The cast of "The Brothers Grimm" Source: Courtesy The Arctic Playhouse

Review: 'The Brothers Grimm' a Lively, Strange, and Stylish Show

Joe Siegel READ TIME: 3 MIN.

"The Brothers Grimm," now being presented at The Arctic Playhouse, is not a play as much as a collection of skits satirizing beloved literary classics.

Authors Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm published over 200 fairy tales including "The Frog King," "Hansel and Gretel," "Cinderella," "Snow White," and "Rumpelstiltskin." Writer Don Zolidis has created a show within a show, as actors bring these legendary characters to life with the assistance of two well-coiffed narrators (Bailey Goff and Michelle Katherine Wylie). There are zany sight gags, puns, and pop culture references sprinkled throughout.

We see the beautiful girl Rapunzel with her long braided hair locked in a tower by an evil sorceress. She grabs an oversized cell phone and is horrified to discover there is no wi-fi. There's also a post-feminist take on Snow White, featuring veiled commentary on how sexist it is for a woman to be taking care of seven dwarves.

The actors play multiple roles and sport a variety of masks. There are also talking frogs, talking fish, and "crab hands." Audience members, meanwhile, are encouraged to provide sound effects and to shout "Don't go in there!" as Hansel and Gretel make their way into a dark forest.

Daniel Holmes and Eileen Goretaya
Source: Courtesy The Arctic Playhouse

It's an odd show, but it's pulled off with style and enthusiasm, courtesy of Jeffery Massery, making his directorial debut. Massery starred in the 2022 production of "Lie Cheat and Genuflect," and must have encouraged his performers to have fun re-creating these outlandish personalities. Even when the jokes fall flat, these actors are always amusing to watch.

Daniel Holmes, last seen in "Miracle on 34th Street," is a master at farce, affecting various accents and displaying a joyful exuberance. Newcomer Cheryl Dedora-Pynn is deliciously wicked as the Sorceress and gleefully neurotic as Little Red Riding Hood's ill-fated grandmother.

Rachel Bartlett ("The 39 Steps"), Eileen Goretaya ("Lost in Yonkers"), and David Mann ("Picasso at the Lapin Agile") throw themselves into portraying princesses and kings with infectious energy. Anthony J. Cox, a theater veteran making his Arctic debut, gives a real tour de force. The most impressive part of the show is when Cox is required to play Cinderella's wicked stepsisters, the wicked stepmother, and Cinderella herself. Cox vamps it up as he frantically switches wigs and puts on a blue ball gown to tell the story. It was an incredibly hilarious performance with one big laugh after another.

Praise must also be given to Sandra Richard's imaginative and detailed set design, consisting of huge painted bookshelves on both sides of the stage, a convincing replica of Rapunzel's tower, and giant pages of a book which are turned to reveal the immortal phrase "Once Upon a Time."

"The Brothers Grimm" runs through March 17. The Arctic Playhouse, 1249 Main St., West Warwick, RI. For tickets, call 401-573-3443 or visit

by Joe Siegel

Joe Siegel has written for a number of other GLBT publications, including In newsweekly and Options.

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