Review: Grimm Tales, The Dukes play in the park in Lancaster

After a two-year absence from Lancaster’s Williamson Park, The Dukes’ outdoor walkabout theatre production of Grimm Tales is delighting audiences again.

Thursday, 12th August 2021, 12:30 pm

Grimm Tales: Witches, Wolves, Fairies and Frogs is a fun and fresh adaptation of the famous Brothers Grimm fairy tales told as the audience follows the actors – initially disguised as park rangers – from one location to another in spectacular surroundings.

This is where things get clever, as the actors transform themselves from park rangers into witches, wolves, fairies, frogs and even a hedgehog.

This adaptation, called Grimm Tales, has been brought bang up-to-date and includes a dance routine for TikTok by Lewis Kennedy (who plays Hans), modern music, and a wolf with an Elvis Presley hairdo and Elvis jokes (played brilliantly by Clare Storey, who plays Sweetie and other characters). There were some genuinely funny lines that were cleverly woven into the play at the right time.

A scene featuring Helen Longworth and Clare Storey from The Dukes production of Grimm Tales in Williamson Park, Lancaster. Picture by Grant Archer.

Considering there were only five actors, they did a remarkable job of transforming into the different characters and were completely believable.

The play was entertaining from start to finish and portrayed a number of fairytales, including Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and Hansel and Gretel.

There is nothing so invigorating as watching a play in the open air and enjoying being entertained while also being up close and personal with the actors, as opposed to sitting in a theatre watching from afar.

It’s almost as if it’s a play in 4K and you are watching it unfold right in front of you.

Derek Elroy in a scene from The Dukes production of Grimm Tales in Williamson Park, Lancaster. Picture by Grant Archer.

The relationship between Helen Longworth (who plays Camilla) and Derek Elroy (Amp) develops over the course of the play, from starting out resenting each other to realising what is important in life at the end.

There was also a nice relationship that developed between Alyce Liburd (who plays Greta) and Lewis Kennedy who ended up as friends.

Of course, in every fairy tale, there always has to be a ‘baddie’ and Clare Storey was perfect for the role as ‘Wolf Elvis’.

Her mannerisms and actions were very convincing and she played the ‘evil’ role well.

Clare Storey in a scene from The Dukes production of Grimm Tales in Williamson Park, Lancaster. Picture by Grant Archer.

On the way to the last set of the gingerbread house for Hansel and Gretel, candy canes were given out – a nice touch.

Grimm Tales wasn’t ‘grim’ at all, in fact, it was just the tonic people need after Covid - laughter, good acting, nice surroundings, and enjoyment. More next year please!

The play in the park runs Tuesdays-Sundays until August 22 and tickets are selling fast, especially for weekend performances, with eight nights sold out.

Tickets are priced £20 and must be booked in advance.

Social distancing measures will be in place, limiting the audience numbers to 300 per show.

For more information about the show and to book, visit the

Dukes website www.dukeslancaster.org or ring the Dukes box office on 01524 598500.