Monday, 23 April 2018

Fairy Tale Heart by Philip Ridley
Nottingham New Theatre.
Directed by Joe Strickland assisted by Essie Butterworth.
Produced by Charlie Basley
Technical Director Becca Potts.
Fairytaleheart features two fifteen-year-olds, Kirsty and Gideon, who meet for the first time and come to terms with their broken families by sharing their hopes, fears and past experiences - as well as stories - in a derelict community centre.
Kirsty (Molly Johnstone) is hurting from her mother’s death and stunned by the news that her father is about to remarry, she feels alone and alienated, but encounters the company of an unlikely kindred spirit inside the crumbling building.
Gideon (Summerly Burbridge) is also nursing inner pain, but has found solace within his fairytale heart and his make believe world of Karamazoo. After their initial defensive banter they begin to open up to each other and start helping each other to view their lives differently.
The humour and conversation is typical of the age group, I was going to say juvenile but that would belie the grown up attitude beneath the minds of the teenagers. Gideon's way of solving - or some may say masking - the issues they are both experiencing is clever by putting the very real issues they both have into this imaginary story and finding out what those characters would do.
By doing this they discover that they have a lot more in common than they initially thought, and that brings the two opposites closer together by a little give and take on both sides.
Molly and Summerly really get into character as 15 year olds, and I had no trouble seeing them as such. The physicality and the language style are spot on, which is also a compliment to the Director, Joe Strickland who has brought this little fairy tale bubble to life.
Joe also designed the set, which reminded me of a community centre I used to go to. The mural and the desk of painting bottles, you could almost smell that white PVA glue.
The closed community centre setting with no heating and lighting was made more of a secretive den like atmosphere with the lighting (Ed Eggleton). The dim lighting, which gradually grew lighter the more candles that were lit, as well as when the fantasy story settings were described, the setting was dimmed to make you focus on the story and the two characters.
Also making this story come alive was the soundscape, designed by Tara Prasad. the sound of the traffic, the birds, the jungle sounds all guiding your senses to where the story teller wanted you to transport you to.
Kirsty had come away from her 15th Birthday party so she was dressed appropriately in party gear, whereas Gideon clothes were holey and dirty, again, opposites attracting. Bringing these physical appearances to life as well as with the hair and make up (Nat Henderson) creates a lovely visual piece of theatre.
Ridley's script is also beautifully written and well observed.
This is part of the University's Fringe Season and we often think that "Fringe" means alternative. Not so in this case as this is one piece of theatre that is a lovely, gentle piece of theatre for all age groups leading to thought provoking discussion periods.
“Fairytale Heart” is at the Nottingham New Theatre until Tuesday 24 April 2018

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