Once Upon A Time Up The Road

Theatre, it’s fair, to say is not my normal habitat.  I think that when I have gone previously I have always sort of felt that it’s not for the likes of me and as a result my theatrical knowledge is somewhat limited.  However of course this attitude is rubbish as theatre is for anyone and certainly when I do go I almost always end up enjoying myself and this afternoon was no exception as I went along to see Once Upon A Time Up The Road, a one man performance by Lawrence Speck at The Carriageworks

In the show Lawrence explores through storytelling what is luck and right from the start as he interacts with the audience it is clear that the children in the audience have a clear idea of what is good luck and what is bad, however where do these ideas come from?  Lawrence spins two captivating Yorkshire tales, myths in fact that were told in distant times past.  One tale looks at an unlucky man and the other someone who believes that they are lucky but of course things are never that simply – do you create your own luck, does luck catch up with you or can it simply run out?

Lawrence himself spins these tales in a truly captivating manner as he uses a combination of his own movement, expression and characterisation (underpinned by matching music and sound effects) together with a series of puppets, cleverly interacting with the audience along the way.  During one scene he asks the children what they can do to capture the boggle (the creature that is causing havoc for a farmer) and then weaves all the answers given into the advice that the villagers later provide.  It was a simple but clever technique beautifully executed that had my kids hanging on every word and drawing them into the narrative of the story.

There were plenty of laughs in up the road but like the best children’s entertainment it works on different levels so while the children were captivated by the characters and Lawrence’s delivery it made me think of  luck and whether I consider myself lucky or unlucky, explored where I come from and the stories that were passed down, the nature of aural storytelling and it’s relevance in today’s digital media age, the relationship between generations and how much we now pay attention to the advice that is handed down and indeed how much our children will listen to our advice, which is not too shabby for children’s theatre.  Most of all however it was a pleasure to sit and watch genuine creativity in action and it really made me want to discover a bit more of this theatre lark.

The show is on till 21 Feb so make your own luck and go along for a slice of one man creativity.


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