Theatre Review: FairyTales For Grown Ups @ Soho Theatre

By Londonist Last edited 81 months ago
Theatre Review: FairyTales For Grown Ups @ Soho Theatre

Once upon a time… not twice… not three times… but one time only…  And so begins our evening of storytelling for grown ups written and performed by Ben Haggerty.

Ben commences with an explanation that although these tales are for grown ups, they have ‘grown up’ content which is distinctly different from ‘adult’ content. After a twinge of disappointment at the lack of smutty anecdotes to come, we settled down to be entertained.

And entertained we were: transported to a world where magic and witches exist, a violent world where the devil can emerge from under bridges to unsuspecting travellers and a world where the protagonist is generally called Jack.

If, like us, you last heard a fairy story at your mother’s knee, you may not have realised that these stories were originally aimed at adults and, rather than being written down, were passed orally through the generations. Ben explains the nastier side has been toned down, giving way to the more child-friendly versions of drugging incidents, murderous step parents, hungry wolves and ginger biscuits with escapist tendencies that we know today.

Little did we realise that Ben demands audience participation in his stories. We’re forced to exercise our brains in helping progress the action and, in doing so, testing Ben and his impressive skill for quick witted improvisation in response to our suggestions.

This evening was a refreshing change, taking us back to a time prior to today’s sophisticated entertainment options. Ben is an accomplished and charismatic performer, drawing the audience into his stories with his passionate and intense delivery; he holds our attention for the entire performance, leaving us hanging on his every word.

We’re forced to admit that the lack of ‘adult’ content is not an issue; this is well worth a visit.

By Rachel Phillips

FairyTales for Grownups is a Crick Crack production and was shown at the Soho Theatre on 23 November. Details of future Crick Crack productions can be found on their website.

Last Updated 28 November 2011