Rose Red touches the heartJennifer de Klerk
Jennifer de Klerk: Forget the feel-good airy fairy-ness of bluebird-singing Snow White and those cute vertically challenged Hi Ho guys.
This is a fairy tale with a difference as Dianne Simpson unpacks the motives of a murderer, combining wit and pathos into a moving and ultimately poignant story.
Effortlessly she moves from narration to song, each carefully chosen to augment her story, starting with the utterly appropriate Viva la Vida – “when I ruled the world” …
Who is she, this wicked queen who brought about the demise of poor innocent little Snow White and then was chased over a cliff by those pesky dwarves – splat, which was decidedly not the way she would have chosen to go?
The set is rustic and fairy tale – simple furniture, drifts of leaves, the cottage where she confronted Snow White so many years ago. But why is she back, this ghost seeking retribution, or is it redemption?
Circles within circles, read it at many levels, but this is a first-class performance. With Dawid Bowerhoff providing atmosphere and accompaniment on the piano, Dianne Simpson introduces us to a complex, very hurt, very human woman.
“The greatest love story never told,” she says wistfully of her king, who raised her from the kitchens, made her a queen, then abandoned her to the stares and gossip of a court where she was never accepted. Again, Lady GaGa’s Poker Face provides the perfect backdrop.
With perfect timing and often very funny asides, she takes us through her motives – jealousy, without a doubt, but also rebellion, against her rigid upbringing, against the confines of fairy tale.
At least she forced Snow White out to seek her prince … this feisty do-it-yourself lady has no patience with those who sit around waiting for the prince to come!
Yin and Yang, darkness and light… can you have one without the other, even in fairyland?
This is an hour of finely honed entertainment that touches the heart.
Rose Red, written and performed by Dianne Simpson, with Dawid Bowerhoff on the piano, directed by Pieter Bosch Botha and presented by Daphne Kuhn is at the Old Mutual Theatre on the Square until September 1.
Auto & General Theatre on the Square., West Street Sandown Johannesburg Gauteng South Africa