Tag Archives: Hannah Benson

A Fairytale Revolution

★★★★

Theatre503

A Fairytale Revolution

A Fairytale Revolution: Wendy’s Awfully Big Adventure

Theatre503

Reviewed – 7th December 2019

★★★★

 

“wholesomely joyous and bitingly witty”

 

We all know how a fairy-tale goes: Baddies and goodies each play their part, the goodies prevail and, of course, they all live happily ever after. But how would you feel playing the same part forever and ever? Wendy (Anais Lone) has spent her forever and ever looking after The Lost Boys, cooking, cleaning, and being the nice little lady she was written to be. But she feels certain she could do something different; she wants a true adventure! Meanwhile on the other side of Neverland, Hook (Louise Beresford) has grown tired of the pirate’s life, and secretly pores over his poetry. No more swashbuckling and kidnapping for him, instead he dreams of perfecting the haiku. The two misfits decide to team up and rewrite their parts. But can they change their stories without suffering the wrath of the narrator?

The idea of the narrator as a fearsome tyrant is brilliant, represented by an omniscient overhead voice and a pink glow. The dulcet, soporific tone we all know as fairy-tale storyteller finally faces the modern world, where women can be any number of things, and men needn’t express themselves through violence, and of course that puts rather a spanner in most classic fairy-tales.

As you can imagine, the land of Happily Ever After is filled with tens and tens of your favourite heroes and villains, so with a cast of only four, they have to get rather imaginative. Aside from each performer playing a bunch of characters, there’s some great use of puppetry and props (as designed by Daisy Blower). I particularly enjoyed the two hats on a stick for Helena Morais to present Hansel and Gretel, swapping between the two as she follows a trail of imaginary biscuits across the stage.

The evening is of course jam packed with big musical numbers (written by Hannah Benson) aping some all-time classics. The musical highlight is most definitely the ode to Rocky Horror with “Let’s do the pirate again” (It’s just a slash to the left, an eye patch to the riiiiight) – hard not to join in with that one I must say. There’s a slight problem with pitch across the whole cast, but it doesn’t really matter when they’re all belting their hearts out and clearly having a whale of a time.

Writers Louise Beresford and Anna Spearpoint have created some absolutely brilliant characters – Baker Swife, for example, as played by Spearpoint has been banished for near on 200 years and has consequently engaged in a romantic relationship with her oven, Ken Wood. She has also created a ‘pick-me-up’ pie which basically induces a mind-altering revelatory orgasm in whomever takes a bite.

Normally a panto is written with kids in mind first and grown-ups second, but The Fairytale Revolution (directed by Carla Kingham), both wholesomely joyous and bitingly witty, is genuinely for the whole family. You don’t even need to take a kid as an excuse.

 

Reviewed by Miriam Sallon

Photography by Helen Murray

 


A Fairytale Revolution: Wendy’s Awfully Big Adventure

Theatre503 until 31st December

 

Previously reviewed at this venue:
The Art of Gaman | ★★★★ | October 2018
Hypocrisy | ★★★½ | November 2018
Cinderella and the Beanstalk | ★★★★ | December 2018
Cuzco | ★★★ | January 2019
Wolfie | ★★★★★ | March 2019
The Amber Trap | ★★★ | April 2019
J’Ouvert | ★★★★ | June 2019
A Partnership | ★★★ | October 2019
Out Of Sorts | ★★★★ | October 2019
Spiderfly | ★★★★★ | November 2019

 

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Tokyo Rose

★★★★

Underbelly Cowgate

Tokyo Rose

Tokyo Rose

Underbelly Cowgate

Reviewed – 13th August 2019

★★★★

 

“Burnt Lemon have shone a light on another silenced woman’s story, leaving the audience educated and thoroughly entertained”

 

Slick and inventive, Burnt Lemon’s new musical focuses on one American woman’s struggle through war and xenophobia to get back home. Based on the story of Iva Toguri vs the United States, we meet Iva (Maya Britto) in her formative years at UCLA during the 1940s. She is an American woman of Japanese descent “Born with American dreams running through (her) veins”. At the request of her mother (Yuki Sutton) she goes to Japan to care for a sick aunt. Within a few weeks. the events at Pearl Harbour instigate the US joining World War Two leaving Iva stranded, unable to go back to America and without a family.

She is pressurised by the Japanese government to renounce her American citizenship and broadcast anti-American propaganda at Radio Tokyo. In rebellion, she refuses to give up her American status and becomes a double agent passing disguised messages to the American allies through her supposedly anti-American indoctrination. When Iva is later brought to trial by the United States accused of treason, the injustice of her tribulation sits heavy in the air.

The plot is very convoluted but the writing partnership of Maryhee Yoon and Cara Baldwin has been concise and eloquent in exhibiting the facts. Bolstered by composer William Patrick Harrison’s pop-cum-rap music which resonates with some jaw dropping vocals throughout, in particularly from Lucy Park and Yuki Sutton. The ensemble multi-rolling as many different characters is impressively smooth, as is their choreography and physical storytelling.

Luke W Robson’s set design is minimalist, and versatile. With the wooden Radio Tokyo apparatus at the heart of the set, later used as the judge’s bench when Iva arrives in the American courtroom.

Tokyo Rose, from this all female powerhouse, is truly astonishing. Burnt Lemon have shone a light on another silenced woman’s story, leaving the audience educated and thoroughly entertained.

 

Reviewed by Liz Davis

 


Tokyo Rose

Underbelly Cowgate until 25th August as part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2019

 

 

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