‘Story Friday’, if you’ve not heard of it before, is an event that takes place at Burdall’s Yard every two months, and has done for some years now.
For each occasion, a subject or theme is given out well beforehand. It can be a phrase, or even just a word, and submissions are invited for stories stimulated by it.
The organisers then make a selection of these to be read out on the night; either by the writer, or, if they don’t wish to perform, by an actor from Kilter Theatre Company.
The event is the brainchild of Clare Reddaway, at A Word In Your Ear, who remains the driving force behind it.
What’s it like, then? Well, the theme given for tonight’s performance is ‘2018’, so ideas somehow connected with events of last year.
No, it’s not a quiz of the year: writers let their imaginations run free. There are 8 stories tonight; in brief:
‘It’s Coming Home’ is a tale told by a Charlton Athletic supporter about his love of the game, his difficulties in his macho family, and his eventual ‘Coming Home’ by coming out about his sexuality during the World Cup of last year.
‘The Fairytale of 2018’ is a dystopian allegory on over-consumption and the rape of the world, set in a Mediaeval castle where the King unaccountably gets bigger and bigger and consumes everything.
‘The Present Wants Out’, is a naughty fantasy of a time-travelling tourist from the future meeting a Brexiteer in a pub.
‘Touching The Sun’ is an ironically chilling story set in the boiling heat of last summer, and concerning love, lust and possible infidelity at the beach.
‘When The Chips Are Down’ is an uproarious tale of office rivalries at the firm’s fancy dress parade of nations for the opening of the World Cup.
Two more stories are in response to a challenge to write a story based on events of the last week: one is a story of cake addiction, brought on by the demise of Patisserie Valerie; the other a delicious fictional exchange of emails between the Norfolk police and Prince Philip on the subject of driving.
If all this seems a lot to pack into an evening; it is. The joy of it is in the breadth of imagination of the writers, the huge variety in tone and style, and the sheer quality of the material.
Any of it would not go amiss on Radio 4. If you haven’t been yet, I recommend you do. Unique, entertaining, and often uplifting.
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Reviewer: John Christopher Wood | Star Rating: ****
Story Friday takes place at Burdall’s Yard in Bath.
To find out more, visit: http://www.awordinyourear.org.uk/story-fridays/.