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Review of Feast Of Fools Storytelling #4 - Open Mic Night at the NN Cafe, Northampton

So the temperature was somewhere beyond thirty on what was finally recorded as the hottest July day on record and I chose to sit on a leather sofa. Sticky yes, but conveniently close to the window for the meagre breeze that drifted about.

My location of course was the NN Cafe and my appointment was with the fourth Feast Of Fools Storytelling event. On this hot night it was the second of the Open Mic evenings where beginners could take to the stage and tell their tales. On this evening there were two debutantes and a collection of slightly more skilled, however all were shackled (slightly) by the ten minute rule.

Our host and debut as such was whom I shall always call the teddy bear lady, Sue Martin, who following a little musical intro from Richard York on his Greek Lyre (assured not political), gave her own little tale before welcoming Stephen Ferneyhough to the stage. Mr Ferneyhough gave us a witty little tale of his encounter with the somewhat not in his style McDonald's but with a quality moral to the ending and a wonderful little comic take on modern youthful language. A very upper class story. He also gave us a brief but very funny musical addition.

Dave Blake's return was a disappointment. Ah, no kidding, he had a wonderful tale from the traditional Akbar and Birbal tales. It was however distinctly lackick in the most glorious puntastic tale he told at the previous open mic. However it was a funny tale, once again wonderfully told.

Richard York returned to the stage for the start of the second half with a tale maybe ten thousand years old from Nova Scotia and a surprisingly ecological one for such a long time ago. There were also hints of a Mongli tale among it with its story of a boy brought up by bears. Interesting stuff and quite different from many of the more traditional tales heard at previous shows.

Then it was the turn of two first timers on the stage, the first of which, Alison Mead, who had not even intended to tell on this night and had, as she put it, no preparation. This didn't matter as we are a friendly bunch and she told her very personal family influenced tale excellent for a beginner. It was from a collection of stories collected by her merchant navy working late father, and this particular tale told of one recruits need to see the exam papers in advance. It was a great tale and I hope we hear more of his tales as told by Alison.

Our second first timer was Stephen Hobbs who told his tale about his youngest brother "Our Brett" and his slightly misbehaving growing up and later health issues. It was a poignant tale of the effects of a family members well being and its in turn effect on your own concentration. Lovely and stirring stuff.

Closing the evening was Red Phoenix once again, this time with an apparently often told tale of Jack the ne'er-do-well, the boy with the sneaky little fingers and his eventual meeting with Lilly. It was new to me though and a highly entertaining tale with a great little ending.

So once again, the small number of audience members who not only braved the heat, but who had wisely come to the equally entertaining Open Mic night were not short changed in the entertainment stakes. A great variety of tales both personal and historical and told in an ever increasing collection of styles created an excellent evening. Only spoilt by my lack of raffle victory.


Performance reviewed: Wednesday 1st July, 2015 at the NN Cafe, Northampton.

Feast Of Fools is held on the first Wednesday of each month (but not in August) at the NN Cafe, Guildhall Road. There is a Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/StorytellingFeast and they are also on Twitter @FOFStorytelling

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