The Terrible Infants (4 stars)

This article is from 2008.

Edible dark fairytales

There are no happy endings in this collection of delectably dark fairytales: cannibal boy Tumb eats his mum, the unloved Thingummyboy evaporates and fibber Tilly grows a tail that lengthens with every tall tale she delivers. Writer Oliver Lansley’s rebellion against happily-ever-afters erupts onto the stage in circus make-up and a backdrop of live music in this brilliant production by Les Enfants Terribles.

Exquisite puppets and rag-doll costumes transform the stage into a moving storybook from which the enmeshed stories emerge. The production values are visibly vertiginous: the razor-sharp choreography confuses the distinction between puppet and actor and the stylised dialogue (the opening tongue-twister is a speech therapist’s wet dream) increases this sense of otherness. Neither the kiddy connotations of the fairytale nor the impersonal barn-like nature of the Udderbelly’s Pasture can discourage the adult audience, as the the visual splendour and rapid pace of the show more than holds the attention.

There’s a careful route to be trodden between bold, imaginative concepts and a slick, entertaining production at the Fringe. The Terrible Infants is a winning cocktail of the two, showcasing the admirable vision of the production designers and the physical, vocal and musical skills of the cast. This is ‘edible’.

Udderbelly’s Pasture, 0844 545 8252, until 25 Aug, 2.20pm, £12–£14 (£10–£12).

The Terrible Infants

  • 4 stars

An award-winning feast of faux-kids theatre and fairy stories from company 'Les Enfants Terrible'. A host of bizarre creations populate this pitch-dark blend of puppetry and live music. 'Part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe'

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