The Lion & Unicorn Theatre, London
Director – Rafe Beckley
Set & Costume Designer – Wai Yin Kwok
Performers -Alice Birch, James Canvin, Annie Clarke, Emma Manley, Stuart Mansell, Minna Pang, Meriel Rosenkranz, Abi Unwin-Smith & Gemma Sinclair
Photographer – Andrea Heapmans
Storytellers bring to life an array of six tales by Hans Christian Andersen, including Big Claus Little Claus, The Steadfast Tin Soldier, The Story of A Mother and more. The travellers leap in and out of the action to carrate the stories or bring the characters to life.
Members of nine Romany travellers who are used to living the outskirts of society, invite the audience upstairs to the theatre from the Lion and Unicorn bar. There is an ominous sense of entering another world, a travellers’ encampment festooned with shawls and sheets and blankets, pots, pans and packing cases, all ready to be loaded onto unseen wagons and whisked away to another transient abode.
“The audience is led (or, to be more precise, directed) to a hotchpotch of seats and tables, lit by candles and lamps. No longer a theatre, the space has been transformed by Wai Yin Kwok’s deft design into a fully-functioning arena for the dissemination of make-believe and folk-tale.” – Kevin Quarmby, British Theatre Guide
“A fish swallows a tin soldier? Snap open a purse and here’s its mouth. A field of flowers? Massed gloves and we’re there. Imaginative stagecraft is the brightest asset of these Dark Tales.” – Mark Valencia, Whats On Stage
“This is borne out by our discovery of the set: maybe a doss-house in old Copenhagen or an encampment in a barn at harvest time; at all events, peasant and earthy, and full of junk, just about every last trifle of which finds its use in the story-telling. And it has too a hint of the gypsy about it, something which both underlines the otherly, universal reach of the tales…”