The poster has just been unveiled for Dreamstuff Youth Theatre’s new production Andersen’s Fairytales: The Adventures Of Hans Christian Andersen. The reason I’m writing about it is because I, eh, wrote it. This is my 6th play to write for Dreamstuff, well, 6th on my own if I don’t count the ones I wrote with Mike Kelly, Philip Brennan and Stephen Colfer. I have literally been writing for Dreamstuff since I was 17. Which is a scary, scary realisation.
The above photo features Alan Doyle as Hans Christian Andersen, Ruth Phelan as half fish, half girl Ariel and Ben Murphy as the famed ogre hunter Emile Pussenbootz. In the usual Dreamstuff style, it’s got a lot of comedy, often surreal, mostly inappropriate, but I hope, very true to the original fairytales.
I’m a bit of a fairytale obsessive so when Angela Barrett gave me the commission for this year’s play and asked me what I wanted to do, I blurted ‘Andersen’s Fairytales!’ and then excused myself and explained that because we’re in the middle of Dreamstuff 10, the idea of doing a sequel to a past show seemed like a good idea. Luckily, she agreed. They’re currently balls deep in rehearsals for the play and it’s one I’m really excited about. The current Dreamstuff troupe are an amazing bunch of actors, as anyone who saw Dreamstuff 10 will attest to, and I’m looking forward to seeing what they do with all my cheap, crude jokes.
The play is a sequel to another one I wrote, Grimm Fairytales: The Adventures Of The Brothers Grimm, starring Ross Costigan and David Thompson as the titular Grimms. Hence, they have similar posters (and props to Thomas Horvath for this one). Grimm Fairytales appeared in December 2004 (and at the time set a house record for a Dreamstuff show) and six years later we’re going back to the fairytale well. This time there’s obviously a different protagonist and a new story with a whole new cast of fairytale characters. There’s a lot of similarities in both plays, but I assure you, it won’t detract from your enjoyment if you didn’t see a play that ran for a week six years ago. But if you did happen to catch Grimm Fairytales, there’ll be a few surprises you’ll appreciate. Why, maybe even some characters.
I’ll probably write up something more on Andersen’s Fairytales as it approaches, but please do not let the stigma often attached to youth theatre detract you from attending. This isn’t going to be some cutesie panto. It’s going to a brand new comedy with a really fantastic cast of young comic actors directed by a most brilliant director staged by a company with a proven track record of quality over 10 years. And I’m also pushing this hard because the audience guzzling behemoth that is Scrooge plays the week beforehand. It also played before Grimm’s Fairytales back in 2004 and it didn’t do it any harm so hopefully the omens are good for this one too. Plus, this play actually has snow in it so if the leftover snow from Scrooge keeps getting on the stage it won’t look too odd, as it did in a certain enchanted forest six years ago.
Andersen’s Fairytales: The Adventures Of Hans Christian Andersen runs in the Watergate Theatre, Kilkenny from 15th – 18th December 2010.