‘Das Weben’ sees Cabaret meet the Grimms Tales as a twisted circus takes to the stage. The Ringmaster allows each of her captives the chance to tell their story while she gleefully manipulates their actions. This Wrong Tree production shows both imagination and innovation as the tales interweave and overlap, with music, dancing, and physical theatre galore.
Emily Browning’s direction ensures that each character is beautifully contrasting while also being founded on a consistently creepy quality. The space is used to its full capacity - the blocking is never repetitive nor predictable. The stage itself is magnificently transformed by the eerie bars of several cages, which characters remain trapped behind throughout, reminding audiences that they too are being watched.
The technical design of this production is also one of its fortes. The red backlighting creates shadows and suspense in equal measure, while the subtle changes to the colour of washes perfectly underlines the action. Spotlights are adjusted in precise timing to bring the production cleanly together.
One of this production‘s highlights was its dance sequences set to unnerving circus music - full of energy with tight choreography and captivating facial expressions. This is when the production felt its most professional. Some physical theatre sequences could have been improved by further commitment and consistency to the style, as they were sporadic and thus too random to fit seamlessly in with the remainder of the production. That said, the moments of audience interaction were also a delight, with witty remarks from the cast being met with great laughter. The pace of the plot progressed the story nicely, and the increasingly manic sequences as each character was captured by the ringmaster were both atmospheric and enjoyable to watch.
Hannah Lydon, as ringmaster, held the stage with a presence which was utterly flawless. Her physicality and dance ability was captivating, her facial expressions were piercing and targeted, and her vocal energy was unmatched. It truly felt like the show was balanced on her fingertips. As the manipulative mother, Indie Spafford was both composed and calculating, her subtle acting style a perfect contrast to the more wild styles of the other cast members. Another standout was Horatio Holloway as the Prince. He gave the audience complete faith in his performance, expertly balancing the sympathetic with the vindicative aspects of the character’s personality. He moved around the stage with great ease and his comic timing - through little nods to the audience - were superb. Hannah Wright, Maariya Khalid, Scarlett Clarke, and Lola Stakenberg were equally wonderful with their physicalities, weaving their individual stories together with an eerie wit that made each character notable.
Das Weben is a delight to behold - even so early in the morning! Although there are a few too-predictable lines, it’s well worth a watch, especially if you have a penchant for the mystical and macabre.
Greenside @ Infirmary Street - 10-12, 14-19 @10.20am