Thursday, 14 March 2013

Museum of Untold Stories - in HEART Café

Richard Wilcocks writes:

Urwin Watt (U Watt?) begins the show with an energetic warm-up, as the children are still coming into the HEART Café, already bubbling. He looks like the sort of person who could fix everybody and everything, prancing up and down, eyes glittering with what we hope is good humour, leather belt loaded with interesting tools. So what might happen? Any time traveling involved? The door of the structure in the corner which brings Tardis to mind - for some parents anyway - is apparently locked, and can be opened only when the right buttons are pressed. There is a countdown, with five minutes to go. Long minutes, giving time for a steel colander to be worn by volunteers, which might bring electrical strikes and cause explosions, not to worry…

There’s someone in there! You can tell by the noises. It turns out to be Stokely Pilgrim, teleported from Brazil, whose naval uniform signifies some kind of rank but who spends his time in an engine room stoking a ship’s furnace (cue for child to make an arch with his arms and become its entrance) and inviting people, all of them “sir” and “madam” in spite of the fact that some just about come up to his knee, to think about what the world would be like without stories.

Not much fun, of course. Soon, aided by an Urwin who is now called  ‘Mother’, he is addressing a gang of pirates (Ha – haaarr!) and then a sea full of sharks. Invisible bottles are picked up and hurled into the water, all of them containing stories to be found. “Do mermaids, do mermaids!” nags one of the tinier participants, dancing in and out of the action.  The ship’s bell clangs loudly. A broken crown is brought out. Who could that belong to? Could it be…

It’s obvious to nearly everybody: “Richard the Third!” they shout en masse. “Mermaids!” shouts a lone voice. A king in waiting is found – no matter about the gender – and a story about how the crown came to be broken is found. It seems that it fell off the king’s head when he (she) sneezed. That’s what the kings tells us, before ordering everybody to go to the castle on the hill immediately, or else their heads will roll.

And so the show continues, some of its elements constant, but with plenty which is unique to this particular performance, a tune with improvisation. Alive and Kicking Theatre Company Leeds has worked in primary schools, more recently in Kirkgate Market (just the sort of thing to revive the place), but to my knowledge does not do cafés very often. They’ll be doing this one again soon. It was terrific! My only criticism is that they didn’t get around to the mermaids.

To book Alive and Kicking ring John Mee at 0113 265 8631


And here is a photo of the performance the following day (14 March) sent by Liz Fox:

1 comment:

  1. We had a great time bringing stories to the folk of Headingley - big thanks Richard for including us in the festival and to Heart for making the Museum so welcome.
    Carry - Alive and Kicking Theatre Co.