We’re all familiar with Grimm’s fairy tales such as Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel, and Rumplestiltskin, but what if they were a little more fair than fairy? In his show Grimm’s Fairer Tales, Eden Ballantyne of Stories Alive sets out to tell more feminist versions of the brothers Grimm’s classic tales.
Starting with an exciting version of Red Riding Hood, called Red the Killer of Wolves, Ballantyne brings a number of children (and sometimes grown-ups) onto the stage to help him tell the story. The three stories that make up the show, Red Riding Hood, a version of Hansel and Gretel in which the titular characters are 30 years old and their parents abandon them at a job centre, and a version of Rumplestiltskin in which marriage isn’t a foregone conclusion and the women of the village are the heroes of the story, all present an updated twist on the classics for a 21st century audience.
Grimm’s Fairer Tales is an engaging and entertaining show, which delights the children and adults in the audience alike. Throughout the piece, the whole audience is given opportunities to get involved if they want to, and Ballantyne’s enthusiastic and attentive style of storytelling draws the whole room into the tale. Grimm’s Fairer Tales will make you laugh your socks off, at the same time as asking questions about women and girls’ roles in classic fairy tales. A charming and lively hour of storytelling, Grimm’s Fairer Tales is worth a watch!
Grimm’s Fairer Tales runs at Pleasance Courtyard until August 27th as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
As part of a pair of shows, There May Be Pirates…There May Be Dragons, Eden Ballantyne of Stories Alive presents the exciting story of Gilly and the dragon egg she finds while playing hide and seek. Having found the egg, but not knowing what it is, Gilly takes it home with her, and when a dragon hatches, the adventure begins.
The story is an engaging and dramatic tale that captures all of the excitement of classic fairytales, but it goes one step further. While it captures the thrill of a classic fairytale, it doesn’t leave the adventures to knights or princes, instead, our protagonists are both young girls who decide to take matters into their own hands, and raise and protect the dragon themselves. It is a refreshing story that opens itself out to everyone listening.
Playing the role of Gruff, the troubadour, Ballantyne narrates the story with a magically infectious enthusiasm. Though the production is, for the most part, a simple and pared-back storytelling session, the few props used are truly beautiful and very effective. The main prop used is a dragon puppet, used to portray Crackle the dragon. It is a well made puppet that seems to take on a life of its own under Ballantyne’s direction. Another notable point in the performance is when Gruff calls for children to volunteer to help in acting out scenes from the story. With a light-hearted, low-pressure approach, Ballantyne involves his young audience in the show and lets them share in the excitement of the story.
There May Be Dragons, is an excellent storytelling show that takes a classic style and format and breathes new life into it in the form of the adventurous characters of Gilly and Brenna.
Hispaniola, Drummond Street
Poetry as a schoolchild is sadly often a rather arduous affair. Often our first introduction to poetry is through learning worthy verses by rote, or reading poetry almost purely for the purpose of memorising it, rarely getting a taste of the excitement and insight poetry can provide. Artists like Dommy B are the perfect antidote to that. Brimming with enthusiasm and energy, Dommy B takes to the stage in Dommy B Presents…, a vivacious performance poetry show aimed at children aged five and above.
Telling the story of Spark the Goblin, Dommy B confidently includes every member of the audience in his storytelling. Not only does he include call and response and repetition sections, but he gathers suggestions from the audience with which he improvises verses. Even with the most bizarre suggestions from children in the audience, “artichoke” being a personal favourite, Dommy B comes up with entertaining verses and rhymes. His interactions with the audience, particularly its younger members, are easy and assured, never seeming forced or awkward, and he keeps the audience entirely on board with the story from start to finish.
As you join in the tale of Spark the Goblin as he learns the importance of kindness, you will be treated to a fun story, sharp writing and a memorable collective experience not only as audience members, but as co-creators of the poetry performed in front of you.
Dommy B Presents… runs at Hispaniola, Drummond Street until 26th August as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.