By Traci O’Shaughnessy
I attended the matinee performance of this show on 29/12/11. Unfortunately we were booked into the morning performance but this show was cancelled as one of the main cast members (of which there were only four!), Toyin Omari-Kinch had seriously damaged his ankle. They used the morning performance as a “dress rehersal” to weave into the show the new props of a wheelchair and crutches which he now will have to use until the show’s run is over!
The show’s story is a heart warming tale of Jub, who collects all the happy endings for all the stories and posts them out every night to all the houses and bedrooms in the world so that the children can have happy endings when they have their bedtime stores. As in all great fairytales, a wicked witch intervenes and steals the happy endings and Jub and her friends have to defeat the witch and return the happy endings to all the stories.
All this is done using only four magnificent cast members and a beautifully magical set – all credit is due here to both the cast and set / scenic artists. It interlaces the storytelling of Snow White, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, and Hansel & Gretel alongside the main story of the show using a spellbinding array of language, imagery, puppetry, musical interpretation, and humour. I was captivated! As were my two boys aged 6 & 3!
All characters were played fantastically and despite the witch/ sparrow, played by Kiruna Stamell being a little scary at first the humour in her dancing won even my apprehensive 6 year old over in the end and he even began to warm to her! She was truly magnificent in this role.
Angel , played by Toyin Omari-Kinch was amazing, having to wheel himself around, which obviously wasn’t something that was scripted and once again my boys though he was very funny and loved that he played Cinderella !
The play is signed throughout but predominantly by Misletoe, played by Caroline Parker. I was completely captivated by her storytelling abilities and when she re-told the story of Hansel & Gretel you could have heard a pin drop – everyone hung onto her every word. I don’t think my 3 year old blinked once when she retold that story – we were memorised.
All characters are bought together by Jub, played by Emma Case – she was sublime in this role. All her emotions came through to the audience and we felt every word she expressed, the true feeling of friendship with the other cast also came across and again listening and watching her was magical. My two boys thought she was amazing. In fact they thought the whole thing was amazing!
The show was simply enchanting and even as a 37 year old women I was transported back to the wondrous feeling of being told stories. It reminded me of being young and when I was told all those stories by my parents with their added twists to make it more exciting! It also reminded me of the power that stories can have over the use of your own imagination.
It was fantastic to watch my children’s faces as they watched, and to see the little cogs of their own imagination building up the stories in their own minds as these four fabulous cast members acted out and sowed the seeds of the stories.
I cannot recommend this show enough. It is suitable for all the family and for children aged 3 up and for all genders – a big must for anyone who loves stories of imagination, friendship with a fairy tale structure encompassing humour and music.
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Visit www.macarts.co.uk or call 0121-446-323