Skip to main content

Review of Story Hunt (Northampton) by Daniel Bye at Royal & Derngate, Northampton

Within a couple of minutes of the beginning of the history tour of Northampton, I was a bus driver about to leave the Derngate Bus Station and also about to propose to another member of our small (and all female, well except me off course) band of tourists. Having only just met the lady and not holding a driving license, this was going to be an interesting afternoon all round.

However off course this was just part of what was going to be a fun and interesting seventy five minutes of history. I was neither going to crash that bus or propose marriage. These were people of the past, representing just a few of those that met at the station of the past and this story had been related to the Story Hunt team by a child of the couple I and my companion represented.

A happy story this was to begin, however on our travels around the centre of Northampton much of the story telling was to be generally grim, such is life. This was not to make it uninteresting. As we learnt of a woman being hanged, the plague victims being piled up or the senseless murder of a local character, all the stories told by our guide Daniel Bye. Bedecked in stylish and unique attire for wandering the streets of town, you could not help but notice him, as we kept hot pursuit of his fleeing form, sometimes far ahead of us.

Much like my tour of the Royal & Derngate theatre a week before, it was a story well told and presented. The interaction and involvement of the patrons was neat and clever (I got the chance to be a judge as well as a dangerous bus driver) and brought us well into the piece. I could have almost felt the moment my hot air balloon hit the building and I grabbed my dress (gender swapping was also involved) and climbed through the window to escape my doom.

Overall it was an interesting way to spend part of a Sunday afternoon. Some stories known, some stories nice to be remembered and some stories nice and new. If Story Hunt ever comes to your town, take an umbrella and tag along.

I went on my Story Hunt around Northampton on Sunday 29th June, 2014 through Royal & Derngate, Northampton (http://www.royalandderngate.co.uk). For information about future Story Hunts and its creator, see the website at http://www.danielbye.co.uk/story-hunt.html

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Review of Great Expectations by The Royal & Derngate Actors Company at Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton

Market Boy from The Actors Company last year was a remarkable show and is likely to stay with me for a long time, so following it with this year's production was always going to be a tough call and with their production of the epic Dickens classic Great Expectations, they at least didn't lack ambition.

I have to be honest, things for me didn't start well. The first few minutes of this adaptation by Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod is a busy and convoluted sequence moving the opening part of the story in an unclear and often irritating way. For those present not aware of the original story, I wouldn't envy them trying to keep up with what is going on. However much of the trouble of this opening sequence is quickly corrected as scenes become more defined and controlled and the story is allowed to develop at a slower pace.

Perhaps also in the early part, it doesn't help either that the gender-swapped Magwitch played by Salli Bersham is a little too full on with the o…

Review of Once Upon A Grimm Tale by The Royal & Derngate Actors Company (Early) at Judge's Lodgings, Northampton

Once upon a time, there was a brave theatrical reviewer. He lived in a market town in deepest darkest Englaland, where many great and remarkable things of stage did occur. At the centre of this wondrous world of performing spectacles was a place referred to by many as the Royal Derngatus, a place of people pretending to be other people and telling tales of mystery, intrigue and frolics.

Within the fortressed walls of Royal Derngatus, there were a group of fearless players who entertained local folk for no reward, other than the thrill of seeing the joy in the faces of others. Those group of artists went by the name of Actors Companus, which many pronounced carefully when they did say it out loud. This group of merry men and women did have two forms, an early and a late, and but two days before this adventurous evening of forthcoming storytelling, the late group did perform for a third and final time a most amazing feat of theatre, going by the name of Great Expectations.


Our hero of thi…

Review of Hansel & Gretel by Warts & All at Delapré Abbey, Northampton

For those unfamiliar with Kneehigh Theatre (from where this show originally comes), the best way of explaining them is that they do traditional things, differently. This performance by Warts and All Theatre of their adaptation of the classic tale of Hansel & Gretel tells you much of what you need to know early on as a (human) rabbit is pinned down upon a table and skinned (half their costume removed). It is just one of an evening of wacky and quite brilliant moments as this production sours mostly for the sky of brilliance.

Handed to a cast of young performers, the result is often disturbingly professional. Sure it is still rough around the edges at times, but perhaps this helps the material. It doesn't actually matter if there is sparring from the cast with the audience, knowing looks and playfulness. It doesn't matter if one of the cast nearly knocks the cymbal of the musicians flying, perhaps it would have been even better if they had, this is anachic fun at its very b…