Review | ‘Tale of Tales’ brings an ethereal, cinematic experience to Fringe World

Tale of Tales | State Theatre Centre of WA | til Jan 19 | ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ 

Family stories, family secrets, historical facts, and century-old Italian traditions of storytelling and fairy tales, are woven together into a contemporary narrative within Tale of Tales.

Cinematic use of shadow puppetry and projections brings together vignettes of fairy tales, family history and historical facts into darkly beautiful entwined parallel narratives.

Revealing a shadowy past of extreme xenophobia in Australian History during World War Two, and untold family stories kept hidden of this time.

Shadows, silhouettes, light refractions and aberrations are overlaid and projected onto a large screen with the spoken word narrating, creating beautifully framed vignettes; of a cinematic ethereal experience.

A very personal family story which reminds us of a forgotten shared past in Australia.

Something Australia is still living with; internment and detention of people, who the powers that be at the time presently; deem other and alien.

A story of Australia’s shadowy past during the World Wars and a family trying to survive. Fighting and escaping the rise of fascism in Italy only to find xenophobia in Australia.

The shadow puppetry is exquisite to experience, beautifully intelligent use of cutouts and silhouettes and light, giving depth perspective and movement; a cinematic dimension to the shadows.

Revealing the poignant historical and current experiences of the horrors of war and immigration for some new Australians, the long term negative effects of detention on the individual and family; and a brief historical reveal of xenophobia in Australia, through the use of archival WW2 photographs and Australian war propaganda posters.

Amongst all the shadows is a magically narrated puppetry show, presenting a love story across time, generations and space; separated by land and sea.

Presented by Bow & Dagger, a Perth based theatre company creating work based on fairy tales, myths, and history. The Bow and Dagger theatre company believe in female-driven work, they are particularly interested in championing the voices of femme, non-binary, and LGBTQI identifying artists, as well as those of diverse backgrounds and experiences.

Clare Testoni directs Tale of Tales with actor Paul Grabovac on stage at the State Theatre Centre Rehearsal Room during Fringe World 2021.

See Tale of Tales until Tuesday 19th January. For tickets and more information, head to

Guy Gomeze is an artist, arts worker, photographer, writer, and occasional curator, they have worked in the arts for 25 years between the east coast and west coast of Australia.

Image: David Cox

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