You know when you’re reading a story to a child and they say ‘again!’ and you have to go back and tell it again? That. Our storyteller is Seth Kriebel, but he isn’t sitting in a cosy armchair, and there is no fringed standard lamp by his side. He’s sat at a desk lit by Anglepoise lamps, speaking into a mic, a blue screen behind him. Or an orange screen. You choose. One is yes and one is no. One is left and one is right. one is up and one is down. Stay on the train? Get off the train? Open the suitcase? Leave the suitcase unopened? Life is full of choices, but unlike life, here we get a second chance. Back we go to start again, and again. Cast your vote – this is a democracy. Majority rule.
We This Way is a clever take on both traditional storytelling and contemporary interactive game-playing. The archetypal world of fairy tales is richly mined: there’s a hidden staircase down to an underground world and a line of discarded shoes (The Twelve Dancing Princesses come to mind). A staircase in a tower (Rapunzel, Rumpelstiltskin, Sleeping Beauty). We meet a Minotaur in reading glasses. We find a fairground, and enter a hall of mirrors. Elsewhere, down other paths, there are lighthouses, boats and treasure hunts. Glass slippers. Ruby slippers. Red shoes. Winged sandals.
The stories wend and weave – sometimes linear, sometimes circular, often spiralling. It’s a complex piece to deliver, the performer at the mercy of the audience, who determine which paths to take. But we’re in safe hands – Seth Kriebel knows what he’s doing, and does it very well. We travel through a multiplicity of worlds without leaving our seats, enchanted – a simple but spellbinding piece of theatre.
We This Way was commissioned by and developed at Battersea Arts Centre. At Summerhall every day except Tuesdays throughout August, 12.25