<div style="display:inline;"> <img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/1028731116/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0">
12 ISSUES FOR £24 Subscribe to Surrey Life today click here

Guildford Shakespeare Company bring Grimms’ Fairy Tales to life in magical mirror tent – review

PUBLISHED: 11:08 12 October 2016 | UPDATED: 19:08 12 October 2016

The magical mirror tent hosting Guildford Shakespeare Company in Stoke Park (Photo: Chris Wilson)

The magical mirror tent hosting Guildford Shakespeare Company in Stoke Park (Photo: Chris Wilson)

CHRIS WILSON

Celebrating their 10th anniversary, Guildford Shakespeare Company heads into autumn with their seasonal move away from the Bard. This year, they’re tackling a medley of Grimms’ Fairy Tales in a rather unusual, even for them, setting in Stoke Park. Matthew Williams reports…

The Grimms' Fairy Tales cast playing out The Town Musicians of Bremen (Photo: Steve Porter) The Grimms' Fairy Tales cast playing out The Town Musicians of Bremen (Photo: Steve Porter)

A broken path recoils from the illuminated Guildford Cathedral beacon in the distance; headlights spin past, as unassuming drivers escape the night with the final miles of their commute; strangers congregate from the darkest corners of Stoke Park, all pulled towards an other worldly structure lurking at the most secluded end…

In my head, wolves are baying, witches are cackling and I’m desperately hoping this isn’t all connected to those ‘killer’ clowns that are suddenly grabbing the headlines. I hide behind two people who are clearly starting to become as suspicious of their invite as I am.

Suddenly, a voice trills out of the fairground nightmare ticket booth: “Hi Matt, how are you this evening? Welcome to our new home! Lovely, isn’t it?”

The night’s claustrophobia lifts as quickly as it had threatened to throttle, and the black clad woman in the shadows turns out to be Sarah Gobran, co-founder of the irrepressible Guildford Shakespeare Company.

She assures me that, yes, this is the venue for their production of Grimms’ Fairy Tales and, no, I’m not about to be ushered into some creatively camouflaged dungeon. Life returns to technicolour.

What I find in front of me is actually a rather marvellous thing indeed: it’s known as a spiegeltent, I’m told, a mobile dance hall of sorts that started life in the Low Countries (the Netherlands, Belgium etc). I still half expect to see Scooby-Doo and the gang being chased out by some masked marauder, mind.

I’m already on the edge of my seat before I’ve even reached it, with a bottle of Hogs Back’s TEA from the bar to steady my nerves. In the round, anticipation and expectation quickly take hold. Something a little different is clearly about to take place inside this strange structure. Red linen seats; mirrored walls; roll up, roll up atmosphere envelops…

Rattling through 10 of the Grimms’ more than 200 tales must have seemed a daunting task at the start of the production cycle, but the Guildford Shakespeare Company team clearly took to the challenge with relish.

The beautifully paced evening spins out with a series of craftily designed stagings, wittily reworked scripts and a healthy dose of the ridiculous, always using the seemingly doomed sibling duo of Hansel and Gretel as a hook to keep things on track.

The so-talented-it-makes-you-wonder-about-your-wasted-youth cast of just five actors (Charlotte James, Andy Owens, Dominic Rye, Rosie Strobel and Amelia Zadarnowska) casts a spell over the audience from the opening accordion to the final song – they play some 40 characters between them across the evening, switching effortlessly.

There are dark, light and beautiful moments, as the full range of the Grimms’ emotional stories and characters are wrought out on the small stage and around the room, with some cracking Monthy Python-eque comedy thrown in.

The Matt Berry-like Big ‘Badminton’ Wolf in Little Red Cap, the ‘can’t catch a break’ hopelessness of the knight-in-training in Rapunzel and the ‘dreaming of centre stage’ wicked witch, in particular, still have me chuckling today. The portrayal of the elves in The Shoe Maker is inspired – barely there and yet scene stealing (it’s the little details, right?). Then there’s Rumpelstiltskin…! I could go on, and it’s the subtler moments that tie the whole thing together rather than the bombastic set pieces that have firmly implanted themselves in my brain.

It’s fast paced, smart, wonderfully acted and all in a location that really sells the magic. You’ll be talking about it - and remembering bits you thought you’d forgotten - for weeks. It’s that kind of show. I’m still smiling. Right, I’ve said enough…

• Guildford Shakespeare Company’s Grimms’ Fairy Tales runs until Sunday October 30, various times, at The Mirror Tent, Challengers’ Field, Burchatt’s Farm, Stoke Park, Guildford GU1 1TU. Tickets: adults, £25; children under 16, £16.50. For more information and tickets, visit guildford-shakespeare-company.co.uk

***

Read on for more about Guildford Shakespeare Company’s 10th anniversary and history

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Surrey visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Surrey staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Surrey account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & About

Wed, 11:22

Andy Smith, Surrey branch director of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, takes us to one of Surrey’s most precious, yet undervalued, heritage assets – Painshill in Cobham – and explains why its peace and tranquillity could now be at risk

Read more
Wed, 10:45

Every month, Surrey Life teams up with Guildford’s Tourist Information Centre to reveal some of the best days out and things to do across Surrey

Read more
Tue, 22:01

You don’t have to travel far for great food and drink in Surrey these days. Make a note to visit these towns and villages for great pubs, restaurants, tea/coffee shops and independent stores

Read more
Tue, 10:34

Capture the Surrey Hills with our brand new photography competition; relax at some of our county’s very best summer pubs; go behind the scenes with top artists across Surrey; get style tips from Eimear Varian-Barry and Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer; and much more

Read more

A newcomer to the National Gardens Scheme this year, Shamley Wood Estate is tucked away in the Surrey Hills near Guildford

Read more
Mon, 22:06

The doors of Surrey’s new opera house are set to open to the public for the first time in June. Tinx Newton goes behind the scenes to speak to Wasfi Kani who, 30 years after launching her first opera company, is taking on her biggest challenge to date

Read more
Mon, 10:14

Bringing rural life to the heart of Guildford, Surrey County Show is a vibrant mix of farming, food and drink, shopping and more. Matthew Williams shines a spotlight on what you can expect

Read more
Thursday, May 18, 2017

Surrey is blessed with one of the most extensive footpath networks in the country. Chairman of Surrey Hills Society, Christine Howard, picks 10 easy countryside walks to explore for National Walking Month this May

Read more
Tuesday, May 16, 2017

A snoring dormouse was caught cuddling her tail as it napped in a National Trust ranger’s hand at Holmwood Common, near Dorking.

Read more
Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Every month, we team up with Guildford’s Tourist Information Centre to reveal some of the best things going on across the county.

Read more
Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Whether you love cycling or hate it, efforts are being made to appease both sides. Chairman of the Surrey Hills Society, Christine Howard, reports

Read more
Thursday, May 11, 2017

As the University of Surrey celebrates 50 years in our county town, Rebecca Younger delves into the archives to take a look back through some of its many moments of wonder

Read more
Thursday, May 4, 2017

King Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries between 1536 and 1541 was devastating but it has left this county with many spectacular ruins. Stephen Roberts takes a tour.

Read more
Tuesday, May 2, 2017

From woodland glades to film set masterpieces and vineyard wonders, Surrey has a wealth of beautiful gardens to visit throughout the open gardens season. Surrey Life gardening editor, Leigh Clapp, picks out 25 of her favourites*

*The gardens featured are listed alphabetically, not in order of preference

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad
Surrey Life Application Link

Local Business Directory

Surrey's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area



Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search