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Brighton Fringe 2024

Twisted Tales

Box theatre

Genre: Bouffon, Comedic, Dance and Movement Theatre, Drama, Experimental, Fringe Theatre, Performance Art, Physical Comedy, Physical Theatre

Venue: The Bunker - Fools Paradise


Low Down

With three years in the making this close knit theatre company – Box Theatre – delight their audience with a fast pace narrative – painting vivid imagery so carefully with their bodies – engaging completely in Total Theatre. No gimmicks or fancy lighting is needed here – Just one ominous mat and six players: Amy Fielding, Cameron Robertson, Eve Ibbott, Lewis Evans, Sohail Al-Mahri and Tom Isted. Once each actor’s foot is gently placed on the mat, they must ‘play’, reenacting familiar tales from our past. But what satirical wonders play out? Some old time classics, with a Viking feud thrown in for good measure – wonderful. The founders and artistic directors of Box Theatre are also part of this dynamic six, Lewis Evans and Amy Fielding; sculpting their craft of Platform Theatre for all to enjoy.


This Theatre Company explores different mythical/historical tales from our childhood books, with sheer force of physical agility and strength, transporting us to different locations so effortlessly with each tightly placed movement and quick whip sound. A humble offering of laughter – you will leave thoroughly entertained and with good reason. Prepare to see the Wolf, the Fool, Uba, Snake Dude and the Cheshire Cat; all in the blink of an eye. This is a wonderful ensemble piece, with high energy, suitable for all ages.




One by one the actors, unassumingly peer and in some cases gawp through the heavy black curtains of the Bunker stage – looking somewhat bemused by the imagined ‘unknown’ in the distance; guess we will never know what that was? This is a moment of silence, just the right amount to leave us just as confused by their purpose and desire to proceed, carefully dressing themselves before us. What suddenly becomes intelligible is the sound seeping from the ‘mat’, every time an actor steps foot on the mould – a sound bellows urging them to play – like some form of Jumanji hysteria… Then play they indeed did!


What is simply compelling is how all six actors rarely leave the mat, their boundary of storytelling. From the moment they all commit, you’re in for a hilarious rendition of different folklore tales that will test the imagination. Every vessel in their bodies is used to convey thoughts, time, and setting – representing characters so effortlessly in fleeting moments, from budding flowers that get plucked to slivering snakes seeking mischief. You know exactly where you are, from each sharp sound, precise gestural placement and that is a sign of beautifully executed personified physical theatre -from a battlefield to an estranged chat with a Cheshire Cat – each story has a different focus and moment to explore.


This style of theatre is becoming rare, not often do we see figurative mime in ensemble groups that is not elevated by visceral condiments – what a joy that this cast rely on their imagination, direction and the foundations of our physical theatre pioneers – Jacques Lecoq and Steven Berkoff to name of few of the greats. Their execution of creating ‘worlds’ for their audience is to be desired, with zanni humour by the bucket load.


The Saga of the Almighty Vikings was a story that dominated the length of the various tales – perhaps as this was less known to me I found this the most compelling, with versatile characters and more experimental vocal qualities here. This particular story flipped from travel sequences by finger tips, to the birth of soon to be warriors, to secret conversations with snakes. The twists in this tale flowed effortlessly – locations and perspectives of the different characters moved at rapid pace; a visual spectacle with plenty of buffoonery, a warrior named Uba, pronounced ‘Uber’ definitely made the audience chuckle. Then the twists just kept on coming, this was effervescently captured in live a cappella singing, that broke the shouting and battle cry chaos; with an Heilung quality, unifying this sacred moment on stage. This felt quite moving – More singing please. The synchronisation between the cast, was transcendent – when theatre has the ability to transport you somewhere else, that’s the beauty, also unexpected.


As Box Theatre embark on developing various versions of new stories, including Shakespearian tales, perhaps The Sage of the Almighty Vikings could warrant it’s own show?Nevertheless, so many beautiful ideas in here, delivered with acute precision and commitment to the moment. I went away thinking, how often would I go and see a show that my niece and nephews would enjoy as well as myself and this was the show/company to do it. This is an exciting theatre company and definitely one to watch – it’s integral that the art of total theatre remains in our theatres and in our festivals, reminding us all of what can be achieved with a dynamic creative ensemble – transportation from reality into fantasy  – and Box Theatre definitely succeeded in doing so.