Family favourites Assembleth Theatre this Christmas are bringing to Barbican Plymouth a swashbuckling adventure Fairytales, Fables & Other Assorted Nonsense. Telling the story of an accidental hero as they fight for the rights of some of folklore’smost beloved characters in an epic fantastical comedy featuring physical theatre, farce, and fast-paced humour for the whole family. We spoke to co-creators Plum Grosvenor-Stevenson and Cal Moffat about the show.
Can you tell us about yourselves and the work of Assembleth Theatre?
We are both professional artists living in the South West. Plum is primarily an arts manager and producer, running a venue in Cornwall and working as a producer across the UK and Cal is a theatre-maker. We share a passion for telling exciting stories, new writing and working with young people, which is something we get to do a lot with Assembleth Theatre.
Assembleth grew out of another project we were both a part of and is an opportunity for us to create theatre that first and foremost makes people laugh, touring it across the UK. We have been lucky enough to work with some fantastic venue partners, Barbican Theatre Plymouth on our current show, and a brilliant range of creatives from the South West.
Can you tell us more about the inspiration behind “Fairytales, Fables & Other Assorted Nonsense” and how the concept for this swashbuckling adventure came to be?
We were leading some sessions with young people in Plymouth with a game called ‘fairy tale courtroom’ where we would put fairy tale characters on trial for crimes (for example, having Goldilocks accused of breaking and entering and porridge theft). The young people would then plan out a defence and prosecution in two teams, with witnesses and lawyers (our personal favourite witness being a forensic porridge analyst in the case of Goldilocks). We had great fun with what the young people were doing and wanted to explore if this could be the basis for a new show. We approached the Barbican Theatre Plymouth to see if we could run some sessions with their 15–18-year-olds to see if we could develop a show for this age range and they supported us and gave us a class for 6 months to plan out how we could develop the new show. It has moved away from the original premise during those 6 months R&D but we now have a incredibly fun and silly show with a host of fairy tale characters and still one memorable courtroom scene!
The show is described as a multi-layered experience with farce and fast-paced humour. How do these elements come together to create a unique and engaging experience for the audience, particularly for families?
We take inspiration from lots of different styles of comedy and try to work different aspects into all our shows, with Fairytales, Fables & Other Assorted Nonsense being no different. The audience will be kept on their toes with changes of pace, ridiculous fights, untimely deaths and 26 different parts played by just three actors. We’re confident that there’s something for everyone to enjoy in this show!
Susan, the reluctant hero, finds herself in a world of wonder and fantasy. What challenges and adventures does she face, and how does she navigate through the magical world to fight for the rights of beloved fairy tale characters?
Susan faces everything you could possibly expect to navigate in a world of fairy tales, from terrifying talking wolves, bears who want nothing but to live in peace from human interference and three very rebellious little pigs, determined to start a revolution against the evil dictatorship of Red Riding Hood. All the classic stuff. Susan approaches this the way we think most people would, utter bemusement at first, followed by fear, followed by an overwhelming sense of exploration and love for the world she has found herself in.
The description mentions a cast of fairy tales brought to life in your signature silly style. Can you elaborate on the creative choices made in portraying these well-known characters in a fresh and humorous way?
We use some of the characteristics of the characters in the original fairy tales (or sometimes their Disney versions) and add in some brand-new traits to create reimagining’s of them. They are at the same time both familiar and new, meaning we had a lot to play with in the creation process. This gave us a lot of freedom to play around with the stories that everyone knows and create new versions of them, with some of the more ridiculous and potentially obscure elements enhanced to create a comedic world full of fairy tales.
Why should people come and see the show?
At Assembleth Theatre we’re passionate about creating quality comedy that the whole family can enjoy. Working with many talented creatives and performers, we’ve honed our craft, and every show we make is chock-full of our signature style of high-octane nonsense. Fairytales, Fables & Other Assorted Nonsense is bursting at the seams with belly laughs, lightning-fast one-liners and the most intense bread based fight sequence the world may ever have seen.
Fairytales, Fables & Other Assorted Nonsense is at Barbican Plymouth 12 – 23 December, tickets and more information can be found here: https://barbicantheatre.co.uk/whats-on/fairytales-fables-other-assorted-nonsense/