Pros: A truly imaginative, well-constructed fairytale performed in a lovely location.
Cons: As expected from an outdoor production noise from the surrounding area can become distracting.
Inspired by the works of Hans Christian Anderson and the Brothers Grimm Glass Mountain is an original fairytale steeped in everything you’d expect: magic, mystery, and horror. The story follows two cousins: Little Hans, a husband-to-be bravely searching for his true love, and Lukoje, a storyteller who laces their adventures with magical tales, sometimes with dangerous consequences.
Anyone who enjoys fairytales will delight in seeing this fresh production set in the lovely St George’s Gardens in Kings Cross. While the piece is an original work there are nods to existing fairytales throughout, with various clever twists on familiar characters such as Little Red Riding Hood and Puss in Boots’ Marquis de Caribas. Naive and brave almost to a fault, the main character of Little Hans was reminiscent of Voltaire’s Candide. His childlike demeanour was, although at first a little hard to get used to, both heart-warming and humorous.
The pretty surroundings of the garden leant themselves perfectly to the story’s magical forest setting, and having minimal opportunity for grand set designs allowed the production to be truly inventive with the space. The narrative was embellished by charming props including giant wolves and beautiful pop-up books illustrating the stories being told, and the costumes were simple but effective. While an outside production does lay its trust in merciful weather and quiet surroundings, any distractions that did arise were short-lived. It was extremely easy to become immersed in the story with such charismatic performances and an eloquent script, which was as beautiful to listen to as it must be to read.
The play had a mature, definite Shakespearean air to it, and with its narration shared seamlessly between the characters and the beautiful live music by Tom Ward, it appealed – as the audience showed – to a wide range of people. But while the audience was mainly made up of adults this time around it would be a great show for children to experience as well. With its cloaked witches and melodic rhymes, the slow transformation of the storyteller into a cat, and a bride led astray by cunning fairies it is sure to grab the attention of the younger audience.
Overall Glass Mountain was an imaginative and different production with a lot of heart. It was enjoyed as much by the audience as the cast itself who gel together perfectly, and would make a great summer evening out for all.
Author: Victoria Flood
Director: Alex Buckingham
Producer: Broken Glass Theatre Company
Booking Until: 30 July 2014
Box Office: Tickets available on the door or at www.brokenglassplay.co.uk