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Eliza and the Wild Swans review at The Bike Shed Theatre Exeter

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Step into a world where nothing is quite what is seems. The ordinary becomes extraordinary – feathers flutter from the sky, swans take flight.

Imagination is the cornerstone of this inventive production as all the mundane paraphernalia of a high street laundrette is innovatively deployed in Hans Christian Andersen’s classic tale.

Kindly Doreen (Jesse Meadows) works in the launderette, dispensing advice to the needy. Even the shirts are her friends. Assistant Eliza (Kerry Lovell) quietly goes about her duties. Anton, the mechanic (Ben Vardy) is called to mend a machine.

But there’s magic in the air. Far away voices call Eliza. With a swirl of a cloak we travel across the seas to celebrate a King’s wedding. Narrated in music and song, performers work closely as an ensemble, creating vivid ever-changing pictures. Eliza faces countless dangers – a scary witch, an enchanted forest and a haunted graveyard. But the lonely cry of the enchanted Wild Swans calls Eliza.

Clever and imaginatively told, this is a deliciously different tale. In the hands of skilled storytellers, simple props, effects and lighting harness the imagination to create a new and unforgettable version.

Production Information

The Bike Shed Theatre, Exeter, December 19-January 11

Hans Christian Andersen
Fiona Mikel
David Lockwood, Bike Shed Theatre, Wardrobe Ensemble
Ben Callon, Kerry Lovell, Jesse Meadows, Ben Vardy, Ben Osborn
Running time
1hr 30mins

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