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The Rising Cost of Cabbage, Soho Theatre – Review

Pros: Alys Torrance brings a classic fable to life with humour and charisma.

Cons: Some digressions are forced into the main plot with confusing results.

Pros: Alys Torrance brings a classic fable to life with humour and charisma. Cons: Some digressions are forced into the main plot with confusing results. According to a Haitian tradition diffused in all the Caribbean islands, when narrators are about to tell a story they'll engage with the public by shouting 'CRICK', and the audience will respond with 'CRACK'. This is the reason behind the Crick Crack Club's name, which regularly tours the UK with storytelling performances that cover the most diverse genres like myth, fable and modern literature. The studio at the top floor of the Soho Theatre…

Summary

Rating

Good

A relaxing evening of storytelling for grown-ups. Entertaining but bland.

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According to a Haitian tradition diffused in all the Caribbean islands, when narrators are about to tell a story they’ll engage with the public by shouting ‘CRICK’, and the audience will respond with ‘CRACK’. This is the reason behind the Crick Crack Club‘s name, which regularly tours the UK with storytelling performances that cover the most diverse genres like myth, fable and modern literature.

The studio at the top floor of the Soho Theatre is a bare room with chairs on three sides and a high stool in the middle of the performing area. On the stool sit three jars and a glass bottle, all containing different amounts of water. Performer Alys Torrance will provide the only soundtrack of the evening by hitting them rhythmically with a stick in order to create a melody. The light is dim and unvaried throughout the evening.

Despite the auditorium not being full, the crowd is quite cheerful and the opening ritual is received well. This is a great strategy to immediately summon the attention of the public and establish an implicit pact of mutual commitment to the tale that is about to start.

Alys’ narrative style is clear and pleasant. Her voice is relaxing and she seems perfectly connected with her listeners. With confidence, she stimulates our imagination through a journey to ports and coastal cities, to secret gardens and inaccessible towers.

The Rising Cost of Cabbage starts with the agony of a pregnant lady, tormented by an unbearable craving for cabbages — in particular, for the ones that grow in her elderly neighbour’s garden. When the old biddy finds the desperate husband about to steal some of the vegetables, she forces him to agree on a clause that entrusts her with the property of the unborn child. Seven years later, the spell comes true and the little girl is abducted, locked at the summit of a tower and renamed Cabbage.

Now and again, this main plot is interwoven with digressions on completely different legends, also related to towers and imprisoned damsels. Instead of adding to the intrigue, this makes the listening more confusing and eventually deprives the narration of additional elements that would have made it more vivid. By experience, even the most conventional and well-known fable becomes special thanks to a certain richness of details and I felt that this feature has been partially overlooked by our narrator. Nonetheless, her charisma succeeds in keeping the piece together and she regales us with a delightful evening of live storytelling.

Written and Performed by: Alys Torrance
Producer: Crick Crack Club
Booking Until: This show has now completed its run.

About Marianna Meloni

Marianna Meloni
Marianna, being Italian, has an opinion on just about everything. Her dream has always been to become an arts critic and, after collecting a few degrees, she realised that it was easier to learn how to write in a foreign language than finding a job in her home country. She believes that anything deserves an honest review and that more people going to the theatre would result in fewer wars. Recently she has developed intolerance toward the words “secret” and “immersive” but she hopes it’s only temporary.