Review: The Last Fairytale, Sweet Venues, Grassmarket

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NO-ONE likes an unhappy ending these days. Shame, really. It’s what made fairy tales so disturbingly compelling in the first place.

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Dark and horrifyingly sinister, these unforgiving moral fables have since been cleaned up, rewritten and reproduced – most notably by Hollywood. The Last Fairytale, though, retains some of that old Gothic style.

Despite not having an audience to perform to (this comes close in the real world, too), two theatre puppets are left to recreate three particularly macabre stories over and over again.

Frustrated, they question whether they should cut their strings and see what fate has in store.

On one hand (no pun intended), the individual stories themselves are atmospherically narrated. Sadly, when the puppets begin to disrupt and challenge their own “work”, it seriously detracts from a perfectly good tale.

The dolls, meanwhile, look like Smurfs with a little too much make-up, although their dangly, on-a-string-like movements are to be admired.

The only real upside is the theatre’s unsettling compere – a creepy, charismatic cross between The Joker and any evil clown of which you care to think.

So, while The Last Fairytale does, in keeping with tradition, end unhappily – it ultimately ends in an unfulfilling experience for the audience, too.

Until Sunday