In the tiny town of Grigglewood, a father tells his young children a queer little bedtime story – about two children who decide to go on an adventure, to find the monster’s swing hidden deep in the woods. The next morning the father and Peter discover that Peter’s sister Rose has gone missing during the night. And so begins the frantic and desperate search for The Missing Girl of Grigglewood.
This darkly comedic tale from In the Quirks Theatre features five actors, most of whom play multiple roles. Combining live music and physical theatre with comedy, it successfully brings the very strange world of Grigglewood to life. As the audience enters, the dimly-lit stage is murky with dry ice, and on the floor is a pile of clothing. Once the lights go up, the clothing stands and is revealed to be the narrator of this unhappy tale.
The father and Peter, in their search for Rose, travel throughout the weird town of Grigglewood and encounter the even weirder inhabitants. The highlights of this unusual population are the Grigglewood Undertakers, who appear after every death. Rhythmically stalking on to the stage in a strange, hunched bunch, the undertakers appear to be incapable of entering a scene as a group; each has their own, unique routine that takes them to the scene of the fatality.
The cast are clearly having a lot of fun: they are all excellent, and the physical-theatre and music pieces are performed well. Even the theatre technician is pulled into the performance to play a small role as God. The show relies heavily on its atmosphere to tell this tale, and it’s really well done: the gothic-style costumes are inspired by Tim Burton, and pantomime elements add a macabre, vaudeville air to the show. It genuinely stands out from others at the Fringe.
The madcap antics do seem a little frenzied, and when the show ends abruptly, after only 40 minutes, it takes the audience a moment or two to realise the performance has finished. The story, while complete, could have been stretched a little longer in order to allow this strange world to be further explored.
But Grigglewood is an unusual show, combining many different elements to provide an insane, gothic-infused tragic tale. It's definitely worth a viewing.