REVIEW: Grimm’s Tales For Young and Old by Chichester Festival Youth Theatre

Grimm's Fairy Tales for Young and Old. Hal Darling as The Wolf, Emily Wells as Little Red Riding Hood. Photo by Paul Inskip
Grimm's Fairy Tales for Young and Old. Hal Darling as The Wolf, Emily Wells as Little Red Riding Hood. Photo by Paul Inskip
The cast of Snow White which can now be seen at the Kings Theatre, Southsea

Six things to do in the next 48 hours: December 12 and 13

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If you go down to the woods today, you’re sure of a big surprise.

Because surprises are what the Chichester Festival Youth Theatre is good at – and their stab at Grimm’s fairytales have a twist in the tale.

The wooded glades of the Cass Sculpture Foundation provided the perfect backdrop to some magic, and as we have come to expect from the group, the costumes looked like they could have been straight out of a West End production of Sweeney Todd.

We were led around the park to watch each tale unfold in a different location, each darker than the last.

Well-known fables like Little Red Riding Hood and Rapunzel were de-Disneyfied, and tales involving hedgehog boys and goose girls were brought back to life.

Murder, cannibalism and blindings were the tip of the iceberg but things never got too heavy, as there was some wicked fun to be had on the dark side.

Clever set-pieces included a beheading using a pumpkin, which both shocked and amused, and a huge water jet which thankfully provided the night’s only downpour.

The performances did veer towards the over-earnest, but you can’t knock the cast for trying - especially for making themselves heard without microphones in such an open space.

And with this being the first show for more than half of the cast, this is no doubt just the first chapter in their story.