The Lost Happy Endings – when fairytales go wrong!
The Lost Happy Endings! Ballet Lorent’s latest dance confection is a vibrant magical musical medley of dance and drama. Showing at Northern Stage in Newcastle this week.
Based on a short story by Carol Ann Duffy, this new production ‘The Lost Happy Endings’ turns the traditional world of Fairytales on its head. The choreography and the story telling are customarily superb and the surprising involvement of a large cohort of local children is an absolute delight. The story is narrated by the delightful Joanna Lumley so we always know exactly what’s happening in this crazy magical world!
Duffy’s story is a rich narrative about bedtime stories which lose their happy endings and upset children everywhere who want their usual comforting conclusions. Jub, a young girl who lives in the forest, is responsible for collecting them together and then sending out the Happy Endings every night, but things go horribly wrong when a wicked witch steals her bag of Happy endings from her.
The Lost Happy Endings – what can replace them?
When bedtime comes the happy endings are nowhere to be found. The Fairytales do not have their customary conclusions. Snow White never wakes up after she eats the poisoned apple. Little Red Riding Hood is devoured by the wolf. Cinderella does not fit the glass slipper, and Hansel and Gretel come to a grisly cooked end. Jub is distraught and doesn’t know what to do about the chaos which has descended upon her world.. Then she finds a magic golden pen. Jub decides to rewrite the end of the stories with more of a post modern twist! Pinocchio, for example , the inveterate liar, becomes prime minister! How appropriate! Cinderella forms a rock band with her ugly sisters!
It is an emotional piece about the expectations and innocence of childhood and how things are not always as idyllic as one remembers.
Original fairytales often have dark undertones and deal with themes of love, betrayal jealousy and death. Over the years they have often been sanitised for modern consumption. Duffy tackles this head on with a alternative take on what could happen in this new world where stories are rewritten.
The Lost Happy Endings – there’s always a witch!
Even the witch, beautifully danced by Gwen Berwick achieves happiness in the end. She is miserable and bitter after having been betrayed ‘thrice in love’ (yes that’ll do it!) However, she finally finds a light hearted companion and she learns to dance with joy again.
Jub is danced by the delightful Natalie Trewinnard. Jub is strong and bright and proud of her job. She dances happily with her forest friends. Her world is destroyed by the witch and so she comes to her own solution of how to restore the precious stories.
The most unique thing about this performance is the involvement of children form local primary schools in the community. They are absolutely brilliant and integral to the success of the piece. Eighteen children between the ages of 6-11 are a big part of the story. These are the children who love the happy endings to their bedtime stories. They also cause havoc for their parents when the happy endings are lost! The children interact with the adults who carry them about, dance with them spinning and lifting them. This element of the piece is an integral part of Ballet Lorent’s participation and performance programme. Clearly going from strength to strength.
The Lost Happy Endings – another piece of dance delight from Ballet Lorent
The last Ballet Lorent show I saw was Rumplestiltskin, an equally delightful creative concoction – check out my review of it here
The Lost Happy Endings is a truly unique piece. The original music by Murray Gold is excellent and, as always, Liv Lorent’s artistic vision shines through. There’s always something just a little bit off the wall with this type of production which makes me love just that little bit more too!
The Lost Happy Endings is at Northern Stage this week and goes on tour across the country in 2020.