Sleeping Beauty | Compagnie AkselereThis version of Sleeping Beauty is closer to a nightmare than a fairytale. A girl grows up in a poor family in Liverpool, England. She is the youngest of seven. Her father dies. She gets farmed out to her grandmother who locks her in the cupboard under the stairs. She steals and thinks it is so exciting to be going in a police car that she waves to all the people she knows. She meets boys who lead her astray. And she knows she is a princess and that prince charming will arrive - even if it is in the form of a medical miracle.

From the mind of creator and puppeteer Colette Garrigan comes a passionate monologue with shadow puppets about the loss of innocence and reality versus fairytale. It begins with Garrigan addressing the audience, talking about a prince charming sitting over there, or the woman with fair white skin next to me. All the classic fairytale elements are there, and every so often a phrase or a line makes another fairytale pop into my head.

The Perth Concert Hall, normally a 1700+ seat concert hall home to orchestras and choirs, has been transformed into an intimate theatre that surprisingly, feels very cozy. Black cloths hang from the roof enclosing the audience and creating a wide narrow stage for the performance. If only the seats weren’t so uncomfortable, intimate theatre would be a wonderful new concept for the hall to consider.

I was beginning to wonder if I was in the right place when ten minutes into the 50 minute act there were no signs of puppets. Indeed, Garrigan is very much centre stage, and creates the shadow puppets primarily from herself and various unusual objects on the table in the centre of the stage. Forks become a forest, a toaster rack a shopping centre, all projected onto the white semi transparent screen hung at the back. This is not puppetry as most would know it, with only one brief scene using small hand operated puppets that are ingeniously fitted into a lampshade.

Now based in Normandy, Garrigan was born in Liverpool. She speaks the Liverpudlian accent well, but continuously drops out into various other accents, languages and characters, creating a jumble of words and images. Her talk is like a stream of conscious, racing and jumping across the stage.

It makes sense (most of the time), and leads the audience quickly through the Princess’s life from birth to the ‘defining moment’. It is slightly crazy, unexpected and feels somewhat rough - but in a good way. I could see that this character had really come from Garrigan, that she lived and breathed all these odd people whilst on stage.

The story ends with a fairytale happy ending. Mr and Mrs Hodge live happily ever after and have lots of kids. But do you believe it? Watch Sleeping Beauty and decide for yourself.

Compagnie Akselere
Sleeping Beauty

Venue: Perth Concert Hall - Auditorium
When: Tue 8 @ 4:00pm & 8:00pm; Wed 9 @ 4:00pm & 8:00pm; Thu 10 @ 4:00pm & 8:00pm
Duration: 50 minutes
Price: Full $30, Concession: $26
Bookings: BOCS: (08) 9484 1133 | Tickets available on the door, unless sold out prior to the event

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