Hand of Fate (and Foot of Balrom)
‘The Legend of the Seven Bells’
Review by Humphrey Strawstack
Will Wisden’s interpretation of the underwhelming fariy tale of the same name promised little, but delivered much more- whether what it delivered is masterful or awful is open to interpretation.
The performance began, not at the Auditorium but at the Forum several hours prior to the performance, with some dramatic street theatre. Supporting members of the cast (led by one ‘Jacob’, a rising star if ever I saw one) acted out a daring daemon slaying ritual, in a post-modern interpretation of the blurred lines between good, evil, reality and theatre. Indeed, these lines remained ambiguous throughout the performance as the cast of this street spectacular appeared prominently throughout the show in a box above the stage, lit from within by the ethereal light of young Jacob’s sparkling presence.
Throughout the show (a pretty average horror-thriller – indulgent make-up and stage blood, a little robust stage magic and enough undead to brush your teeth with), the audience was left in suspense by the presence of the quintet until the final bows.
Then, fire, screaming, drama at it’s best! The sudden, provocative action of the passive watchers (dressed eccentrically as a mix of traditional questers and post-modern citizens) genuinely cut through the third wall and impressed the analogy of the tale upon the onlookers to such an extent that many fled as a consequence of the skill of Jacob’s vocal art and the showmanship of the archer, paladin, witch and the young lady who was such an complex and refreshing counterpoint to them all.
In short, Wisden’s new show breaks down the boundaries between the watcher and the watched, providing a truly contemporary take on the ambiguity of truth.