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Once Upon A Time

Nicole Decsey reviews A Grimm Night, the new immersive theatre experience from Transcend | Dance Project.

This week before the clock strikes midnight walk into the Great Hall on Queen Street and discover classic stories from the brothers Grimm. Watch as the beloved fairytales of Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty come to life before your eyes with incredible choreography by Julia Cratchley, breath taking sets by Noelle Hamlyn, and performers that draw you into the action. But this is not a normal story book, it is up to you to create your journey. Be prepared.

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In A Grimm Night, there are two fairytales happening simultaneously in the building, yet they rarely meet. The dancers in Sleeping Beauty were incredible and made you want to know more of their story. The Evil Queen, originally played by Joey Arrigo in the premiere and now played by Sam Darius, is a complex character prowling through the corridors of the great hall while Prince Phillip runs recklessly as if he is being chased by ghosts. Both characters are exciting to follow. In the other room, the world-renowned ballerina Evelyn Hart does an exceptional job of portraying the manipulative stepmother of Cinderella, making the most mundane and ordinary moves fascinating. In a whirlwind of stories and characters these are the ones I would choose to follow. So, make sure you have your running shoes on because you wouldn’t want to miss what happens next. And it’s possible to do so.

Photos (L to R) by Audrianna Martin Del Campo, and Olivia Fedele

And here is where I fell a little behind. Having the opportunity to see the show twice I didn’t gather anything new from my second viewing. Meaning? I am not sure. Maybe I am just not cut out for a show where I don’t know what I am supposed to do next. I panicked, I wanted to see everything and probably missed out on some things. There is no explanation given on how to view the show except for the advice to go where you please and unfortunately no conversation afterwards. Without any direction I was torn between wanting to stay in one place to witness everything that was happening there and wanting to follow the characters I found most interesting. There was so much talent in one building, and I fear that I missed more than I saw.

When you do go to see this show, as I truly hope you get a chance to experience this type of theatre, take the time to notice the small things aside from the plot. Walk through the set get close to the characters. They will interact with you, and you will be able to see the incredible detail that was considered, nurtured, and incorporated into the show. The tavern, the butterfly garden, the royal decree, all these set pieces make it seem like you are truly inside a brother’s Grimm Fairytale. Each guest is given a white mask so when you see others walking through the action, they are still part of the scene. They could be guests at the masked ball or creatures in the enchanted forest. There is no break from fantasy into reality. Every inch of the space is used, from the main rooms to the balconies, hallways, and staircases the performers are always in character, always telling a story.

Before the clock strikes midnight on this production, get tickets and see it for yourself. But be warned, it is easy to get lost. And please wear your most comfortable shoes, especially if you plan to run around The Great Hall following your favourite characters.

Until next time and your own Happily Ever After.

A Grimm Night runs March 31st to April 2nd and April 6 to April 9th at The Great Hall on 1087 Queen St West. But your tickets here.



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