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 Blue/Orange at Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton

The challenging and socially relevant Blue/Orange by Joe Penhall was published in 2000 and back then, this caustic exploration of mental health, and more specifically black mental health issues, was a tremendously relevant play. When it debuted on stage in London, the cast of just three was played by Bill Nighy, Andrew Lincoln and Chiwetel Ejiofor. Director James Dacre doesn't have those names to play with so much in his cast, however here, he has worked with the writer himself to rework the play for a more modern audience. Does it still shock, and is the relevance still there today? Sadly, perhaps, the answer is yes, as doctors Bruce Flaherty and Robert Smith come to verbal blows over the health of patient Christopher, at times, you feel 21 years shed little light on how mental health is approached. Many references in the script, still sit unquestionably in the year 2000, however, with this reworking, one thing has changed dramatically. In the original version of the play, the two

Review of Shrek (NMTC) at Royal & Derngate (Derngate), Northampton

Three and a half years ago, in a land far far away, in a world very different to the one we are now in, I saw the touring professional production of Shrek The Musical , it was a mixed bag of quality, tilted extremely heavily in favour of one particular character (not the one you might expect) and not firing on all cylinders much of the time. One and a half years after my last visit to the Derngate theatre, I return to see the homegrown Northampton Musical Theatre Company's own take on the very same show. Would they be able to breathe more life into the show than the professionals did in that distant land? It is a bit of a yes and no really. Pretty much all of this is done to the best possible standard, and at times, with being an amateur show you could easily forget, they all have normal day jobs. The show oozes professional quality at times. The set looks magnificent, the costumes (from Molly Limpet's Theatrical Emporium) are superb, and as ever with NMTC, the backstage team c

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)