This review will be unusually brief, as the feelings of intrigue and mystery created by Philip Pullman’s masterful reimagining of the fairy tale is better experienced than described. This is theatre-in-the-round at its best, with characters weaving in and out of the clusters of audience members scattered throughout the perfectly eerie performance spaces. The performers’ fluid transition from narration to acting creates a seamless chronicle that flows at a good pace. This pace is what makes the minimalist storyline fly, unencumbered by the trappings of modern storytelling like backstory and description. To borrow from Einstein, storytelling “should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler”. Suffice it to say that, of the five stories, the ones you think you know beforehand you’ll see in a new light, and the ones you hadn’t known existed previously – here I am specifically thinking of the half-man half-hedgehog who rides on the back of a cockerel, playing his bagpipes – will be left engrained in your memory. Get yourself down to the Shoreditch Town Hall basement, and let yourself be carried away by the ambience, the acting, and above all the reinvention of stories handed down generation to generation.
Continues until 24 April, book here.
Written by a Thoroughly Modern Man, James Bomford.