“The story begins in a quiet bar … the atmosphere is tickling my toes”, says the young woman in a little black dress who has just stepped up to the microphone like a torch song chanteuse. It’s a Sarah Jessica Parker, “Sex and the City” look – or it would be if she wasn’t carrying a metal grenade box.
In a breathy voice, she tells us a tale about a man she used to know. He is David, a first love who betrays her by euphemistically “painting rainbows” with another woman. From that point she buries her heart, dresses in tin – full metal armour – and takes up home in the Tin Man’s shop, a dark, dusty unlovable place.
In this room of dead tin things, she seems literally on the shelf. She finds fewer and fewer reasons to leave until the day a frog prince comes calling looking for something rare.
There is however, no fairytale ending and she flees into the fable filled forest of her imagination.
This tale of magical realism is told partly in song and verse and is accompanied by live music provided by Michael Cretu on double bass. This ranges from the melodic to near trip-hop, drum and bass (without the drum). Some of the lines are evocative of the seedy song-stories of Tom Waits, but while there is clever word play, it occasionally lapses into hyperbole.
The production is atmospheric and the performances proficient, but the narrative itself is a little weak, perhaps due to its roots being in songs performed by Kate Gilbert in cabaret.
A dark fiction, but not one that will haunt your dreams.
Show times: 5-15 August 2011 4.00pm
Ticket prices: £8.00 (£6.00)