Dominic Hill has got just the right level of scary in this dark and lush production of Rufus Norris’ take on the Sleeping Beauty story. Parents might be frightened for their wee ones, but the wee ones themselves will squeal in delight at John Kielty’s towering Ogre and Mark McDonnell’s confused Ogress, who just can’t quite bring herself to eat her own child sired by a subsequently eaten King.
That child (Owen Whitelaw) is obviously a Prince. A handsome, strong and brave one, indeed. Just the kind needed by Kathryn Howden’s delightfully humane Fairy Goody to break through the thorns around the castle wherein Beauty (Lucy Hollis) lies asleep. Two have tried already - and died.
Naomi Wilkinson’s design meshes wonderfully with Paddy Cunneen’s music design, as those characters not in a scene appear playing instruments high at the back of the stage. A clever device which helps emphasise that this is just theatre, when the going gets really scary.
A five-strong ensemble of second year students from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland help add depth as courtiers and, crucially, the malignant thorns as they rise from out of the stage. A fascinating take which, in Howden’s exemplary performance as Goody, dares to be complex about its morals.