I'm a sucker for folk-tales, so this portmanteau presentation weaving together stories from across three continents was pretty much bound to appeal. The good are rewarded and the wicked punished; a baker's apprentice becomes a prince then is carried off by a giant bird to the land of the demons; the second act counters accusations of simplistic escapism by introducing complications and moral dilemmas which cannot be straightened out to let everyone live happily ever after.
As ever, Empty Space wring a wealth of uses from the sparest of props: the four actors show an alert awareness of the craft of storytelling, gently poking fun at its ritual devices without crossing into parody. No great insights are on offer, but none are claimed; it's simply fun to sit back and listen to stories again, with no strings attached.
Written for City Limits magazine.
Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.
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