ANNABELLE | London, Streatham Space Project

If only more theatre were like this. Equipped with some torches, a box, a sheet, and two wheeled sections of dried foliage, Glimmer Theatre last night gracefully sped through an hour in which women flew across the tiny stage on skates, a witch ball revealed a horrid truth, and four absurdly talented actors played a cast of twenty.

The story of Annabelle, champion skater delivering her village from a winter of dire want, is an ageless folk tale, the triumph of courage and hope over greed spiced with the company’s prodigious story telling abilities. From the off, with the three “noted liars”, or furies, laying their tale before the audience, the show has much to say on the potential and possibility of truth telling. In some ways, the apparition of the three weird sisters was the show’s strongest point: their otherworldly wit has an assured and captivating charm. Imperiously summoning the hapless “stage manager” Colin to take his place on stage as the villain of the piece, or spinning pink thread across the stage as they sing a spell, they are a force to be reckoned with.

The show’s omnipresent yet lightly worn feminism feels like an antidote to every other depressing stage moment when a Cassandra is silenced or an Annie gives up her gun. Despite focusing on an act of violent cowardice, I will remember this show chiefly for the powerful female solidarity and friendship it conveys, as well as some moments of luminous stagecraft. An impromptu display of shadow puppetry, as the torches swirled the shadows of the foliage over the backdrop, will stay with me a long time. Far away from the bloated box-office smashes of the West End, Glimmer Theatre are an extraordinary reminder of theatre’s real, and lingering, magic.

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