Pros: A great introduction to story-telling for grown-ups. With simple but effective use of monologue and a few percussion instruments The Crick Crack Club transport you to another world.
Cons: None, this is a great night out.
The Crick Crack Club is a relatively new phenomena grown out of the ancient tradition of storytelling. They have a strong cult following, and regularly sell out the venues they perform in. It was the first time my partner and I had ever been to one of their shows but it was clear from the audience participation that many of the ticket buyers were regulars.
The audience are encouraged to join in with chants, songs and shout out the answers to questions which really got the whole room involved in the action and amplified the level of excitement in the room. It felt like being back in primary school, when I was told less risqué versions of similar tales as a child.
We weren’t really sure what to expect and thought that it might be a bit pantomime-ish, but we were pleasantly surprised by the sophistication and engaging nature of the performances. The two shows were both introduced by leader of the group Ben Haggarty, but then focussed entirely on one performer as they told their story in turn
First up was Sally Pomme Clayton. She was hidden in the audience and surprised us all by suddenly standing up and bursting into song as she sashayed onto the stage. She told us a tale of a young princess who promises herself to be married to a bear after he tempts her with a beautiful golden ring. We follow her story as she falls in love, has several children and makes a treacherous journey to save her husband from an evil troll hag queen and break the enchantment that has turned him into a bear.
Sally’s performance and her rhythmic voice had us transfixed almost immediately and the use of drums and percussion instruments added to the atmosphere by lulling you into an almost trance-like state. She was a brilliant story teller and we particularly loved the way she used her body to express the different mythical characters (like the hag queen with her head under her arm).
Next up came Martin Shaw who told a tale about a mythical girl called Tatterhood and her beautiful twin sister. Truly sisters doing it for themselves, they travel the world together rather than succumb to their fate of being married off as chattels. Here was more exceptional storytelling, and when it in places lacked the polish of Sally Pomme Clayton’s performance it made up for it with great humour and comic timing. Again percussion was used to set the scene when characters were travelling from place to place.
The simplicity of the sets (only a stool and a few percussion instruments), lighting and the costumes (there weren’t any the performers just wore their own clothes) was just right for this production where all the focus is on the stories and the performers themselves.
All in all a great night out. We came out enthused and wanting to come back in the New Year to see another one. I recommend that people go and check out some of the other Crick Crack Club performances in the New Year and see for themselves what all the fuss is about.
Performers: Sally Pomme Clayton, Martin Shaw
Booking Until: This performance only ran for one night at Soho Theatre.
Booking Link: http://www.crickcrackclub.com/MAIN/HOME.HTM