Charming – A Farcical Fairy Tale

In a land far, far away, the four brothers Charming each dream of becoming king. In order to assure their ascendancy, they need to be the first to find and marry a princess. With family feuds and bewitching hags to look out for, the royal race is on and there are no rules. Where love’s first kiss no longer equates to sealing the deal, and the magic mirror rings out the Skype dial tone, company No Bones About’s production of Charming –A Farcical Fairy Tale’s is a cynical rendition of the well-loved, traditional fairytale that becomes a highly comical reversal of the old classics, with genuinely hilarious consequences.

It’s not long before the three eldest princes manage to find their girl. William Charming has class, charisma and a comatose Snow White; Snooty Charles has a subordinate Cinderella and Rupert has a Rapunzel who can pack a punch harder than it seems. Any one of them could get their princess to tie the knot. In a kingdom where sibling rivalry rules over true love, a Happily Ever After is just not on the cards. As in all fairytales, looks can be deceiving…

Ross Howard’s hilarious comedy Charming – a Farcical Fairy Tale at the Pirates Castle, as part of the Camden Fringe this summer, is a no-holds barred exposé of the reality behind the fairytale make-believe which enchanted our childhoods. This colourful and creative production recreates our favourite characters as never before, and with a sharp wit and even sharper timing, the laughs keep coming as the madness escalates. Even scene changes are carried out with maximum comedic effect.

Charming’s bickering brothers may be Charming by name, but not so much by nature. Each one’s morals and manners fly out the window faster than you can say Rumplestiltskin, who by the way, played by Oscar Balfour, becomes a overtly sexual court deviant and absolutely steals the show; his movements are crafty and calculating and his refusal to believe that his little escapade with William Charming at the Christmas Ball was a one time thing has consequences for all. Rhian Jenkins’s fiery feminist Snow White injects a cynicism which reminds the audience of the true ridiculousness of Disney idealism, whilst Christie Grattan and Matthew Winters are  two of the princes whose repartee marks most of the dialogue with honest laugh-out-loud comedy.

Charming’s plot risks over-complication but the repetition and the retelling never once become tiresome. Howard’s comedy is refreshingly good and in an area which has been done so much before, Charming’s energy and wit mark it out as something quite special.

Charming –A Farcical Fairy Tale is playing at The Pirate’s Castle, Camden as part of the Camden Fringe Festival until 23 August. For more information and tickets, please see the Camden Fringe Website.