King Shahryar of Baghdad has married then murdered a succession of new spouses every day since his first faithless spouse deceived him.
Now there are no more eligible young virgins left except Scheherezade and her sister – and the only way she can stay alive is to tell him a new story every night, ending on a cliff-hanger each time so that he feels compelled to stay her sentence and find out what happens next.
Lu Kemp’s physically fluent production relies on swift costume changes and the adept doubling of the multinational cast to tell the stories.
The tales include, among others, a man whose flatulent excesses earn him an unwanted entry on the calendar, a fiancée who sacrifices her own happiness to help her betrothed obtain the woman of his dreams, and a wise young girl who wittily proves she knows more than all the scholarly elders.
Lights twinkle overhead, Take it Easy Hospital provides original musical and, although there’s an underlying political resonance, this selective adaptation of One Thousand and one Nights sets out primarily to entertain and, with charm, humour and a bit of darkness, succeeds in doing just.
Tricycle, Kilburn High Road, NW6 7JR
Tube | Kilburn
Until 12th January
£14.00 – £20.00
Photo: Tristram Kenton