Pros: An engaging and magical performance in a unique venue.
Cons: Some uncomfortable seating and poor sight lines.
I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect when I set off for the South Bank to find The Crick Crack Club‘s pop up performance venue, The Fabularium on Friday night, but I was sure it would involve a good story. The Crick Crack Club, which regularly presents first-class performers in venues across London, brings the age-old tradition of oral storytelling into the 21st century, and if you haven’t settled in to hear a myth or fairy tale presented by the group already, you’re missing out on a truly captivating experience.
Throughout the end of July, the Crick Crack Club is sponsoring the pop-up Fabularium, a massive yurt on the South Bank, just next door to Oxo Wharf Tower. The yurt, equipped with a cute little bar and well-protected from the inevitable rain is the perfect place to cosy up and get caught up in a fairy tale. The Fabularium will house a number of shows in the coming week, including family-friendly shows as well as ‘fairy tales for adults’.
As an adult lover of fairy tales, I am always pleased to be regaled by traditional stories brought to life by the Crick Crack Club (my last experience was an epic Norwegian myth), and I was excited to have a tale spun by Crick Crack Club favourite, Ben Haggarty, who would open the Fabularium’s tenure on the South Bank with a myth originating from the Wye River, The Blacksmith at the Bridge of Bones.
Haggarty’s performance, intended for ages 12 and up, did not disappoint. He’s a fabulous storyteller with a stunning ability to glide seamlessly between the meat of the fairy tale and enriching personal commentary and anecdotes. I won’t say much for the story as I don’t want to ruin the magic should you get a chance to hear Haggarty’s rendition, but I will say it’s equal parts chilling, mystifying, adventurous, and romantic; in other words, everything a fairy tale should be.
While I was thoroughly engrossed in Haggarty’s story, I have to say I was also relieved when it ended within an hour of its start. That’s not a surprising feeling for me when it comes to one-performer shows, but it this case, it had nothing to do with Haggarty (I could have happily listened to another story) and much more to do with the seating inside the Fabularium. As charming and cosy as the pop-up yurt is, the makeshift wooden benches, stools, and chairs don’t make for the most comfortable seating, so if you’ve got back problems, best to find out how long a show is before booking. I also had to move seats several times before I was able to get a good view of the small stage, though frankly listening to the story would have been more than enough, and as far as temporary venues go, the Fabularium is doing just fine.
In all, it was a fantastic experience and the perfect way to spend a drizzly Friday evening in London. Haggarty won’t perform this particular tale again at the Fabularium, but will appear on the stage several more times, in addition to other renowned story tellers who will be featured throughout the week, so don’t miss out!
Producer: The Crick Crack Club
Running Until: 2 August 2015
Booking link: www.crickcrackclub.com/fabularium