shocked by the violence and the themes, without creating an unfriendly atmosphere. Grimm Tales is a truly smart performance suitable for everyone whether you are six or sixty.

Stephen Penn

The Cardiffian

Grimm TalesAled Rees