Discover the dark side of fairy tales

Joseph Coehlo performs in Fairytales Gone Bad, Grannylocks

Joseph Coehlo performs in Fairytales Gone Bad, Grannylocks - Credit: Archant

Classic fairy tales are given a fun yet grisly twist in two new family shows at Half Moon Theatre

Joseph was the winner of the 2015 CLiPPA award (Centre for Literacy in Primary Poetry Award)

Joseph was the winner of the 2015 CLiPPA award (Centre for Literacy in Primary Poetry Award) - Credit: Archant

Once upon a time there lived a wolf hunter named Little Red Riding Hood, a granny-aged Goldilocks and a walking dead Cinderella.

Sound familiar? Perhaps not, which is why new theatre production Fairy Tales Gone Bad is set to subvert everything you thought you ever knew about the genre in two unique imaginings at Half Moon Theatre this month.

In Grannylocks/The Monstrous Duckling, aimed at children aged three or over, a father returns home with a magical cloak that hides a story about the ugly duckling being truly monstrous, while a sweet, innocent Goldilocks is reimagined as a mean, thieving granny with sinister plans afoot.

Meanwhile, in Zombie-rella/Blood-red Hood, for families aged six and over, Cinderella is reinvented as a vampire-loving zombie and cutesy Little Red Riding Hood becomes a fearless warrior with a blood-red stained cloak.

Award-winning performance poet, and avid fairy tale fan, Joseph Coelho is the creator and performer of both shows combining storytelling, puppetry, costumes, poetry and prose for a multi-sensory experience.

Joseph says his aim is to modernise traditional stories for today’s audience while inspiring them with positive messages.

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“I was interested in re-examining the morals. You always have a beautiful princess - in 2015/16 we can be a bit better than that, I tried to turn that on its head a bit,” he explains.

Although the stories may sound overtly gruesome, and even a little too scary for some children, Joseph says his young fans enjoy exploring a little gore while in a safe environment, based on his experience of working with young students in schools and libraries.

“I want to give them something that is funny and a little bit dangerous but in a funny and way,” he says. “The fabric removes them from the horror.”

Costumes are a central part of the production and have all been created by artist and textile designer Sara Lowes who worked with Joseph to help bring the stories vividly to life.

The interactive experience will also enable children to participate in the shows, hopefully sparking their individual imaginations for their own future storytelling.

Created purposely for large theatrical audiences and smaller groups, the show will be taken around the UK by Joseph after its run at the Half Moon Theatre.

What would he like audiences to take away? “Hopefully a new experience and to not take anything for granted.

“It’s poetic theatre with a love of words, it’s definitely for the whole family. I hope adults come away inspired.

Fairytales Gone Bad will be showing at Half Moon Theatre on January 9 at 11am and 2pm. Tickets cost £6. Book at 020 7709 8900 or go online at