We all love a good story. Who doesn’t? From a bedtime fairy tale as young’uns, to a good gossip about work folks, tales of drunken antics and thensome.
On board? Well these people do it professionally, and they are bloody good at it!
The Crick Crack Club led by Ben Haggarty, are a group of people who specialise in the art of storytelling as a form of contemporary performance art. They revive stories of mythology, and epics mindful of contemporary adult audiences with what they describe as ‘fairytales for adults’.
With many years of experience, a group of over 40 storytellers (based in the UK, and internationally) venture from the “caves to Carnegie Hall” performing one of history’s oldest art forms in a completely revitalised way. One of their bases is Upstairs at the Soho Theatre, where the story of The Blacksmith at the Bridge Of Bones was told.
The venue is pretty blank canvas right at the top of the building, with minimal lighting and design, and raised seating allowing you a clear view of the space at any angle. It’s a really intimate space for the performance and the audience, and it is the perfect setting for the Crick Crack Club.
In walks a tall bald headed man in a black trench coat, with a blood red gothic tie, creating an instantly eerie atmosphere. Perfect for presenting the revival of the Crystal Maze if ever the opportunity were to arise.
The audience here are fortunate enough to see the originator of the company Ben Haggarty himself, who as a one man show begins to introduce the company and its background. With a couple of interactive ditties, explaining the historical relevance of the companies name and origin, and a few picks on the audience, we’re off into the story of the night: The Blacksmith At The Bridge Of Bones.
Haggarty tells us by heart the spooky story of a master Blacksmith and his apprentice Jack, (apparently any fairy tale widow’s son goes by the name of Jack) and his journey of learning the craft and overcoming his master.
Mythology and particularly fairytales are the world’s guilty pleasure. Something to allure your imagination and take you somewhere distant for a while that only you can picture in your own mind – as children they are fun, exciting and read as bedtime stories; as adults, their darkness is what keeps us awake at night.
The audience was completely enticed by Haggarty’s enthusiasm, characterisation, charm, and incredible detail to the story. In a space at capacity of around 100 you could have heard a pin drop. Well, besides the over enthusiastic regulars who I was lucky enough to sit in front of, shouting to join in at any given opportunity and making themselves known. It only made me appreciate the company more to understand they have a following of their work, and a very loud sort at that. Roughly an hour and fifteen minutes pass which feels like ten, as we witness first hand the absolute skill of story telling timing and etiquette.
This company is incredibly diverse, and can quite intelligently perform their art form anywhere. Haggarty explains they often do exhibits, or literature festivals, and that no two performances are the same.
Zipping all over the UK but very often in London, they are easy to find and practically effortless to go and see. It’s an absolutely brilliant set up and I can imagine they perform at some rather fitting venues – apparently, caves and derricked warehouses!
If you’re looking for something reasonably priced and artistic that differs from the day to day in the heart of London, the Crick Crack Club is your vice.
The Crick Crack club, perform all over the UK. For more information and tickets, see the Crick Crack Club website.