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Dark Woods, Deep Snow review at Northern Stage Newcastle upon Tyne

There is a chill in Stage One as the coldest, darkest time of year is upon us. In the vast forest, the white trees are stark and barren and snow lies underfoot. The only warmth comes from the stories humans tell each other, and it is captured by a gang of rather odd, semi-heroic outsiders. When the world comes under threat, only the power generated by stories is enough to keep it safe.

In Chris Thorpe’s original drama, inspired by the Brothers Grimm, the need to tell stories is a physical, urgent one. It is a provocative idea which is sure to spark a few light bulbs in the minds of tonight’s over-sevens audience. Thorpe’s script is beautifully written and just occasionally labours its point with its love of words.

A monologue performed by the Old Woman (Joanna Holden) is the show’s highlight. Holden marries insanity, loneliness and old age to startling effect. Brothers Will (Paul Charlton) and Johann (Gary Kitching) provide the comedy with their humorously low-fi sci-fi skills. Abbi Greenland and Helen Goalen (sisters Lily and Mila) perform together as award-winning duo RashDash, but there is the sense that their physical theatre and musical numbers have been rather shoe-horned in here. Still, Lily’s descent into madness is a joy to behold. Luka (Assad Zaman) is the human child of the piece and as such is our guide. His lost boy has integrity, innocence and an open heart. I hope he finds his way home.

Production Information

Northern Stage, Newcastle upon Tyne, December 7-28

Chris Thorpe
Lorne Campbell
Northern Stage
Cast includes
Paul Charlton, Helen Goalen, Abbi Greenland, Joanna Holden, Gary Kitching, Assad Zaman
Running time
2hrs 5mins

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