Skip to main content

Review of Feast Of Fools Storytelling #9 - Open Mic at the NN Cafe, Northampton

I am always a big fan of the open mic nights and for the ninth gathering of the Feast Of Fools, I had to make the most of it as this would be the last until April, as for the next two months special guests would be on the menu.

As ever our evening was opened with a tune from resident music man Richard York before our host of the evening, Sue Martin welcomed us. She opened the evening with her own little tale and a couple of tales in song. Despite being early year bedeviled by a new tune, we all made it through safely and it provided a different introduction to the first night of the new year.

Our first guest of the evening was the wonderful Lisa Shepherd, who at first appeared alarmingly subdued (for Lisa) in her aboriginal dreamtime tale of how animals discover about death. However once the cuckoo was an ex-cuckoo, a deceased, a ceased to be cuckoo the more familiar Lisa returned with animal impersonations aplenty, these included a rather Chinese sounding snake. It was all rather wonderful considering it was a tale about death and ended with a glorious uplifting resolution.

Next up was a newcomer to the Feast of Fools stage, Justine Flower. Who presented quite a lively a tale of family Christmas times gone by, including tales of woe of no presents and a force fed car with a Christmas tree rammed in and sticking out the back. It was all great fun and good to see someone new on the evening of otherwise returning favourites.

Theresa Kelleher and our raffle extraordinaire returned to the stage for the first time in three months with a tale of an effortlessly grumbling town folk who could not see the good things they had in life. Well that was until a mysterious stranger via precious stones created a transformation on the populace showing them everything that they had in their lives that they could truly be proud.

Our interval was then to be had and the regular raffle, which this time presented by a young lady managed to nearly break the ten minute rule. It also failed to provide me with a prize, but there is no need for my problems here.

The absolutely glorious and magnificent (and other over praising words) Dave Blake opened our second half and as ever, despite having been sent to a pun detox camp, was showing no signs of recovery. I am not sure what the story was about, I rarely am with Mr Blake. However there was as ever tears of laughter and head shaking and agony once again. Truly superb!

Richard York was next on and had the problem of being sandwiched in a second half of generally mad tellers and tales and his very traditional Inuit tale of a raven sent to retrieve the sun felt either out of place or a moment of sanity depending on your viewpoint. For me however it offered both really, as does all the variety on offer on an open mic night.

Tamsyn Payne was back on the stage as a teller, in what would be her final evening as NN Cafe host (and rather sublimely making her visual impact on the building before the end). The tale itself was an entertaining one of an only surviving childs trip to a medical practitioner, or in other words a witch. It's moral of the story was be nice to people (and meowing, face washing cats) and you will get good things in return.

Finally closing the evening was another very funny tale from Stephen Hobbs. This time with a very entertaining and different take on the Goldilocks and the three bears story. What do we learn from the story? Well that while bears do shit in the woods, they would much rather do it in a private garden in Abington. Who said Feast of Fools doesn't teach you things?

Yes it was a great evening again, I shall miss open mics for the next two months no matter how wonderful are guest tellers are. I prefer a mix from my storytelling nights.

A very final thank you though at this point to the wonderful host Tamsyn Payne, its been a great venue at the NN Cafe for the last nine months and whether we do return there or not in the future, it will be a very different place without Tamsyn in charge, although I am sure being in the audience and not dish washing will be equal fun.


Performance reviewed: Wednesday 6th January, 2016 at the NN Cafe, Northampton.

Feast Of Fools is held on the first Wednesday of each month (venue for February to be confirmed).
Full details can be found at https://www.facebook.com/StorytellingFeast and Twitter @FOFStorytelling

Popular posts from this blog

Review of Hacktivists by Ben Ockrent performed by R&D Youth Theatre at Royal & Derngate (Underground), Northampton

The National Theatres Connections series of plays had been one of my highlights of my trips to R&D during 2014. Their short and snappy single act style kept them all interesting and never overstaying their welcome. So I was more than ready for my first encounter with one of this years Connections plays ahead of the main week of performances at R&D later in the year. Hacktivists is written by Ben Ockrent, whose slightly wacky but socially relevant play Breeders I had seen at St James Theatre last year. Hacktivists is less surreal, but does have a fair selection of what some people would call odd. Myself of the other hand would very much be home with them. So we are presented with thirteen nerdy "friends" who meet to hack, very much in what is termed the white hat variety. This being for good, as we join them they appear to have done very little more than hacked and created some LED light device. Crashing in to spoil the party however comes Beth (Emma-Ann Cranston)

Review of Shrek (NMTC) at Royal & Derngate (Derngate), Northampton

Three and a half years ago, in a land far far away, in a world very different to the one we are now in, I saw the touring professional production of Shrek The Musical , it was a mixed bag of quality, tilted extremely heavily in favour of one particular character (not the one you might expect) and not firing on all cylinders much of the time. One and a half years after my last visit to the Derngate theatre, I return to see the homegrown Northampton Musical Theatre Company's own take on the very same show. Would they be able to breathe more life into the show than the professionals did in that distant land? It is a bit of a yes and no really. Pretty much all of this is done to the best possible standard, and at times, with being an amateur show you could easily forget, they all have normal day jobs. The show oozes professional quality at times. The set looks magnificent, the costumes (from Molly Limpet's Theatrical Emporium) are superb, and as ever with NMTC, the backstage team c

Review of Theft at the Castle Theatre Studio, Wellingborough

The comedy-thriller Theft by Eric Chappell tells the story of an anniversary celebrating couple returning to the devastation of their home being ransacked in a burglary. However, this ransacking pales in comparison to the ransacking of their lives that then occurs as home truths are revealed. Anyone old enough to remember the works of Theft writer Chappell ( Rising Damp and Only When I Laugh ), could be forgiven for thinking that this 1996 play might feel a little dated for a 2021 audience. However, bar a few references much of their time now (the weaker sex and female priests for instance), Theft still feels comfortable in the 2021 world, where many of us just want both a good evening of theatre and a good bit of fun. With Theft from the highly regarded Wellingborough Technical Players, they get just that. The action starts as we find the man of the house John Miles played by Graham Breeze returning, very angry, to his home. He is a rightfully boisterous character, channelling all th