Skip to main content

Review of Fairytales For Grown Ups at Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton

Are you sitting comfortably? Oh, you're not. Well get off the spiky shaped toadstool and climb into your favourite comfy armchair at I am about to begin.

It was a cold and chilling evening on the very final day of January of the year two thousand and fifteen. There lay upon the fair land of the kingdom of the place known as Northampton the final remnants of a storm of snow, sleet and slush.

On this night a brave, debonair, handsome, tall and dark (well this clearly is a fairytale) gentlemen struck through the streets towards a striking building. This building made of fine bricks and sporting a protruding chimney of no smoke, held many delights upon this cold night. As the fine young gentlemen arrived he bustled through many patrons, fair of age, who gathered on this night to relish music and dance of a magical time the people did called the swinging sixties.

Our hero however was not at this place of theatrical things for this such spectacle. His destination was a place much older. A place much older than anyone within this building of dreams on this night. Sitting like a baby brother beside his boisterous larger sibling was the place people called the Royal Theatre.

On this night within this fine place were to be two tales told by two magical storytellers. As people gathered in the theatre, they scampered, hustled and scurried to their seats like some giant and weird game of musical chairs. However upon this night there was no music to wait to stop and seats were to be had by all. All were seated and all hoped that everyone had switched their magical portable communication devices off so everyone could listen to the wondrous tales in silent silence.

A man stalks on the stage in great leaps of leg. Tall and stately with billowing coat of length and tie of red. He boomed of voice and cried out CRICK and the crowd cried CRACK. Our hero who had not had story told before this night knew he was surrounded by many accustomed to such things. The man stayed briefly upon his place as he heralded another to take his corner upon this old, old stage.

A lady did come wielding bell of cow and rung and pranced around while telling her yarn. Spirited of foot and with musical instruments of old, she told a tale of wonder, of a white bear so bold. The audience sat captivated of tale of princess, of troll and of noses so bold. The narration was wondrous, with many voices made to tell her tale. Captivation was held until the very end after which many drinks were inhaled.

For the second tale the man strides back upon the boards and told a tale perhaps more bold. Booming of voice he told a tale of JACK and a blacksmith of mystery and disguise. There was imprisonment and split of limb and with wolf and eagle and slithery of snake and many fishes partaken. The crowd once again was enthralled until the magical ending.

It was indeed a night of wonder. A world away from cold. A magical place that our hero did become bewitched with and when he does journey their once again, he may cry CRACK more bold.


Performance reviewed: Saturday 31st January, 2015 at the Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton.

Fairytales For Grown Ups was held at the Royal & Derngate (Royal) on Saturday 31st January, 2015 to celebrate National Storytelling Week and featured performers Ben Haggarty and Sally Pomme Clayton. For more information visit their websites at http://benhaggarty.com/ and http://www.sallypommeclayton.com/

For further details about the Royal & Derngate visit their website at http://www.royalandderngate.co.uk/

Popular posts from this blog

Review of Market Boy by The Royal & Derngate Actors Company at Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton

I have now written a little over two hundred and fifty reviews on this blog (yes I know, amazing. I am sorry). Most shows I have enjoyed, many I have given four star reviews, a good number have also got that lofty five stars from me. There is however hiding among them five star reviews, another tier of brilliance. One that lies in my head, where everything comes together to go beyond that five, but where I have nothing left to give. The play, the performances, the staging, and perhaps even more to elevate what is a personal opinion as a review, an actual personal emotional feeling or connection towards the piece.
Market Boy written by David Eldridge and performed by the Royal & Derngate Actors Company will (spoiler intended) receive five stars from me at the end of this review. However as that first paragraph suggests, this was one of those that went a little further for me. Set in what I happily claim as my decade and featuring throughout the music of that decade, which I claim …

Review of Benidorm Live at Milton Keynes Theatre, Milton Keynes

I arrived at Milton Keynes Theatre to see this touring stage version of ITV comedy hit Benidorm with a distinct lack of knowledge. Having never seen the show, my information stretched as far as knowing it was set in a holiday resort in Spain (the title helps there), and that the humour generally resorted to the cruder end of the spectrum. However, having graced the screens for ten years, it was clear that Derren Litten's show had garnered quite a following, and indeed it was clear from the reception of the audience on the night, that this following was pretty much filling the theatre.

The plot, such as it is for this stage show, is very much drafted from an episode of Fawlty Towers, and made a great deal more adult with its humour. The hotel manager, Joyce Temple-Savage (a sharp performance by Sherrie Hewson) gets wind that a hotel inspector is in, and the scene is set for seeking them out and all the obvious cases of mistaken identity. It's thin and doesn't fill the show,…

Review of Hacktivists by Ben Ockrent performed by R&D Youth Theatre at Royal & Derngate (Underground), Northampton

The National Theatres Connections series of plays had been one of my highlights of my trips to R&D during 2014. Their short and snappy single act style kept them all interesting and never overstaying their welcome. So I was more than ready for my first encounter with one of this years Connections plays ahead of the main week of performances at R&D later in the year.

Hacktivists is written by Ben Ockrent, whose slightly wacky but socially relevant play Breeders I had seen at St James Theatre last year. Hacktivists is less surreal, but does have a fair selection of what some people would call odd. Myself of the other hand would very much be home with them. So we are presented with thirteen nerdy "friends" who meet to hack, very much in what is termed the white hat variety. This being for good, as we join them they appear to have done very little more than hacked and created some LED light device.

Crashing in to spoil the party however comes Beth (Emma-Ann Cranston) and…