Professor Edvard Von Goosechaser is the leading 17th Century monsterologist promising to entertain us with his Anglo-Saxon insult-based humour. However, the only person insulted was his companion, Marco the ugly musician. In the real world, they are brothers Adam and Mark Nightingale, one an acclaimed historian and the other an acclaimed flamenco guitarist.
Kudos to him for making local history more exciting,
An Evening with Professor Edvard Von Goosechaser is set in a time when the previous plague was wreaking havoc around Europe. The only difference is that now the masks are slightly more convenient than the plague doctor’s mask the professor was wearing. With the introductions over, the performance was pretty much a montage from Adam’s previously published historical storytelling, including the 17th Century Tales podcasts and the book Bed, Wed, Behead, which was also used as clever way of engaging the audience during the show.
The show was full of entertaining anecdotes and amusing details, but I caught my concentration slipping away from the endless array of kings, battles, monsters, supernatural beings, biblical stories and local folklore. One minute he was discussing King James’s bible, the next minute reciting English royals, then jumping into giving advice on how to scare off demons (with flamenco music), continuing with a story about ghost armies in full battle. I was left quite breathless, my head spinning with historical, biblical and demonic references.
Adam Nightingale looks the part, sounds the part and knows his part. His best feature is his overwhelming enthusiasm for the subject. However, the video format didn’t really add anything extra compared to the podcast series. The show was essentially 70 minutes of watching Adam’s face get redder and redder with excitement. There were just two props, a stuffed toy poodle and a lump of cheese. It was a bit like visiting the National Civil War Centre without seeing the actual artefacts.
In the post Harry Potter world, we are all experts on wizards, witches and other magical creatures. Nothing in that department is news to anyone. Also ghost stories need to be either really scary or really funny. These stories fell short on both. It’s a bit lame to suggest that the witches are behind all the missing socks in the world, or that the only difference between English and European witches is that the Euro witches control the weather. Some stories did hit the spot nicely, like the poodle dog with a half hell hound in it. Others fall flat, like a second dog, whose only special skill was to perform a massive wee on command.
Adam Nightingale’s approach to history is very much like the ancient ritual of telling stories around the campfire. So kudos to him for making local history more exciting and engaging. But as far as Edvard Von Goosechaser’s performance goes, I wouldn’t necessaily bother to bed, wed or behead him.