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Published January 9th 2014
Classic fairytales flipped on their heads
The energetic cast bringing Roald Dahl's Revolting Rhymes and Dirty Beasts to life.
Little Red Riding Hood reinvented as a trigger-happy heroine who secures herself a couple of wolf fur coats. Goldilocks recast as a thief and vandal who is subjected to some serious bear justice. Cinderella sans the glass slippers and sans the prince (he was flushed down the toilet if you absolutely must know).
Brought to the stage by La Boite and Shake & Stir, with both companies' signature upbeat energy, Roald Dahl's Revolting Rhymes and Dirty Beasts is playing until 18 January, with extra shows already added to cater to demand.
Opening night saw cast members Leon Cain, Judy Hainsworth, Nelle Lee and Nick Skubij put on flawlessly funny and physically demanding performances. A circular rotating stage and some seriously good stagecraft set the scene for their over-the-top adventures.
So some of the scenes were reminiscent of Shake & Stir's production of Animal Farm - such as a rebellious pig making a meal of his keeper - had me wondering whether nightmares might follow the after-party.
But I needn't have worried. The children around me were laughing in all the right places and the adults were laughing at all the jokes that were above the younger kids' heads. Beautifully gratifying, clever stuff.
I was less familiar with the Dirty Beasts part of the evening, but these were played with brevity and levity. The Porcupine , for instance, had the children in front of me screaming with laughter.
The artistic directors of Shake & Stir, Ross Balbuziente, Nelle Lee and Nick Skubij, say they can still recall where they were and what they were doing when they first read Dahl's Revolting Rhymes. '(His) books had already done the hard work for us when creating a script for the stage (but) it was still our aim to stir some new-and-old-school theatrical magic into these stories', they explain.
Roald Dahl's work has inspired many a storyteller and theatremaker.