Theatre Review: Stolen @ Tobacco Factory Theatres
by Chris Thumwood
“There are three types of people... the wise... the happy... and the foolish. Which one are you?”
Can three people build a world? How about a world within that world and then another one within that? Well after seeing The Devil's Violin perform Stolen at the Tobacco Factory Theatre last night, I can tell you the answer: yes. With no elaborate costumes or no props, Daniel Morden, Oliver Wilson-Dickson and Sarah Moody did just that. Together they brought to life the story of a magical realm complete with Kings, Princesses and Princes. There was a quest, there were demons, there was magic and danger and death, and it was beautiful.
Morden is a fantastic storyteller; dynamic with both tongue and body he told the story of Stolen masterfully, leading the audience on a grand adventure. His only accompaniment was Wilson-Dickson on Violin and Viola and Moody on the Cello, their music was wound so naturally and intrinsically into the story that they formed the lungs and breath, carrying the voice of this living fairytale.
"Stolen is perhaps the ultimate bedtime story"
Full of fantastic and vibrant stories, the night started with a short ‘curtain opener’ by The Open Storytellers. They told of the origin of Taliesin, the legendary bard and greatest of all storytellers, at the beginning of their story however we were introduced to Afagddu, Taliesin’s hideous half brother (Afagddu translates as utter blackness) who is swiftly forgotten. When the story was completed the audience were reminded of Afagddu’s existence and a parallel was drawn to how often the disabled who live amongst us are forgotten. This short production was an emotional, if unsubtle, reminder that as a society we need to be more embracing of those who are different to us. Talking with some of the cast afterwards it was driven home how important this charity production company is to those that belong to it when one of them said to me, “How else can i express myself to people without performing?”.
This curtain opener was a perfect start to the evening, for Stolen to whisk the audience away into a magical land of fairytales magic. The Devil's Violin’s performance is laced with humour; it is exciting, spooky and (at times) heart wrenching, but is always hugely entertaining. Stolen is a testament to both Morden’s talents as a storywriter and a performer and is perhaps the ultimate bedtime story.
The Devil's Violin are performing Stolen at the Tobacco Factory Theatre again on Sunday 18th March.
To find out more about The Open Storytellers, their work and what they do click here.
Photo credit: Paul Michael