Tuesday, 21 May 2019

‘Spirit games’ were great fun

‘Spirit games’ were great fun

A Warning to the Curious | King’s Arms Barn | Sunday, November 25

FOR those of you looking for a less saccharine Christmas experience, A Warning to the Curious, created by Jeux d’Esprit and directed by Jill Richardson, was just the thing to evoke the cold long nights and dark wintry days.

In the iconic King’s Arms Barn, the atmosphere put the audience in the mood for the unexpected and what you got was a series of stories and poems beautifully narrated by the cast, illustrated with monochrome projections and underpinned with atmospheric music.

The narrators — Steffen Collings, Jan Corby, Jan Stow, Janice Selkirk, Tim Green and Harry Petrie — spoke so beautifully in the recorded readings that we would have loved to have heard and seen them live.

This compelling storytelling created a macabre atmosphere alleviated with wry humour and left the audience waiting for the unexpected hairy hand on their shoulder.

The original illustrations projected on to the screen added much of the dark magic to these narrations.

A special mention should go to Steve Allender for “The horrible old man” and Bruce Smith for the textured fur of the cat, which were redolent of the gothic Victorian illustrator Edward St John Gorey and all his other striking technical effects. The music soundscape, chosen by Angela Pengilley, from the eerie piano notes to the whimsical starlight music by Rupert Parker, to the bluesy smoky voice of Patricia Barber in the “Inch-worm” (possibly our favourite), was as much a part of the storytelling as the illustrations and the narration.

Jeux d’Esprit were certainly playing mind games with the audience and have produced powerful experiences in exciting places. If you missed this, then look out for their next project.

This production was staged in aid of the Chiltern Centre for disabled children, with a total of £2,171 being raised. You can still donate to this worthy local charity online at www.chilterncentre.org.uk

Gail and Holly Rosier

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