By Fanny Charles
There’s no clutching at straws in Bumblefly’s 2018 Christmas show for children. The three-strong company spins pure gold (as well as puns) from the tale of Rumpelstiltskin, which opened at Greyfriars at Ringwood and will be touring, Dorset, Wiltshire and Hampshire until mid-January.
Best known as one of the northern German fairy tales collected by the Brothers Grimm, Rumpelstiltskin has origins that disappear into the mists of time – academics suggest it may be up to 4,000 years old!
In this version, adapted and directed by David Haworth, it is the story of a poor miller, the miller’s beautiful daughter, a wicked king, a gentle prince and a mysterious imp. It is a lesson about never making a promise that you cannot keep.
It has been a bad year for crops and the miller has no wheat to mill. The king is angry and the desperate miller promises that his daughter can spin straw into gold. The king summons the girl to the castle and locks her in with a spinning wheel and a bag of straw. A strange little goblin appears, offering to spin the straw into gold. He demands gifts. The king wants more gold … and more. Eventually it seems the king’s greed is satisfied and the miller’s daughter can marry her prince, but when their baby is born, the goblin comes to collect his final reward – unless she can guess his name.
In what is now the traditional Bumblefly style, the story is told in short, colourful scenes, with lots of songs, interspersed with fairy and folk stories from other cultures. This year’s tales come from Japan and Ireland, and are enchantingly told.
Bumblefly regulars Dom Phillips and Anna Harriott are joined for Rumpelstiltskin by Michele O’Brien, an experienced storyteller, actress and singer. Together they create a magical world which delights children of all ages (and their parents), but is never too frightening for the youngest toddlers.
The show is now on tour: December 13 (2.30 and 7.30) at Forest Arts at New Milton, Dec 14-15 ( 6.30) Broad Chalke village hall, Dec 17-18 (6.30) Moors Valley Country Park, Dec 20 (7.30) Ibsley village hall, Dec 21 (2.30) Alderholt village hall, Dec 23 (6.30 at Wilton Community Centre, Dec 24 (Christmas Eve 1.30) King Edward’s Hall, West Tytherley, Wednesday January 2 (7) Marchwood Yacht Club, Jan 3 (6.30) Gussage All Saints village hall, Jan 4 (7) Victoria Rooms, Fordingbridge, Jan 5 (7) Awbridge village hall; and Jan 9 (6) Barrington Centre, Ferndown; there are also some performances at schools; visit www.bumbleflytheatre.co.uk for more information.