St. Ann's Warehouse will welcome back Kneehigh and director Emma Rice for the New York premiere of The Wild Bride. In this adaptation of The Brothers Grimm fairy tale "The Girl Without Hands," narrated by Satan himself, a father accidentally sells his daughter to the Devil. When our heroine cleverly escapes, a lyrical love story laced with devilish humor unfolds. The production features a bluegrass score by longtime Kneehigh composer Stu Barker, performed by live musicians and the cast.
Performances of The Wild Bride will take place at the new St. Ann's Warehouse (29 Jay Street) February 23-March 17 (see above schedule). Critics are welcome as of Tuesday, February 26 for an official opening on Wednesday, February 27.
The Wild Bride comes to St. Ann's Warehouse on the heels of tremendous acclaim internationally and at Berkeley Rep, where it made its American premiere last year, and where the production is in the midst of an encore run until it comes to Brooklyn. The San Francisco Chronicle calls The Wild Bride "exhilarating," and writes, "This latest taste of the inexhaustible creativity of England's Kneehigh Theatre is a feast of timeless story, irresistible music and wildly imaginative theatricality." Variety has said of the show, "Kneehigh is back in top form with this stunningly intelligent dance and musical theater version of a Grimm's fairytale...It's not just the story itself that's life-affirming here; it's the endless invention and creativity."
The Wild Bride is classic Kneehigh: an adaptation of a canonical work for which Rice and her collaborators bring to bear lush design, live bluegrass music (by Stu Barker, with lyrics by Carl Grose), movement (by Etta Murfitt) and other theatrical tools to create a world at once dark and humorous. The designers-including Bill Mitchell (sets), Myriddin Wannell (costumes), Malcolm Rippeth (lighting) and Simon Baker (sound)-produce a stunning elemental landscape of dust, clay and fire. Rippeth and Baker were on the award-winning design team for Brief Encounter.
Our heroine, over the course of her life, continually finds herself at a crossroads. Betrayed by her father, she chooses to walk into the wilderness, rejecting not only the Devil, but her home as well. In the wild she meets a prince and becomes pregnant, but when he is called to war, her heart breaks. She brings up her child in the cool green of the forest and, miraculously, her broken heart grows back. It's a tale of love, loss, betrayal, desire, obsession, sin and redemption.
The "brilliant cast" (San Francisco Chronicle) features three brides: Audrey Brisson as the Girl, Patrycja Kujawska as the Wild and Etta Murfitt as the Woman; as well as Stuart Goodwin as the Father and the Prince; Andrew Durand (the lead from Warhorse on Broadway) as the Devil; and the musicians Ian Ross and Damon Daunno.
St. Ann's Warehouse has become the New York home of Cornwall-based Kneehigh, to which The New York Times has ascribed "ingenious story-theater stagecraft." The relationship began in 2009, when St. Ann's premiered director Emma Rice's adaptation of Noël Coward's Brief Encounter, which went on to a successful run on Broadway at Studio 54. In 2010, the company returned to St. Ann's with The Red Shoes, an adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen tale in which Patrycja Kujawska gave a tour-de-force performance as The Girl.
Tickets $35-$55 can be purchased online at www.stannswarehouse.org, by phone at 718.254.8779 (Tue-Sat, 1pm-7pm) or 866.811.4111(Mon-Fri, 9am-9pm; Sat and Sun, 10am-6pm) and in person at the St. Ann's Warehouse Box Office at 29 Jay Street in DUMBO, Brooklyn (Tue-Sat, 1pm-7pm).