By Danielle Farrow
With Grim(m), Louna Productions tell tales drawn from the Brothers Grimm and from the shores of Scotland – tales of gore and familial relationships gone very wrong indeed – and do so with macabre glee and a great deal of style.
In this two-hander, Anna Lehr (originally from Germany) and Scot Louisa Thornton serve up a story meal, of a number of courses, which is quite refreshing to the palate while also being delectably nasty. Visually, too, this is a feast, despite simple set and design: two grisly board pictures act as flats on either side of the space, black and white with splashes of red blood. Pink, black and gold adorn the ladies’ circus / burlesque outfits, complete with black gloves and horned hair that echoes medieval styles while being fittingly fantastical. A few choice props such as food and bones put in sterling service, and one tale sees a couple of Victorian cardboard masks used effectively.
There could be, perhaps, more variation in the stories told, but repetition is unsurprising in fairytales and, in humour and set phrases, is a stock feature of story telling which is put to good use here. Also very strong are the physical and vocal details with which the performers depict their tales of torture, maiming, children-eating and slaughtering by children. Lehr in particular is highly talented in the precision and variation of her acting, with clowning skills that are spot on, and both performers relish their stories, embodying them clearly, with fine imagination, dark humour and great connection to their audience.
Grim(m) is a gleeful selection of gruesome folkloric tales for adults, darkly colourful, and if the stories of abuse, murder and cannibalism do not vary greatly, their presentation is such that they are still suspiciously enjoyable and really rather horribly fascinating.