It was cold, wet and overcast in Adelaide, setting the scene for 'The Grimstones – Hatched': a quirky puppet performance about a girl named Martha, who can see people’s dreams and, in an effort to lighten the heart of her grieving mother, she decides to use magic to make a baby brother.
It was cold, wet and overcast in Adelaide, setting the scene for The Grimstones – Hatched: a quirky puppet performance about a girl named Martha, who can see people’s dreams and, in an effort to lighten the heart of her grieving mother, she decides to use magic to make a baby brother.
Performed in the creaking Le Cascadeur, Hatched begins with an empty stage and a back drop of black curtain. The music starts and large sized books are brought to the stage by two eccentric characters and the performance begins. Each book introduces the peculiar members of the Grimstone family, in scrawly old world writing, and opens up-to reveal a small set, in miniature detail.
Having the opportunity to look up close at these tiny worlds reveals a great attention to detail, from the tiny dressmakers prints in the mother Velvetta’s sewing studio, to the myriad of little magic potion bottles in Grandfather, Elcho’s apothecary. These careful constructions provide a window into the Grimstone’s lives and the masterful puppetry brings life to the puppet members of this tale.
The puppet family are joined by Gertrude Grimstone (Asphyxia) the great great great great grand daughter of the Grimstone’s of our storey, and her helper, August (Paula Dowse). Far from being mere background puppeteers, they engage with the puppets and the audience, as well as each other, to create a dynamic atmosphere that compliments the story and creates empathy with the characters.
The story is told in narrative with a contemporary twist, as it is narrated both verbally and in Australian sign. This adds a whole new dimension that compliments the tale and adds a strong visual dynamic, as well as making the performance accessible to deaf audiences. The movement from scene to scene across the stage is fluid and natural, with the interaction of the puppeteers and the puppets helping to direct the audience’s attention, aided by soft focused light.
The performance and narrative is accompanied by well written music which shapes the personality of the family member, whose scene it compliments. The puppets are skilfully crafted with small technical details used that add to the overall effectiveness of their performance. For those who are technically minded, an artist’s book of the making of the Grimstone’s provides insight into the creating of the performance and is available at the show.
This is a superb fantasy tale, beautifully performed and artfully created. The characters are vibrant and reminiscent of Tim Burton’s animations, which forges a wonderful connection to popular children’s tales like The Spiderwick Chronicles or The Adams Family. The first in a series of tales about the Grimstone family, and enjoyable for all ages Hatched is a must see for the Adelaide Fringe and beyond.
The show is presented by Sky Works and the reason runs at the The Garden of Unearthly Delights - Le Cascadeur until March 15. Tickets cost $10-$15