Saturday, 29 March 2014

Extraordinary Stories at Café Lento

Extraordinary Stories
Partnership with Café Lento
8pm Thursday 27 March 

There's something really special about Café Lento, a sympathetic and intimate ambiance which makes it a perfect venue for events like this. It is well known for its brilliant music evenings - often top-notch jazz - and less well-known for words evenings. This might be about to change, after this beautiful evening.
Richard Lindley

Seven readers and performers told us stories, both true and fictional, which by turns shocked, amused and entertained us. The hazards and tough times which some people go through! Sally Bavage told us the story of how members of Scott's 1912 expedition to the South Pole risked everything, in horrifically cold conditions, for a few penguin eggs, Richard Lindley, Lento's owner, referred us to a YouTube video and explained how cave divers had tried to recover a body from a watery hell-hole in South Africa and Jane Oakshott brought us some welcome light relief with poetry and an account of an AmDram actor's embarrassing  experiences with a cloak which got screwed to the scenery.

Richard Wilcocks took on the role of Moritz Schiller, the owner of that famous Sarajevo deli in 1914, for his story of how Bosnian Serb Gavrilo Princip had been lured in to eat lunch - Ćevapi, the local speciality - just before the archduke's car stalled, Peter Spafford told us a fable about how a young boy walking along a beach had stopped Death (in a black cloak of course) from climbing up the cliff to his grandad's house, and Linda Marshall, the inimitable Linda Marshall, was all too brief when she read us a selection of her poems. Beth Kilburn was impressive and moving when she delivered to us the words of a letter written by a woman during a First World War zeppelin raid. 

This sort of event is at the heart of the LitFest - small-scale and extremely well-done.

Audience Comments:

An excellent, varied evening – thank you! It’s a very good idea to give several people a theme and let them get on with it!

Varied, bracing, lovely idea!

Some interesting stories of survival. I particularly liked the café-owners story. A couple 
of interesting stories from Richard Wilcocks about the Beckett Park war hospital.
An interesting story on TB from Linda Marshall.

Great evening, lovely people and some fantastic stories!

A good mixture of poetry and prose. Also very informative. A good variety, with acting
 too,the evening went as well and as quickly (i.e. enjoyably) as any of the events I’d been to this year.  

Very moving and high quality performances that offered a great variety of material.

Some compelling stories. Very touched by Peter Spafford’s story and how after many 
years have found out the story behind a hymn that I would often sing with my mum and
 finally I sang it to her on her death bed. All the stories/poems were marvelous!

Excellent – intimate friendly atmosphere – talented readers – excellent stories and 
accounts. Entertaining and hugely enjoyable – brings the pleasure and power of words 
and writing. Long live the LitFest!!

An eclectic and entertaining evening of poetry, prose and anecdotes on the theme of 
‘Survivors’, ranging from an expedition to collect penguin eggs in Antarctic winter 
conditions, to an amazing take on Noah’s ark from Noah’s wife’s perspective.

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