City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Mouth Open Story Jump Out, Churchill Theatre, Imaginate Review


By Justine Blundell - Posted on 14 May 2015

4
Web Polarbear & Battersea Arts  Centre present Mouth Open, Story Jump Out image Battersea Art Centre.JPG
Show Details
Company: 
Polarbear and Battersea Arts Centre (England)
Production: 
Polarbear/Steven Camden (writer)
Performers: 
Steven Camden (Polarbear)
Running time: 
60mins

Storyteller Polarbear, aka Steven Camden, inspires his audience to get writing as he plucks ideas out of the air and makes a big mess all over the floor.

He’s already sitting in his comfy armchair, surrounded by scraps of paper, as the audience shuffles in. Everyone is reduced to the size of a child as we sit on the floor or on low benches, while Polarbear starts up a chat with the younger members of our crew. The first thing that strikes you is that this fully grown man has not forgotten the child-like urge to make and create that connects him instinctively with the kids. Any adult who doesn’t wish to be left out must open their mind and step back in time to join them.

Early on, he introduces a thought that will recur throughout and deserves a mull over, ‘a lie is selfish, a story is a gift’. Mouth Open, Story Jump Out is a tale that displays the truth of this with absolute clarity. We squirm in our seats while dreading the inevitable shaming consequences of making up lies and thrill to the redemptive – and other - possibilities that creating stories may bring.

A key part of this performance is the encouragement to create stories yourself, aided by an interactive demonstration of where ideas for stories might come from. Quick-fire questions to the audience, with answers scribbled down on scraps of paper, are transformed into foundations, building blocks or jigsaw pieces that may later be constructed into stories. We are asked to draw pictures and then tear the neat edges off before throwing them into the heaps of others that already litter the floor. Polarbear admits that, number one – he needs mess for ideas, and number two – the beginning of making up a story must always feel like fun (the hard work will come later).

Polarbear barely pauses for breath, his pace is fast and furious, but no-one gets left behind, we’re all with him, in the story, every step of the way. He takes a few minutes at the end to answer any questions we might have and, as we file out, we are offered a fun handbook full of helpful ideas and suggested strategies for story-making. And with such support, his storytelling gift just may keep on giving.

Run now ended