Tuesday, 25 June 2013

STORYBOOK ENDINGS: Youthful University Players give Grimm fairy-tales a fun, sprightly twist

ONCE UPON A TIME: Cast members in a scene from the production. 

Making up the theatre element in this year's Kingston on the Edge (KOTE), Brother Scamp and Other Tales came off as a delightful, supremely kid-friendly presentation drenched in whimsy, humour and a palpable spirit of adventure. The modest audience enjoyed it immensely. 

Staged at UWI's Philip Sherlock Centre this past Monday evening, the 75-minute production (sans intermission) featured the new-generation cohort of the University Players serving up five tales from the Brothers Grimm canon, staged with a minimalist approach and the intermittent injection of Jamaican flair. 

As performed by these vivacious players (all clad in black), the pieces explored everything from magical realism and folkloric mythology to death, friendship and royals behaving badly. In one piece, a dead princess is brought back to life while another featured a father and his three sons trying to make the most of their mixed fortunes. The droll title piece, meanwhile, followed a tireless traveller (a terrific Desmond Dennis) on his numerous misadventures. 

Kudos to the talented young actors (an energetic 7-member cast) who displayed flashes of brilliance, particularly Brian Johnson (who knows how to capitalize on his powerful vocal chords) and it girls Shanique Brown and Julene Robinson, who are fast demonstrating a proper balance of the comic and the dramatic in their stage work.

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