Based on The Handless Maiden by the brothers Grimm, this grown up fairytale charts the trials and tribulations of a girl who is accidentally sold to the Devil by her father.
Adapted and directed by Emma Rice, with music by Stu Barker and Carl Grose, the versatility and skill of Kneehigh theatre company is something quite special. The performers are required to be actors, singers, dancers, puppeteers and musicians so as an audience we are never quite sure what is coming next and are constantly surprised and delighted.
Three actors share the title role, each representing the girl at different stages in her life. Each brings something unique and endearing, but it is Patrycia Kujawaska’s performance as The Wild, however, that is probably the most affecting – her physicality as the young girl turns feral is incredible. All three have very little dialogue, instead Etta Murfitt’s choreography speaks volumes and no emotion is lost. Live music often features in Kneehigh’s work and this is no exception, Stuart McLoughlin’s voice perfectly suited to singing the blues.
Haunting and poetic, The Wild Bride is more akin to last year’s The Red Shoes than Kneehigh’s adaptation of Brief Encounter, right down to the removal of body parts! While it is as slick as you would expect from this theatre company, it feels more stripped back, smaller and rougher.
It’s not perfect, the story is a little thin at times, but for creativity and versatility The Wild Bride is a must-see.