An over the top and an extravagantly complex compilation of tales, Theater Emory’s production of Grim, Grimmer, Grimmest: Tales of a Precarious Nature recounts somewhat gruesome and somewhat hilarious fairy tales with a modern twist.
Grim, Grimmer, Grimmest is a homage of sorts to the famous book of tales, Nursery and Household Tales, written by the brothers Grimm.
The play includes multiple stories about varying themes from cannibalism to sexual innuendos.
However, in light of the crude elements, the stories also contain beautiful moments of unexpected enchantment.
Some of these moments are apparent in notable performances from the ensemble cast.
College sophomore Julia Weeks gave a very convincing performance throughout the play. From her perfectly placed maniacal laughter to donning an eerily disturbing mask and scaring members of the audience, she was an incredibly enthusiastic actor.
In addition to Weeks, Oxford College continuee and Emory College junior India Duranthon also gave a very emphatic performance, crawling on the ground and yelling at the audience at the top of her lungs.
A simple set, forced the actors to improvise and be extremely animated with the delivery of each and every line to keep viewers interested.
In addition, the odd costumes, consisting of a runaway bride, an urban hiker, a gothic girl and many others, assisted the play’s simple set by throwing together a bunch of seemingly unrelated costumes (and characters).
The set included walls painted like trees and windows within those walls. Various props are provided to the actors throughout the show, but for the most part the entire show is carried on the shoulders of the actors.
Overall, Grim, Grimmer, Grimmest is unique and due to the passionate acting, quite entertaining. Despite this, the play is often difficult to follow with convoluted story lines.
The choppy nature of how each story is compiled together makes the play difficult to follow and understand.
However, that lends well to the fairytale quality of the tales of the Brothers Grimm. The inconsistencies mimic a child’s wandering imagination and are therefore representative of a collection of fairytales.
Although the way in which the tales are assembled mimics a child’s wandering imagination, the content of the tales is definitely of a very adult nature.
One of the tales, for example, chronicles the hatred between a step mother and her step son. The step mother eventually kills her stepson and makes a stew of his body and feeds the stew to her husband.
The actors manage to make the tales almost believable until the viewer is thrust back into reality at the shows conclusion.
For about an hour and a half, one becomes completely lost in a confusing world of betrayal, love, hatred, sadness and many other emotions that are painfully familiar and relatable to all audience members.
It is the fact that the emotions portrayed by each of the tales is so deeply relatable which offers brief moments of lucidity in the otherwise intricate play. Despite this though, the play is somewhat lacking in innovation.
While the actors are enthusiastic and provide solid entertainment, many of the stories involve repetition to the point of boredom. The repetition is sometimes funny and serves to “bring the point home” but often times it is carried on slightly too long to hold the viewers’ attention.
For instance, one story about Hanz and Grettle is simply the same story repeated over and over with slight changes. One of the actors himself even proclaims as the conclusion of the story that the story has no intellectual significance.
Interesting, though difficult to follow and understand, “Grim, Grimmer, Grimmest” is saved by the strong acting abilities of each and every actor working together to create a robust performance that will be nearly impossible to forget.
– By Annie McNutt