Theater Review: Sell Your Soul to See The Wild Bride. It’s Worth It.

Photo: Richard Termine

You've got less than three weeks to catch The Wild Bride, the latest splashy, genre-braiding fantasy from visionary Emma Rice and Britain's Kneehigh Theatre (Brief Encounter, The Red Shoes).

In supersaturated color and wraparound sound, Rice and composer Stu Barker have created a blues-inflected take on The Handless Maiden, one of the Brother's Grimm's grimmer fairy tales. There's mud, there's blood, there's amputation — there's even a Tim Burton-ish pair of crude hand-replacements, made out of rusty farm tools. The Wild Bride is a stylish, pop-art bricolage that pits the Maiden — played in three stages of life by three mind-blowingly talented dancer/singer/musician/actresses (Audrey Brisson, Patrycja Kujawska, Etta Murfitt) — against The Devil (formidable tenor and dapper gremlin Andrew Durand). Caught between them is a clueless father-husband figure, amusingly and poignantly assayed by Stuart Goodwin. The band is hot, the atmosphere is charged with comic-book energy — we're in some kind of white-soul fantasy of the Delta — and the Buffy-ish triumph of the feminine feels refreshed and revived by Rice's all-in, red-blooded, seriously playful approach. Absolutely, positively sell your soul to see this before it scampers back into the forest.

The Wild Bride is playing at St. Ann's Warehouse through March 17.