Musical that deals with trauma through fairy tale characters is destined for big things after Felpham debut

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
A musical which tackles themes like trauma, mental health and recovery through the lens of familiar fairy tale characters is destined for big things after debuting in Felpham Village Hall last week.

The show – called The Happily Ever After Twist – is a labour of love written by Tim Wagter, with co-writers Sally Wagter Johanna Whatmore, and premiered on Saturday, July 6, to rave reviews from audiences.

Tim wrote every song in the two and a half hour show, and said its plot – which follows main character Dean attending therapy alongside a host of classic fairy tale characters – was inspired by personal experiences during the Covid-19 pandemic. In fact, he said, many of the songs were first written as sincere expressions of feeling.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He and Sally said they wanted to help undo the pain caused by lockdown by presenting a world in which even fairy tale characters need therapy.

The cast of The Happily Ever After Twist.The cast of The Happily Ever After Twist.
The cast of The Happily Ever After Twist.

"I know a lot of people suffered emotionally during lockdown not being able to see friends and family,” he said. “All of this had a really big impact on me. I use music to express myself, so this felt like a natural thing to do. The idea was to help people feel less alone in anxiety.”

It’s an emotional subject and, Sally said, that came through in the performance itself, which proved to be as cathartic for the cast as it was for the audience: “I think everyone felt emotional telling the story. Each part of the story wasn’t just its own thing, it related to someone in the audience; I remember one person telling us it was almost like a therapy session for them, as well as the characters.

"It’s all about having compassion for yourself, speaking out about injustice, realising its not your fault, conquering challenges and feeling like yourself again.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Fortunately, those themes hit home with audience members who saw their own experiences reflected by those of the characters onstage.

One audience member said the show was “A rich tapestry of insights , understandings and a profound form of storytelling which connected in different ways with each one of us in the audience.”

Another added that the “script and music were wonderful so cleverly done and I felt it connected with us all’

Related topics: