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10 January 2012 @ 10:41 am
The Wilde Bride (Berkeley Rep)  
The Wild Bride

After triumphing on Broadway and in the Bay Area with Brief Encounter, Kneehigh is back. Britain’s extraordinary theatrical troupe returns with another stunning show. Adapted and directed by Emma Rice, The Wild Bride is a grown-up fairy tale that follows a girl’s journey through a visual wonderland. What happens when your father accidentally sells you to the devil? What do you do when your prince goes off to war? Hearts break, hearts heal, and happily ever after still may be possible. Expect vivid storytelling, devilish humor and a heady mix of live and found music when Kneehigh unveils The Wild Bride. -- Berkeley Rep

I saw the play with my friend Jeannie, who wrote a good plot synopsis and review. Read hers, because I’m too lazy to write my own.

Gorgeous play. It begins as a quasi-traditional Southern fairy tale, complete with bluesy music played on the fiddle. The tunes are excellent, and perfectly match the hard-edged magic that runs throughout the show. This isn’t a beautiful Disney-style fairytale, but something much darker and grittier. A beautiful girl may be rescued by a prince, but first she is sold to the devil and her hands are chopped off. The prince – who apparently masquerades as a tinker on the side – does restore the girl’s hands, but they are horrific Edward Scissorhands affairs. The staging is so clever and the visuals so enchanting that I could hardly look away.

The play was performed by a very small cast –three women representing the girl as a maiden, matron and crone, the devil and the father, and a musician – and everyone played multiple roles. Sometimes this got a little weird – the same actor plays the father and the prince that the girl marries, and I’m sure Freud would have had a field day with that one.



The Girl in her middle "Wild" incarnation dancing with her Prince