Preview: Happily Ever After? at the Annex Theatre (20-23/11/13)

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This year’s freshers play from Theatre Group is a piece of original student writing flipping our favourite fairytales on their heads. Whilst the concept of subverting the fairytale is nothing new, this particular piece of theatre takes a witty and light-hearted approach that is endearing from start to finish.

Approaching this preview, what I anticipated were clichéd renditions of tired characters and poor attempts at genre humour. I was delighted to see this pre-determination proven entirely wrong by a cast who, for the most part, were very impressive. The plot follows the Big Bad Wolf in his attempt to spark revolution and overthrow “the good guys” with a band of despicable followers including Rumplestiltskin, Goldilocks, Cinderella’s ugly stepsisters, the witch from the candy house, and the troll from under the bridge. However, these are fairytale villains as you’ve never seen them before, with the interpretation of the troll being a particular favourite.

Highlights included Alastair Hardie, Lorna Johnson, and Roshan Salgado D’Arcy in their roles as the Big Bad Wolf, Esmerelda (one of the ugly sisters), and Prince Charming respectively. Whilst the entire cast had a definitive grasp of character, the comic timing, energy, and evident enthusiasm of these three marked them out as particularly engaging on stage.

The only feature that stunted the performance was the issue of pacing. It is the eternal battle for comic actors to react and bounce off one another fast enough to prevent the show from becoming lethargic and lumpy. Whilst the show was, for the most part, very well delivered, there were distinct portions where the energy dropped just enough for the incredibly witty dialogue to lose its punch.

Whilst there is definitely room for improvement, I must say I am very excited for the show’s opening night. With a little polish here and there, this will be a show not to be missed.

 Happily Ever After? is being performed in the Annex Theatre from 20th to 23rd November at 7:30pm, with a matinee show at 2:30pm on Saturday 23rd November. Tickets are available here.

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