The Faerie Thorn | Theatre review
Big Telly Theatre Company • The MAC, Belfast
By Chantelle Frampton
Jane Talbot’s The Faerie Thorn has been brought to life by the Big Telly Theatre Company. They well and truly embodied the fantasy and dark comedy of Talbot’s short stories as we were transported to another world for the evening.
The first short story of the night featured Farmer Man Donaghy. They explored the complex issue of discontent in one’s marriage and juxtaposed it with very dark ideas (such as ways in which to kill Wife Donaghy) which is intertwined with very intriguing humour. The mixture of big people, little people, trolls, royalty and a standard skinning, the first short story was both an embodiment of Grimm’s fairy tales with aspects of Irish culture we can all recognise interwoven throughout.
The second story was much slower than the first and whole heartedly tugged at the audience’s heart strings. Their use of upbeat music to very heavy topics – an example being the gospel-esque song about the stealing of men’s souls – creates an unsettling tone as the audience is forced to work at their emotional reaction as it is not simply handed to them.
The third and final story of the night explored the common fairy tale theme of the changeling. This play perfectly embodied both the otherworld and Irish culture. We couldn’t help but giggle at the references to tea and flapjacks alongside the nosy neighbour we have all, no doubt, experienced. There was an incredible apposition of humour in conjunction with scenes that were much harder to watch, such as exorcisms. Further to this, it is incredibly impressive the way in which all cast members switch from character to character throughout the play. Their use of props from skeletons to Knows it all Women is inspired as they bring life to the inanimate.
I cannot praise the Big Telly Theatre Company enough as they well and truly brought Jane Talbot’s vision to life. It was a night of laughter, tears and some slight wincing.