Five stories from Philip Pullman’s Grimm Tales is staged in the basement of Shoreditch Town Hall. Billed as an immersive fairytale, the audience is split into two groups and the performance takes place in three different rooms. The more famous Little Red Riding Hood and Rapunzel are told without much imagination or invention. The Three snake Leaves and Hans-My-Hedgehog are a little long winded without being all that interesting. though The Juniper Tree did have a darkness along with a haunting song and good use of puppetry to give a hint of what the production and the space are capable of. Sadly, it is a little too late as that comes as our final tale of the evening.
The mix of narration and acting slows down the flow of the narrative as The Wolf or Little Red Riding Hood said precedes what is actually said seems completely redundant. The set is nicely decorated although stacks of wooden chairs and wooden pallets seem to have little to do with the stories themselves other than working towards the brief of “make the space looks nice”.
Advertised as an immersive fairytale which automatically build up an expectation, perhaps some audience interaction and involvement, or even allowing the audience to roam around during the action. Unfortunately, it is very much mislabelled. It is at best a site specific performance with an audience that is dispersed around the performing spaces. Sight lines are not great at various points since it is a full house and the being labelled as immersive theatre seems to endorse some of the audience members to talk and take pictures during the show. And £35 a ticket is excessive for what it is, a competent enactment and retelling of a few Grimm Tales in nicely decorated rooms.