Great Grimm Tales @ Underbelly Cowgate

Box Tale Soup return to the Fringe armed with some seldom-told tales from the Brothers Grimm canon

Review by Dominic Corr | 13 Aug 2019
  • Great Grimm Tales @ Underbelly Cowgate

A wealth of seldom-told Grimm tales form the basis for this story-telling production. Notably, Fearnot – an early Germanic tale – laces throughout the production. Over a grand narrative, a man and boy watch over a grave for three nights in an attempt to keep out the devil. They share lessons in morals, warnings and laughs over Great Grimm Tales.

Everyone plays their parts, both humorous and serious, well. Fluid in motion, the performers shift seamlessly between characters, be they human or otherwise. With singing, dancing and a dose of comedic talents, we hear tales of Kings, Maidens and Demons, not shying from the grizzlier side of these anecdotes.

Creatively, Great Grimm Tales is missing a little magic. The company's previous productions utilise space on a larger scale, layers and levels to draw a sense of grandeur, but Great Grimm Tales never leaps from the pages. What puppetry is called-upon is inventive in design and construct, particularly the Lion’s head which can un-hinge to become a range of other foul beasts. These puppets are not in use quite as much as you may expect, with the focus instead on the live performers.

With such a bedrock of stories to unearth, Box Tale Soup strives to bring a sense of timeless wonder to audiences. Great Grimm Tales examines obscure stories (which is a welcome choice), but in shifting to focus more on their performers, they lose the appealing charms of the puppets, sliding panels and inventive storytelling they are known for.

Great Grimm Tales, Underbelly Cowgate (Big Belly), until 25 Aug, £9-11