STORYTELLING is probably the oldest art form in the world and in Daniel Morden we had a master weaver of tales spinning a magical thread of narrative that drew on numerous traditional folk tales and myths.
He began with a dedication – these tales owe their existence to the characters who did not heed the simple advice ‘Don’t’! Whether it’s a door or a box that mustn’t be opened or a book where you shouldn’t turn the page, the consequences will be serious, but who can resist?
Accompanying Daniel were the Devil’s Violin Company, the three instrumentalists providing the perfect musical soundtrack. Just as in film scores, where music can immediately generate an atmosphere of fear and menace or humour, the subtle instrumental interjections from Sarah Moody’s cello, Oliver Wilson-Dickson’s fiddle and Dylan Fowler’s soft guitar or drumming added pace and colour to the narrative and a real frisson of excitement to enhance the tale.
The story began with the Shining King and the Queen of the Moon, ancient deities, and meandered widely across cultures far beyond the European fairy story tradition.
Even some traditional African influences emerged with authentic rhythmic chants from the impressively versatile musicians. There were recognisable elements from the stories of Cinderella, the Beast with his magical palace, the classical Greek god myths and the adventures of Sinbad.
The story of the princely pig, victim of an evil spell, was an older role reversal of the modern Shrek franchise.
An enraptured audience from a wide age range were hanging on every word. Daniel is a master of the well-judged pause … a silent audience waited with bated breath. The occasional light moment with a contemporary reference would break the tension.
The basic test of a good tale and a good teller of tales is that you always want to know what happened next. This was an evening in the company of a modern day Sheherazade, always leaving the audience wanting just a bit more.
At the end of the tale, of course, they all lived happily ever after… until… but that’s another story.
5/5 by Pete Taberner