Hidden amongst all the Martians and idiosyncratic vehicle purchases, ran dark untold tales left to be confronted by the imagination of the audience.
11th Feb 2pm
The Alec Clegg Studio is already a lovely intimate space, but add to it a raggedy chair, blankets, a plate of biscuits and a homely feeling is easily created. This feeling was contrasted and complimented by six storytellers who explored (un)homeliness in a set of rather interesting spoken and musical performances, as part of The Little Leeds Fringe.
The six stories, brought together by the theme of the (un)homely made the audience feel alternately uncomfortable, amused and enchanted. Two of the best were Ben Tickle’s Native, a childhood memoir about finding out what that he is in fact a Martian, and Henry Raby’s My Dad’s Holiday, about buying a submarine, a zeppelin and a space rocket. These were amusing stories to make you smile, yet hidden amongst all the Martians and idiosyncratic vehicle purchases, ran dark untold tales left to be confronted by the imagination of the audience.
A magical tale about a boy liberating a enchanted creature from the stars, Conor Whelan’s You Wake Up in a Different Room, was perhaps the one story that felt less in line with the theme. Yet it was the most interactive, allowing the audience to decide the course of the tale. We ended up giving the name Oscar to the tribal chief, visiting towns and fighting giant worms.
Sarah Turner went back to the roots of storytelling with her guitar. Confronted with more familiar choices, the audience opted for a song about an undergraduate life and parents worrying about it going off-the-rails rather than maritime melodies. In fact, her beautiful rendition of Richard Shindell’s You Stay Here conveyed the most pleasant and hopeful of (un)homely feelings of all the performances.
Finally, Jake Holdsworth’s ‘Apple’ was a memoir filled with cups of tea and Michael Heap’s Build to Last, a story which took me back to one of my favorite childhood books. This completed a lovely afternoon of storytelling which ought to have been better attended.