This Twisted Tale

US Tour & Edinburgh

May-August 2011

Co-directed with The Paper Doll Militia, this is a high-octane piece of aerial theatre. It uses fully integrated and highly-skill aerial work on invented apparatus: a lamp post, monkey bars and a swing to tell the story of a lonely girl’s encounter with a crass and unpredictable incarnation of the Devil. Performed, designed and written by Rain Anya and Sarah Bebe Holmes, with a score by David Paul Jones and technical direction by Mike Estee.

This Twisted Tale opened at Santa Fe Armory for the Arts before touring to Kinetic Arts Oakland and Dance Mission San Francisco and on to the Edinburgh Fringe where it performed at Out of The Blue from 3rd-28th August.

Veronika Kallus, Three Weeks

in a mystic marquee of blue air and fairy music, air-light acrobats swing and sway, astonishing the audience with their body control. In a space high above ground that reminds vaguely of a circus tent, a little girl meets the red-haired devil, climbing up lampposts, ropes and swings. Storytelling and movement weave a new world of faraway adventures into the blue air above a playground. The artists show immense skill; it is baffling how they speak with such calm voices while their bodies are under so much tension. Various parts of the story are wonderfully poetic, with some scenes delicate and beautiful…an overwhelming production.

Dorothy Max Prior, Total Theatre Magazine

This Twisted Tale is a modern fairytale, a coming-of-age story played out with vim and vigour by two female performers using a whole toolbox of theatrical tricks that includes circus (aerial and pole), puppetry, projection, shadow theatre, verbal storytelling, and dialogue – with feisty physical performances binding it all together…the playground – which is represented very beautifully onstage by an oversized swing, a set of monkey bars, and a lampost that doubles as a ‘Chinese pole’, all ready for the climbing… Enter the ‘tumbling and whirling’ Luce (short for Lucifer, we suspect) – all punk posturing and petulance, a glorious mess of red curls, Cleopatra eyeliner, and black leather boots. She’s the devil incarnate: the new girl in town, or Chloe’s imaginary friend, or her alter-ego – choose your interpretation – a Peter Pan character who stays just where she is whilst Chloe grows and changes, yet is catalyst to those changes through her provocations. This all augmented by the simple but sweet shadow puppet vignettes, played on a little portable booth, and supported by a very lovely soundscape of distorted music-box melodies and toy piano arpeggios composed by Grid Iron associate artist David Paul Jones. It is a charming and poignant piece that tackles the marriage between circus skills and theatrical storytelling with great gusto.

Jo Turbitt, Across The Arts

The audience enter into a mystical atmosphere tinted with exciting possibilities, poised dangerously on the edge of something exciting… we are not disappointed. Stunning visuals with echoes of Tim Burton both in the set and character/ costume design immediately set the show up to be a story which toys with the strange and powerful influence of the imagination on childhood and subsequently adulthood. A fantastic use of perspectives, carry us on a visual journey using aerial skills, shadow puppetry and object theatre to support the narrative. It brought joy to my heart to watch an aerial act woven in almost seamlessly to a story – at last! A two-hander, the pair of performers tumble through, over and behind their set which is an aerial-acrobatic realm of possibility: they literally use each other to climb and escalate through their playground of infinite opportunities. Fortunately the visuals and story gel quite well so that neither looks displaced against the other. There are echoes of Alice in Wonderland, but only occasionally. This is a fantastic show; humourous, witty, clever, enchanting and captivating.