[Victoria Fringe Festival ’15] Rumpelstiltskin and Other Tales, A Review

Metro Studio Theatre
1411 Quadra St.
Victoria, BC

Sept 5 | 12:15 pm
Sept 6 | 11:30 am

45 minutes

No fan of the tales collected by The Brothers Grimm and adapted to stage will want to miss the Victoria Fringe Festival‘s two presentations of their works. Rumpelstiltskin and Other Works is aptly named and perhaps bit misleading. Not all the two remaining acts in this three-part show are going to be based on these folklorist’s works. In the other show that’s still playing, The Untold Tales of Brothers Grimm, which is technically more sophisticated, this version is adapted for youths to listen to.

Jeff Leard from Story Theatre Company is certainly a tour-de-force of energy. He can change character personalities like the flick of a switch. The London Free Press says he’s a young Robin Williams, but I saw a bit of Jim Carrey in his performance. I noticed some of the manic slyness in a few of the personas Leard plays. The content is very friendly for young ears so parents need not fret.

In this 45 minute show, Leard needs to figure out how to balance out which stories take precedence. Because the production is dedicated to this pesky gnome, much of the time is eaten up in 30 minutes. Another tale, titled “Drip Drip Drip” gets told in 10 minutes and Aesop‘s Fable, “The Wind and the Sun” is recounted in the remaining time. The way he breezes through the story is lean and mean, and that’s great when noting that not every child has the same level of attentiveness. When Leard can captivate, I can listen to him for a solid 90 minutes!

In this all ages show, everyone is welcomed to come in to listen. Upon entry, anime enthusiasts might notice the entryway music. Although slightly out-of-place because the soundtrack is not European, the Japanese album to My Neighbor Totoro might get heard. The Friday show had the music box collection playing and this might get changed up for other days. Setting the atmosphere is important and while the tune did inject a sense of innocence and magic for the show, the more careful observer will know this song is not given that Totoro is no prankster. He’s a protective owl-like spirit of the woods!

3½ Blokes out of 5


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