Review: Fantastic and Fantastical GOBLIN MARKET at Head Trick Theatre

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Head Trick Theatre closes out their spectacular 2018-2019 season with the musical GOBLIN MARKET, directed by Rebecca Maxfield. Based on the 19th century poem by Christina Rossetti, the verses have been adapted for the stage by Polly Pen and Peggy Harmon.

Goblin Market is the tale of two sisters and their dealings with the group of goblins that peddle their wares of delicious fruit every evening. Although cautioned never to deal with the eerie men, bold Laura (Sarah Dunn) disregards this warning, and it's up to her sister Lizzie (Sophie Adickes) to break the curse that will surely lead to her sister's premature death. In the stage production, the two adult sisters have returned to their childhood home to revisit and retell what happened to them in their youth. On the surface, it's a simple tale of warning, but there are many possible allegories underneath the surface that make this work rich and thought provoking. Every element of Head Trick Theatre's production of this show comes together so well, making it well worth seeing.

Sarah Dunn and Sophie Adickes are both perfectly cast, embodying the differing attitudes and actions of both sisters. The entirety of the musical is on these two actresses alone - there is no chorus, or other actors - so they must portray both the sisters and the goblins, but the pair do a great job on top of being excellent singers. The choreography, by Carson Pavao, becomes surprisingly intricate at times, especially during one particular song the sisters sing to each other while sitting side by side and performing a very intricate pattern of coordinated arm and hand movements that is seriously impressive.

The cast is accompanied by a piano, cello, and violin, led by musical director Billy Petterson. The music is exactly what one would expect to accompany this somewhat otherworldly tale - sometimes spare and haunting, sometimes energetic and bold, all well performed by the small band. The smallest criticism - possibly unavoidable given the size of AS220's black box theatre - is that at times, when the singers were not belting, the music occasionally overpowered and obscured their voices, at times making it difficult to hear what was being said. Fortunately moments like this were few.

The set and props are perfectly reminiscent of a long forgotten Victorian era attic, including a music box with a visible music roll. Lighting is used to good effect throughout the show, whether helping depict day versus night, or turning the actresses an orcish shade of green as they portray their goblin tempters.

Goblin Market continues at the AS220 Black Box theatre on Sunday March 31st at 8:00pm and from Thursday April 4th through Sunday April 7th, with matinee performances on both weekend days. Tickets are $20 (with Thursday evening being Pay-What-You-Can) or free with a Brown/RISD student ID, and can be ordered online ( or at the door. For more information about Head Trick Theatre, visit

Pictured: Sophie Adickes as Lizzie

Photo Credit: Samantha Gaus


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A life-long Rhode Islander, Erica has been an avid theatre-goer since being taken to children's shows at the Warwick Musical Theatre. She is also an academic librarian in Boston, an occasional bal... (read more about this author)


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