Music and Lyrics

Composer Ashley Lambert-Maberly is a rare triple threat: he wrote the book, lyrics, and composed the music for Rumpelstiltskin's Children; he has been compared to Stephen Sondheim and Gilbert & Sullivan by the Vancouver Sun's Peter Birnie, but doesn't see himself as their natural successor.

"I think I'm more interested in the story than they are, that being a storyteller is my primary directive," he says. "The music has to give something to the story and not simply be clever on its own terms; the lyrics should be establishing character or plot points, not revelling in the intricacies of its rhyme." Make no mistake, though, the comparisons flatter: "Sondheim's brilliant, and that anyone should consider me in any way like him is a huge compliment."

Rumpelstiltskin's Children is a bit of a departure for Lambert-Maberly. It was written and composed during the lengthy genesis of his hit Beyond the Meadow, so naturally he tried to do something quite different. Where Meadow was entirely through-sung, Children is a mixture of dialogue and song. "It's a farce," he explains, "you need dialogue. Meadow, though funny, was intended to make you cry, but this show, though moving, is intended to make you laugh."

Nor do the songs propel the action forward. "It's deceptively old-fashioned," the composer explains, "but very unlike the old shows. There the songs were, save for in the hands of the greats, pretty much interchangeable, just something to keep the audience awake. In Rumpelstiltskin's Children all the numbers are specifically about character--I don't think there's a song you could lift--" (i.e. sing out-of-context) "--anywhere in this show."

Lambert-Maberly is the author of several plays including Vacancy and Taming the Broken Fingernail, a Victoria Fringe Festival success. He is currently at work on Beautiful, a retelling of the Cupid & Psyche myth, and also In Pursuit of Porridge, a show for children, based on the story of Goldilocks & the Three Bears.

Rumplestiltskin's Children

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