If you haven’t heard of Bow & Dagger, a unique theatre company that bring the focus back to storytelling, then you must get down to The Blue Room Theatre and see what all the fuss is about. Tale of Tales is the most beautifully rendered World War II story since Life is Beautiful and whilst it won’t compel you to jump over the theatre chairs with joy, it will leave an indelible print on your heart.
Clare Testoni (one half of Bow & Dagger) alongside Paul Grabovac re-tell the real life story of Testoni’s family and their sometimes harrowing journey to an Australian Internment Camp. Weaving real life events and the strange and wonderful fairy tales of Italian folklore, Testoni creates a fantastical landscape of shadows and words that envelop the audience in an unforgettable tale.
Through intricate, hand-cut artworks whose brilliant shadows are projected onto a white background using only the tricks and tools of a true puppeteer – torches, light, and filters – an almost Gothic tale reminiscent of woodcuts found in fairy tale books springs to life. In the vein of Big Fish, Testoni’s Sante is a storyteller who spins his words into a warm and strong story. His words have the power to whisk his beautiful Antionetta away from the realities of poverty and political uncertainty and render her a princess in a crystal castle with her dear, sweet Prince’s love giving her hope.
Testoni and Grabovac set the tone right – speaking in a lilting and comforting pattern, as though telling a bedtime story to a young child. As Antionetta and her boys are separated from Sante and must make a new life for themselves whist interred in a camp in the supposedly welcoming shores of Australia, the stories become frought with danger; Mussolini and Hitler become ogres, soldiers become dragons, and the camp becomes a high tower in which the principessa remains locked.
Tale of Tales is perhaps one of the most charming works you will ever see. It speaks to our almost primal need to make sense of the world through stories. It will transport you back to your childhood bed which kept you safe and warm whilst hearing all of the scary and dangerous tales of a beloved adult. Most importantly, Tale of Tales is full of heart. It is emotional and fragile, beautiful and intricate, and deserves all the praise it gets. So go, and let them tell you a story.
Review | Laura Money
WHEN: 22 May – 9 June 2018 | 7:00pm
WHERE: The Blue Room Theatre | Northbridge
INFO: Tickets $20 – $30 | Duration 70 mins | Recommended 12+