Theatre of Widdershins bring Rumpelstiltskin and the Wheel of Fortune to Fringe 2013

This article is from 2013

Rumpelstiltskin and the Wheel of Fortune

Widdershins' Andy Lawrence appreciates 'strong sense of darkness that runs through' the fairytale

Stories told in childhood stay with us forever, and there can’t be many parents out there who don’t recall the weaselly wonder of little old Rumpelstiltskin. It’s a tale ripe for theatricality, and if ever there was man to do it, it’s Andy Lawrence.

In recent years, Lawrence and his Theatre of Widdershins have captivated Fringe audiences with charming puppets, witty dialogue and a set so innovative you want to run off with it. After the success of The King's Got Donkey’s Ears and Rapunzel & the Tower of Doom among others, Lawrence is back to tackle the Brothers Grimm classic.

Rumpelstiltskin is my favourite Grimm’s tale and I think this is the case for many people who grew up on fairy tales,’ says Lawrence. ‘There’s a strong sense of darkness that runs through it: the foolish miller (Corny Buckwheat in my version) mistakenly betrays his daughter, the King locks his bride in a dungeon, and Rumpelstiltskin himself is helpful on the surface yet sinister underneath. There’s a real case of “out of the frying pan and into the fire”. But most importantly, the story contains magic and I think that’s what most people remember.’

As always, Lawrence has remained true to what we love about the original tale, yet put his own inimitable stamp on it.

‘The “spin” I put on tales is not a deliberate desire to make them our own, more a method of explaining some of the characters’ actions,’ says Lawrence. ‘I try not to be heavy-handed with logic, but for me the weak part of the story is why the Queen would marry the King after she has been imprisoned and threatened. That’s where the change lies in the plot. Most of the spin, however, is in the wheel itself.’

Scottish Storytelling Centre, 556 9579, 1–25 Aug (not 19), 1pm, £9 (£7). Previews 30 & 31 Jul, £5.

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Rumpelstiltskin and the Wheel of Fortune

  • 4 stars

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