Pros: A brilliant plot twist at the end left myself and many other audience members perplexed.
Cons: The characters don’t have much depth, which unfortunately makes them hard to believe in.
The Old Red Lion Theatre in Angel is just what you would expect from a theatre pub and it’s a great venue. The theatre itself is a great space with multiple entrances, which worked well for this performance. The seats appear to be old church pews: lovely to look at but unfortunately not particularly comfy.
Fairytales and Fire is presented as an ‘honest and comic story of people falling in love’. Based around a couple that meets at a bus stop, the storyline wouldn’t feel out of place in a rom-com. As the relationship develops however, it turns out to be a little too much like reality to prove engaging on stage. I also felt that the couple lacked chemistry, which makes the story less believable. James, played by Charlie G. Hawkins, is brilliant throughout and his comic timing and quirky mannerisms provide plenty of laughs.
Alongside the couple there are two other characters: a writer from a privileged background and a girl paying for university by working as an escort. Despite having interesting plots lines, both characters lacked depth. That being said, the fact that all four characters are in some way connected and the way this is slowly revealed works very well.
The end of the play holds a surprising twist, as well as the revelation that the scenes were not presented in chronological order. While this is a great idea, the fact that neither my friend nor I had realised this suggests it wasn’t made clear enough.
The set is simple; minimalistic black props are used to effectively set scenes. While this works I was disappointed that the hoops of fairy lights used in the first scene didn’t make a comeback later on. They made for an abstract but compelling sight and were more powerful than the more literal props used in the rest of the play.
I debated whether this play deserves three stars, but since I left the theatre without much emotional attachment to what I had just seen and found it quite forgettable, I have to stick to two stars. With more development of the initially intriguing characters and clarification of the time jumps however, this could be a really interesting play, particularly with the jaw dropping ending!
Author and Director: Craig Henry
Producer: Helena Doughty
Box Office: 0844 412 4307
Booking Link: www.oldredliontheatre.co.uk/fairytales-and-fire.htm
Booking Until: 2 August 2014