I was very pleased to attend a night of performance storytelling last night at The Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf. I'd never been to anything like this before and had absolutely no expectations, apart from seeing someone stand in front of me telling me a story. What I actually got was an fantastically thought out experience full of fantasy and atmosphere.
The Crick Crack Club is the Uk's premiere performance storytelling promoter and programmer, they have been going for about twenty years and perform all over Europe. I have long been a member of theirs on Facebook but have never taken the opportunity to go and watch them. After last night I now wish I had taken the chance a long time ago. The whole presentation, from the moment you walked into the door to the moment you left the event, was fabulously eerie and magical. The performances were staged in what appears to be a disused warehouse and we were led through a myriad of passageways to rooms hosting a wonderful collection of new art pieces by Joshua Wiskey (one piece in particular was breathtaking, painted when he was only twenty, I wish i could remember the name of it!). We navigated our way through a whispering forest where you had to whisper to the trees to receive good wishes. There were short films by Boris and Sergey; Mucky \Puppets and others. There was also a beautiful installation of art where you wrote your name on ribbon, based on a part of London to commemorate all those who died through prostitution and poverty. Finally you end up in the bar which had such a welcoming feel, you walked into a room of lights with a market stall in the middle acting as the bar. So simply done, but so brilliantly and imaginatively put together.
Then we were treated to the main event. Our storyteller was Clare Muireann Murphy and she presented four stories based around the hour of the wolf. All of these were superb; her characterisation and humour shone through. Clare is a very experienced storyteller with a wonderful repertoire. Her Irish accent lends a warmth to her performance and she involved the audience brilliantly, never making you feel as if you are on the spot. It was a joyous performance, reminding me of great stand-up routines. The four stories had a macabre backdrop but were told with such vigour and vitality that you were taken in without ever feeling afraid. Her 'Little Red Riding Hood' was beautifully told and said to me how much pleasure she gets from telling stories such as this.
I would highly recommend going to one of these performances, The festival of fairytales runs until 18th December, but they are returning next year to the Soho Theatre.