FAIRYFALES @ The Belgian Beer Café gets 7.5/10

FairyFales @ The Belgian Beer Café
Thursday, January 21, 2021


Born from the oral tradition, in which knowledge, art, and ideas are communicated and preserved between generations orally, came the illustrious storyteller. The expressive bard, the sharer of knowledge, the teller of tales, poems, history, and human experience. Though most learn the ability to communicate orally in tender years, the mastery of such an art as storytelling requires a finesse that not all will acquire in their time. Budding among the ranks of these masters, is the talented cast from Modicum Theatre Perth, who are captivating audiences with their performance of Fairyfales at The Belgian Beer Café, during Perth’s 2020 Fringe Festival.

The cast are simply wonderful. The depth of love for their creation is palpable upon Leigh Fitzpatrick’s face. As creator and host, they exude passion for their craft at every moment, whether watching their cast members perform, or standing upon the performance space themselves. Their expression is not only verbal, but a whole-body manifestation of stories as they come alive both on stage and in the minds of the audience. Not to be outshone, Courtney Maldo is a hurricane filled with sunshine, her vibrant energy and slapstick antics invigorating to witness. Jamie Cook is more reserved in his initial storytelling, but his characterisation is remarkable and in these moments he truly shines as a Shakespearean-esque actor. Felix Camponovo is affable, endearing, and engaging, his amusement at all things, whether within his own set or that of a castmate, is truly delightful. Last, but certainly not least, audio tech Beck Thorman, whose multi talented efforts see them move from behind the scenes to that of the stage. Their tone is sombre, sweet, and their depth of passion for storytelling unmistakable.

FairyFales, the show itself, is a blend of intercontinental mythology, history, and comical quips, with the occasional accompaniment of characters such as the Hulk, a slinky horse, and a curation of curse words utilised to embellish each storyteller’s shining moment. The storytellers take turns to enchant the audience through transfigured and intermingling tales of war, woe, greed, power, art, love, and lessons learned. Through Norse, Japanese, Indian, and Middle-Eastern mythology (to name but a few), and channelling stories such as Ragnarök, The Four Sons of Aymon, Young Krishna and the Universe, One Thousand and One Nights, Sinbad, The Boy with the Ale Keg, and a clear audience favourite The Boy Who Drew Cats, the stage is continuously alive with references to ancient tales. Due to the oral nature of the performance, it is not possible to provide further insight into the retellings of these tales without spoilers, other than to say they are well-researched, well-performed, comical, and fascinating.

Your concentration and listening abilities will need to be a 10/10 for this one, as it’s fast-paced at times. Visual learners may struggle due to the absence of props/visual cues (though there is one perfectly apt prop used during the performance). Due to this, the performance may not be able to be appreciated by everyone, especially those unable to digest an audiobook, poetry podcast, or general spoken performance. However, if you were enamoured by the content of history class, love age-old tales from the lips of potty-mouthed bards, that are filled with satirical musings and the odd ice-licking giant cow, this one’s for you. It is for the listeners, the feelers, the artists – for those who sit keenly by campfires with dark ales and red wines in hand, as masters of orality exert their talents to share their passion and express through tales their knowledge of history, art, experiences and an understanding of our world.

Modicum Theatre’s Fairyfales certainly deserves its spot again in this year’s Fringe Festival line-up at The Belgian Beer Café, and is highly recommended for anyone open to the aforementioned experience. All in all, it’s beer and bards; a winning combination!