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

Popular posts from this blog

Review of Bugsy Malone (Clyde Company) at The Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton

Last night I was back at Royal & Derngate to see the Youth Theatre/Young Company production of Bugsy Malone, this time seeing the almost completely different cast of Clyde Company. This second evening of the show had the fortune of running much smoother, with less of the technical issues that had beset the previous evening and restricted the success of some of the scenes.

It was most apparent in the Fat Sam's Grand Slam scene, which became a greater hive of activity, with a full dance routine taking place, which unfortunately hadn't happened the previous night. Leading this scene was a full-on performance from Morgan Charles as Tullulah, exhibiting the vocal talent, and most especially the dance skills she had shown in last years Fame.

In the lead for this second company, and taking a much different approach to the role, was Nathan Stroud. Here we had a more mature Bugsy, not just in age, but in personality. The slightly more serious style worked excellently alongside a st…

Review of Planet Circus OMG! 2016 at Billing Aquadrome, Northampton

An unexpected call from a friend who had received a free ticket, à la Willy Wonka's Golden Ticket, to go and see a circus for free, left me sitting in a circus tent a few hours later for the first time in about thirty years.


It was a wise, albeit on occasion, scary decision. I have to confess that when seeing shows like this, where there is an element of danger involved I do tend to squirm into the chair I sit. This happened mostly during the opening act of the second half of the show, the suitably titled Wheel Of Death. I rolled into an uncomfortable ball, while the five or six year old behind me gleefully shouted that "they are going to die!".


This was a scary welcome to the second act, after the first much more relaxing first half. It works excellently and is credit to producer and director Mark Whitney that the show is perfectly balanced, with the bulk of traditional circus arts in the first half, while the more spectacular and often more modern feeling ones are in …

Review of The Crucible at Royal & Derngate (Underground), Northampton

A few weeks ago I headed down to London to see this years graduating University of Northampton BA Actors perform Arthur Miller's classic The Crucible, and while it was generally spotlessly performed, as expected, the staging of it was tremendously dull, offering little stimulation beyond just the words being said. It made a classic, quite dull as a result. There was no such issue with The Actors Company production, staged in the atmospheric Underground space, and directed with such style and flair by Fay Lomas, to make Miller's play unrecognisable from that London version.

Based around the Salem Witch Trials in Massachusetts, Reverend Parris (a tough uncompromising performance from Steve While) comes across a group of girls dancing in the forest. When one of the girls, Betty (Laura Green), falls into a coma, events spiral out of control for many of the residents of the town, as accusations fly. Soon, Judge Danforth (Sue Whyte) is on the scene, and the lives of the residents a…