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Review of Once Upon A Grimm Tale by The Royal & Derngate Actors Company (Early) at Judge's Lodgings, Northampton

Once upon a time, there was a brave theatrical reviewer. He lived in a market town in deepest darkest Englaland, where many great and remarkable things of stage did occur. At the centre of this wondrous world of performing spectacles was a place referred to by many as the Royal Derngatus, a place of people pretending to be other people and telling tales of mystery, intrigue and frolics.

Within the fortressed walls of Royal Derngatus, there were a group of fearless players who entertained local folk for no reward, other than the thrill of seeing the joy in the faces of others. Those group of artists went by the name of Actors Companus, which many pronounced carefully when they did say it out loud. This group of merry men and women did have two forms, an early and a late, and but two days before this adventurous evening of forthcoming storytelling, the late group did perform for a third and final time a most amazing feat of theatre, going by the name of Great Expectations.

Our hero of this story, often referred to as Criticus Maximus had early this day put down on vellum his thoughts of this piece of theatre pleasure and as he arrived by carriage at this evening's pleasures known as Once Upon A Grimm Tale, our reviewer was concerned to find himself in a waiting room filled to the very top of the world with those performing stars of that piece.

Very fortunately, our brave reviewer had gained great pleasure from the piece known as Great Expectations and had spreads words of goodness upon the vellum, so there was no danger for our hero from being trapped within four containing walls surrounded by these actors of the stage. However, in reality, our hero was not that concerned that even if the words be bad, his own story would have ended in a Grimm way itself upon a pyre. For it was told in the journals of history that our hero had battled deadly people in his four years of adventure, including defeating soldiers taking up arms for the dastardly Bill of Kenwright.

So our adventurer was safely entrenched in the place called Judge's Lodgings, a place he had never encountered before, despite being just a ten-minute trek from his castle and in the place he had called home for all his forty years upon this earth. He found deep within, gardens of splendour, hidden alcoves and places of wonder where many a fair and foul beast may lurk, including the deadly but already slain one known as Memberous Mackintoshus. He had already battled hard on this day of this spectacle of outdoor theatre, for this day in the calendar was also known as Flightus Antus Dayus as well so there was a contest against the foulest of foul insect to deal with also.

Within this place, eleven fair maidens were to tell tales of intrigue, death and destruction and fantastic beings. During this tale, the warrior known as Keith Maddern directed our hero and his willing companions in a most gloriously orchestrated rhythm of movement between the location of tale and tale. We began by a fair fountain, moved to a bench and then into further and further deeper secret gardens, before returning to our original location.

Our hero of this story has over four years seen many a teller as he has made it his mission to go to a monthly jousting of tellers minds known as Feast of Fools, so he came forth to this night with much experience of such things.

This night was one of great entertainment featuring well-known tales from Grimm mixed with a few less known samples of theirs. Tellers as always do did have styles of variation with the authoritative and clear like Rosemary Hill telling the pacy version of Hansel & Gretel and Christine Bowman with The Virgin Mary's Child. Then there be the exuberant and enthusiastic Bethany Kerr and Jennifer Kenny, with tales of The Gnome and The Poor Man and the Rich Man. Then we had the almost sultry and stalking style of Jerry Delaney pacing the steps as she told us the very famous tale of Rumplestiltskin. The evening finally concluded its collection of eleven stories with the confident Beverly Webster telling the tale of The Clever Farmers Daughter.

Many of these tellers were sharing their styles for the first time and every one of the eleven was certain in the delivery and it was clear that their incarceration for twenty perilous sessions of learning had been well spent.

So it was so, that following a trail of magical stories and joyful presentations, our hero did return home to his castle with a grin upon his face and the prospects of encountering these ladies of stories again with pleasure in a future magical land.

Performance reviewed: Monday 17th July 2017 at the Judges Lodgings, Northampton.
Once Upon A Grimm Tale by the Royal & Derngate Actors Company (Early) was performed Monday 17th July 2017 only.
For further details about the Royal & Derngate visit their website at

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