Rumpelstiltskin and the Wheel of Fortune (4 stars)

This article is from 2013

Rumpelstiltskin and the Wheel of Fortune

Puppetry that spins pure gold

Perhaps it’s his funny name. Or the fact he can spin straw into gold. Whatever the reason, Rumpelstiltskin has remained a perennial fairytale favourite for over 200 years. Storyteller and puppeteer Andy Lawrence knows that, which is why apart from a few small tweaks, he has left the Brothers Grimm plot virtually intact.

Over the past few years, Lawrence and his company, Theatre of Widdershins have been responsible for some of the most glorious puppet shows on the Fringe. This year is no exception, because once again the key ingredient to Widdershins’ success is there – great sets.

Upon entering the theatre, you’d be forgiven for thinking that little time or effort had gone into the show’s staging. A few strands of straw, surrounded by several tied up hay bales. But as is always the case with Lawrence, all is not as it seems, because one by one, those bales open up to reveal new locations and characters.

Apart from the main guy himself, names have been changed to make the show Lawrence’s own, with King Avarice the Third ruling the land, Corny Buckwheat the miller whose daughter becomes queen, and Sneaky McGleaky the royal servant who finds out Rumpelstiltskin’s name.

Lawrence divides his time between chatting amiably to the audience and puppetry, and there’s a sense that the ratio could use some fine-tuning. Because when he picks up his beautiful creations, and breathes life into them, the show becomes even more engaging.

The odd funny line, aimed squarely at parents, hits the spot – while the silliness has the little ones copiously laughing out loud.

Scottish Storytelling Centre, 556 9579, until 25 Aug (not 19), 1pm, £9 (£7).

Rumpelstiltskin and the Wheel of Fortune

  • 4 stars

Poor Polly Buckwheat is in a bit of a pickle! If she doesn't turn a roomful of straw into gold by morning the greedy King will turn a bit nasty. But should she accept the help of an eccentric dwarf who mysteriously appears in her prison cell? Of all the fairy tale characters, Rumpelstiltskin is the most mixed up. He is…