In 'Perilous tales' the Conquest youth theatre gave us a mad, silly and inventive peek into a world of twisted fairytales where not all stories end happily ever after. A warning to all of us that too much happiness maybe our downfall, that being beautiful doesn't necessarily make you clever or popular, that having everything isn't everything and, most horrifying of all, video games can have you listening to ABBA for all eternity if you don't read the small print. An unsettling and macabre show populated with quite stunning decadent weirdness throughout whilst at the same time including singing and dancing and being thoroughly enjoyable for most ages. The singing by Mary Ann Wall was particularly fine and the dancing was riotously infectious with some interesting 'Thriller' moves and Alex Cofield providing some rather inventive and highly amusing moves of his own.
Each part of the play used a fair range of different dramatic technique to highlight the abilities of its very capable cast. There was the wonderful pantomime Princess Loki played by Joanna Handley constantly clocking the audience with snide glances and comments. A surely typecast Matt Oliver as gorgeous Gerald, beset by plaintive ghosts, manipulative girls and unfeasibly large nails, playing completely and hilariously in verse. A madly modern couple robotically protecting their happiness with walls, and a wicked witches video game whose final level ends in the horror and madness of Saturday night fever. At each turn we were kept wondering as the weirdly macabre ensemble twisted and played with our expectations of how fairytales should be and even put in a few excellent morals at the end, as all good fairytales should.
All in all the play was a huge success showing off the tremendous talents of the actors, and its writer and director Barbara Hockley, who must surely possess one the weirdest minds in the area. Mention must also be made of the staggering amount of time, effort and work put in by the lighting, sound and set design crew. In particular the costume design which was amazing and colourful and, bearing in mind that this show was only on for three short nights, simply had to seen to be believed. A truly wonderful and engaging performance which by the end had me dancing in my seat. Again! Again!