Box Tale Soup have been visiting the Fringe for a number of years now. Following last year’s sellout success, Turn Of The Screw, this year sees them return to the Underbelly with their Great Grimm Tales. It’s tribute to the company’s reputation that the Big Belly is sold out on this rainy Sunday morning – with barely a child in sight. For these are fairy tales as they were originally told, full of blood, guts, beasts and gore.
A man leaves his family for three nights to keep watch at the grave of his neighbour, a man he barely knew. But when he visited him in crisis a few days before, his neighbour told him an extraordinary story. And so we are drawn into a murky world of evil spirits, skeletal cats, mysterious strangers, kings, peasants and the very devil himself.
The tricky thing about retelling fairy tales is they call for a quantity of magic. But with a versatile set, a pop-up fire, a handful of accessories, puppets, props (watch out for the jug of blood), some beautiful hand-crafted masks and some nifty choreography, Box Tale Soup make all the magic they need.
Noel Byrne is a faithful neighbour, a romantic King and has a (Yorkshire) accent that seems perfectly suited to recounting these grisly tales. Antonia Christophers is a suitably mysterious soldier / stranger, a charmingly hapless boy who wants to learn what fear is and an endearingly distraught daughter who finds herself in the backyard by the ailing apple tree at just the wrong time. And Sebastian Christophers is a perfectly debonair Devil.
The stories are set to a fabulous rock and roll soundtrack, reminding us that these macabre tales are best appreciated by adults. The children in this audience sat rapt for the hour and ten duration as nothing in the content – darkness, devils and evil beasts aside – is age-inappropriate. But these dark tales are a walk on the wild side, whatever your age. Enjoy.