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Sleeping Beauty, CitIzens Theatre, Glasgow

Fairies fart.

Noxiously, it seems. Who would have thought? Or maybe it's just Fairy Goody who breaks wind each time she conjures a spell. Oh, if only Beauty's royally snooty ma had accepted that bodily functions are natural, then perhaps Goody would have lived up to her name and intentions. There would have been no impulsive curse. No rogue spindle. No century of Goody somehow making Beauty's future even more precarious. But then we wouldn't have had this wonderfully grotesque, rather scary, funny-peculiar show, so hurrah for that fart.

Rufus Norris's script fields savage elements not usually allowed into the fairy tale that children know. Man-eating ogres, princely wimps, a Beauty who's fond of getting her own way, and a fairy whose errors of judgement have weakened her magic powers take the plot-line beyond that awakening kiss into the hidden horrors of Beauty's married life.

Designer Naomi Wilkinson and director Dominic Hill transport those ingredients into a fantastical realm of bizarre humour and freaky terror you'd associate more with Tim Burton or graphic novels.

However, it's oddly beautiful as well, partly because of the wistful, untoward music by Paddy Cunneen that the whole cast sings and plays. And what a cast: Kathryn Howden is a down-to-earth bag lady Goody, gathering her "natural" herbs in a wood where spikey-thorny tree people pop up through trapdoors and a towering Ogre (with John Kielty inside) stomps and roars.

Mark McDonnell channels his inner Les Dawson as an Ogress whose appetite for human flesh outstrips her maternal interests – you'd hide away, but like the children round about, you don't want to miss a moment – or one of those magic farts!


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