Fringe Review: "The Beast and the Bride" is Not Your Average Bedtime Story
The Beast and the Bride is to be feared, loved and feared again. Drawing on tall tales across generations, of marriage and attitudes towards it, this work is subtle in its eloquence, and demands attention and engagement from its audience. With all that has been in the media of late, particularly the #metoo campaign, Clare Testoni gives perspective on immediate issues, ludicrous views that are passed to our children with the simple telling of silly stories.
Testoni knows stories are anything but silly. She gives a voice and a face to a Victorian-era girl who is graceful and fierce, young in her curiosity, but wise in her insight. This meticulous juggle of character allows the audience to transcend the theatre into a world that is uncannily like ours, though set long ago.
There are very few explicit comments on society in this piece, something I admire greatly as it demands the audience come to their own conclusions about the state of our humanity. Stunningly visual on a dark set a whole universe is created in voice and light, strongly alluding to the world that lies outside the stage; a world full of people with opinions, often contrasting the woman on stage.
There is nothing like a bedtime story told well, and this show contains multitudes of them, elegantly articulated and embodied wholly. Go, sit in a dark room with a hundred listening ears, as if you were a child once more, to learn again what we should all have been taught a long time ago.