The Hunters Grimm**** (Promenade Performance in Deptford)

Posted: October 24, 2014 in Theatre

the hunters grimmThis review was originally written for The Public Reviews:

These are grim times for the Brothers Grimm. They have no more stories to tell and they need our help to scour the streets of Deptford and find new ones. But, to worsen matters, one of them, Wilhelm is suffering from severe depression, making it essential that we find a happy story cheer him up. Teatro Vivo’s theatrical journey, presented in conjunction with the Albany Theatre, is a trek through the streets, shops, bars and back alleys of Deptford, encountering the bizarre and the charming, the pretty and the pretty gruesome, with song, dance and lots of dodgy German accents thrown in along the way. Two parties begin the expedition, taking separate routes and meeting occasionally when two stories connect. Jakob (Mark Stevenson) and Wilhelm (Joel Mellinger), along with their devoted friend Dot (Kas Darley) send us on our way and we soon hear a salutary tale of gambling which leaves us outside the residence of a Mr Paddy Power. We are then ushered to the back of a delicatessen where a wolf (Mellinger again) is sprawled across a sofa, too fat to move; he tells us of his encounter with a young lady in red. Further back, someone’s sister, a not too pretty lady (Sarah Finigan) amputates her big toe in preparation for a shoe fitting and, outside, a rough sleeper named van Winkle is woken from his slumbers as we pass. Yet still no happy stories to tell to Wilhelm. We need a break and head for a bar called The Job Centre, where a lady using a Zimmer frame gives dancing lessons. Then it’s back on the trail and maybe we can help a demented frog (Finigan again and utterly hilarious) to achieve its ambition to be turned back into a prince; sadly, the frog turns out to be into sadomasochism and granting its wish could land us into trouble with the RSPCA. Another unhappy story, but now there is Rapunzel (T’nia Miller) waiting outside Poundland, to offer us a ray of hope. Delightful performances by the five who cover all the roles make this a splendid journey of childish (but not children’s) entertainment which gets better as it progresses. Topical references and quick-witted repartee from them all are a bonus. Of course, clement weather helps too as does the unlikely location of Deptford, quiet in the evenings, but with a few locals around to contribute friendly heckling, particularly as we are walking along the High Street singing a nonsense song in a chorus behind Rapunzel. Inside the Albany, the Brothers eagerly wait for us to report our findings, which hopefully will include that elusive story to lighten Wilhelm’s gloom. And do we all live happily ever after? You bet (well for a couple of hours at least).

Performance date: 23 October 2014

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