Skip to main content

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

Comments

  1. Thank you for the kind review of my debut. The words that came out of my mouth were not as I thought they would - as I have mentally told the story to myself before but never out loud. Strange how having an audience changed things. Next time I will endeavour to be better prepared. You can see the details of Dad's book at http://www.holder7.co.uk/books-by-len-holder but the e-mail needs changing to alison.mead@siliconbullet.com

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Review of Bombshell by Contact Light Theatre at The Playhouse Theatre, Northampton

Warning: This review contains spoilers

Whether it is an overwhelming success or mostly a failure, I have over the years grown a huge affinity for fresh new work on the stage. The need to regurgitate and rework old pieces continuously may well get easy bums on seats, but at the end of the night, it has no doubt pleased a few but it hasn't really made any future impact on theatre of the future. Presenting a new play and new work, however, who knows what it might have seeded in the years to come?

Therefore as I watched Bombshell, not only a new play, but also the first offering from a new theatre company, I was thrilled that first of all, it leaned much more towards the success line, and also that over half filling the theatre, it had also put quite a few of the bums on seats as well.

Curiously I have recently read Festen by David Eldridge, and while Bombshell goes much its own way, I felt early on, I (and perhaps others in the audience), felt I had a distinct advantage over some of …

Review of Balm in Gilead, University of Northampton BA Acting (Creative Acting) at Maidwell Hall, Northampton

Watching the production of Balm in Gilead sees my entering the fifth year of following the University of Northampton acting students, and what theatre they have provided over the years!

Balm in Gilead is no less intriguing than anything that has gone before, written in 1965 by Lanford Wilson, you might think this would be a dated item for the young students to be performing, however, nothing could be further from the truth. Set in a cafe (transposed to England from its original American setting), it sees the lives of addicts, homeless and sex workers converge into a mixture of good but mostly bad moments.
My first time in the Maidwell Hall saw an encounter with a brilliantly realised community full of the world of the cafe and the surrounding homes, cardboard boxes and dishevelled beds. As we enter the characters of this world begin living alongside us, addressing us, begging us for money, pushing shopping trolleys around offering off the cuff exchanges with the audience and confronti…

Review of This Evil Thing at Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton

This Evil Thing written and performed by Michael Mears isn't my first encounter with a play about conscientious objectors, however, it absolutely is the most detailed in its explanation of the subject. A clear and absolute labour of love from Michael Mears, and an obviously very personal thing for him, it leaves the audience pretty much in its grip for the whole of its 80 minutes.

Almost uniquely, our performer Michael Mears is in the theatre stalls upon entry, observing the arrival of the audience and indeed exchanging conversation at times. It's fascinating to see a performer not only there, but seemingly so relaxed pre-show and as he bounds on the stage at show start, this little nugget proves intriguing in itself.

Michael Mears is a captivating presence on stage, as previously experienced on the same stage in A Tale Of Two Cities and The Herbal Bed, therefore it comes as little surprise that he has a confident ability to make a one-man show work, and so well. With the use …