Unashamed magic, rich metaphor and genteel chaos in a wintery treasure house of myth, epic and rumour.
‘The most exciting alternatively Christmassy thing this December…this will stay with you long after it’s over’ Londonist
‘Just bought tickets – am beyond excited!’ audience member
On the 13th of December 2011 as most sensible people readied themselves for Christmas, a large white van might have been spotted making its way back and forth through the London traffic. That van contained the assorted crew of storytelling companies the Crick Crack Club, Tailspin, Infectious theatre, Scandalmongers and Torriano Storynight; works of art galore, and everything one would need to build a festival of fairytales inside a 4 storey semi derelict Victorian warehouse. By 4pm the next day a 100 seater theatre, a bar, an art gallery (or three), a silk draped box office, a Norwegian fairytale forest, a macabre drawing salon, a mini-cinema, and a shrine had been built inside the Bargehouse, nestled under the iconic OXO Tower on London’s Southbank, and by 6pm there was a queue at the door.
Like so much of the Crick Crack Club’s work – if you missed it – then you missed it. Perhaps the collective voices of those who bought the 800 or so tickets, and who came and went through the doors of the Bargehouse over those 5 days could describe what took place there, but it’s more likely that they’ll simply say, ‘you should have been there…’
‘Phenomenal’ audience member
‘This place is like neverwhere…’ audience member
‘I can’t quite get over that I’ve just been given directions to the loo by a troll and someone in a top hat!’ audience member
‘Absolutely wonderful’ audience member
‘Beautiful storytelling’ audience member
‘So, so perfect’ audience member
‘Thank you for making me a part of the really beautiful, rough and perfect magic that I wish we had more of’ Sally Pomme Clayton – festival performer
‘Just how did you do this?!’ audience member
‘The Crick Crack Club pulled (the festival) off in style. Ten storytelling performances, rooms full of art exhibitions and installations, a bar complete with fortified hot chocolate, live music and an atmosphere to die for. I hope we see a repeat of this festival.’ Richard Trouncer for SFS Storylines reviews
‘Like, like, like…love!’ audience member
This recession defying festival of fairytales for grown-ups is the most exciting (if a bit bonkers) thing the Crick Crack Club has done in recent years. For an organisation renowned for sticking its neck out on behalf of its chosen art form, performance storytelling, this was the icing on the cake of years of dedicated work in the capital promoting artists who retell and rework traditional stories – folktales, fairytales, myth and epic for contemporary audiences. It’s been 20 years since the capital last hosted a festival of performance storytelling, and the rip roaring success of ‘Angel’s aren’t just for Christmas’ shows that it’s been far too long! Having said that, it’s fairly safe to assume that this is the only storytelling festival which has seen Sultans’ Turkish delight served on solid silver platters, Clipper hot chocolate served fortified with rum, and a Norwegian fairytale forest inhabited by a troll. Something in the gay abandon of this pop-up event, the attention to detail, the wholehearted belief in the power of imagination and metaphor, made this festival more akin to an underground theatrical happening – without an inch of corporate branding and without a shred of a T-shirt declaring who was and who wasn’t ‘staff’.
‘There appears to be a philosophical discussion going on in the middle of the art gallery – I haven’t the heart to tell them that we need to close…’ festival Director
If you’d passed the Bargehouse on Monday the 19th of December and peered inside, you’d have seen a group of happy, tired and slightly disheveled people sitting on packing cases waiting for a van to arrive for the return journey, and on the door, a hand-scrawled sign that read:- ‘And they lived happily ever after…THE END’