Duffy’s Grimm piece of work

Children’s Christmas shows are as traditional as mince pies.

This year, Northumberland Theatre Company are touring Grimm Tales, adapted by the poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, at Lilliesleaf Village Hall on Saturday, December 1, at 3pm, and at Westruther Village Hall on Friday, January 4, at 7pm.

“Based on the infamous Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales, Duffy’s selection of dark, spooky stories provide seasonal entertainment for family audiences, with lots of music, scary stories and plenty of fun,” a company spokesperson promises.

“A combination of familiar and unfamiliar stories from the collection including The Golden Goose and The Musicians of Bremen ensure that this is imaginative storytelling at its very best.”

There is no shortage of material: the Grimm brothers – German philologists and students of folklore – collected 201 oral tales. Carol Ann Duffy’s versions of Grimm include some very familiar tales, but there will be surprising and unexpected elements in them all.

The Golden Goose tells the story of a young boy who is kind and generous to a starving old man in the woods. The old man tells the boy that in return for his kindness he will get a surprise when he cuts down the next tree. The surprise is a golden goose, which the boy decides to sell at the market.

On his way, he stops at an inn for the night where the innkeeper’s daughters attempt to steal one of the goose’s golden feathers – and they find themselves stuck to the goose. The next day the boy continues to the market, and soon has a group of people following him, all stuck to one another.

As the line of people walks past a palace in the town, the beautiful but very serious princess sees them and begins to laugh. The king who has been trying to amuse his daughter for years is surprised to see her so happy and allows the boy to fall in love and marry her as a reward leading to great things for the boy.

The tales are suitable for families with children aged six and over. For tickets and more information, contact 01835 870311 for the Lilliesleaf show, or 01578 740265 for the Westruther show, or visit www.northumberlandtheatre.co.uk