Studio 58
The Secret in the Wings by Mary Zimmerman

Dates and Venue 18 November - 5 December 2010, 8pm (Matinees 3pm Sat & Sun, except November 20) | Studio 58, Langara College, 100 West 49th Avenue

Reviewer Melanie Ewan

The Secret in the Wings, written by Mary Zimmerman, takes us on an entertaining adventure through seven fairytales, framed within an adaptation of Beauty and the Beast. Do not be fooled, this is no Disney classic; while there certainly is a quality of humour and innocence to the story, the tales within have a darker edge to them, transforming us back to the time of The Brothers Grimm and almost-forgotten European folk tales.

The play begins by introducing us to a young girl, Heidi, and her babysitter, Mr. Fitzpatrick, who is indisputably (according to Heidi) a terrible ogre. We follow Mr. Fitzpatrick throughout the remainder of the play as he unfolds the world of fairytales to Heidi, weaving through tales such as The Princess who Couldn’t Laugh and Six Swans. The tales and their characters comes to life, dancing within and between each other, until a final grand transformation brings everything and everyone back to a surprising reality which even Mr. Fitzpatrick could not have seen coming.

The actors do a fantastic job of bringing to life the dreamlike and magical world of The Secret in the Wings. Their evident enthusiasm for this play remains strong throughout the show, which allows the audience to focus on the magic of the story, rather than the effort behind it. The fantastic set design, lighting, music and costumes, complimented the play well, carrying the audience through the ever changing scenes and stories in seamless precision.

Zimmerman feels that theatre is like a time machine which can transport one in to a dream world in a way which is only elsewhere felt once sleep descends. The Secret in the Wings is no exception, as it quickly transports to audience in to the veiled world of dreams and enchantment. From forests and castles to swans, ships and tombs, The Secret in the Wings brings us an illuminating and macabre story which is extremely enjoyable from start to finish.

© 2010 Melanie Ewan