Another week, another example of storytelling to be seen at Greenwich Theatre, with The Flanagan Collective's gently soporific tale of the strive for idealism in today's frenetic, corporate and Internet driven world. With no set, costume, character embodiment or many scenes to speak of, we're instead told the tale of disillusioned J and Blair through polemic speeches, poetry (sometimes explicit, sometimes just rhythmic), music, songs and projections (that add colour rather than description) in a very relaxed but rather unmoving manner.

What the company do in this storytelling arena, they clearly do well - stripped bare and with simplicity.

As we enter, the cast of three are wandering about the stage chatting amongst themselves and looking a little bored as they wait for the audience to settle in. They're clearly a troupe about to tell us a story rather than create a world of escape. Kicking off with an auditorium-wandering tirade ("Steal from Tesco!" in the style of the classic "Wear sunscreen"), Holly Beasley-Garrigan then tells us the story of J - a 26 year old physics teacher with a weak heart who dreams of being an astronaut - as she goes on a journey to embrace the cosmos.

To maintain a varied pace for the first half hour she carries, she delivers the heightened reality of the poetic text very well, sometimes using a mic stand, sometimes quietly downstage, once using an audience member to deliver a quote from astrophysicist Carl Sagan, for no other reason I could see other than forcing movement and giving a different 'sound' to her voice. But it does break up what could otherwise be just a monotonous monologue.

When she travels 400 miles to meet an online date, Blair (himself a tree surgeon and poet), he initially takes over the monologue but also plays out some scenes together with J (although as part of the storytelling as they punctuate with "he / she said" before and after delivering lines). Pretty guitar-led music continues throughout amongst the lectures against society (his focus being corporate "Johnny Profit" only out to make money, and the existence of billboards as a signifier of all that is wrong with the world), and there are also a couple of melodic songs on idealism. The words may be reminiscent of student rallying ("listen to the electricity going from pylon to pylon" and "unstitch every thread till I'm threadbare") but they are gentle, sung well and with a clear belief.

As a piece of storytelling, it's generally engaging, being led by two highly-skilled orators. Their laid back manner gives little to excite or maintain interest but if I was listening to an audiobook then their delivery would make that enjoyable. The story isn't particularly new (we should let go of the Internet, look to nature, eschew capitalism and remember "we are all intelligent dust" in this Universe) and the underlying love story isn't explored enough as to become believable, but the narration and score gently move it along pleasantly and with ease.

What the company do in this storytelling arena, they clearly do well - stripped bare and with simplicity. Whether that's enough to maintain your interest for an hour very much depends on how many similar pieces in this style you have seen before and therefore how unique a structure it may be for you.

Reviews by Simon Ximenez


Viola's Room

Garrick Theatre

Regards to Broadway

Trafalgar Theatre

People, Places & Things

Lyttelton Theatre

London Tide

Dorfman Theatre

Underdog: The Other Other Brontë

Gillian Lynne Theatre

Standing at the Sky's Edge


Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now



The Blurb

A woman runs so fast she bursts in to a million pieces. A man stands at the end of a pier, looking up at the stars.

FABLE is a show about where we are and where we’d like to be – about our childhood dreams and what, here and now, we are left with. Two people meet on the far west coast of Scotland and change each other profoundly. A show about what we believe in, what we stand for and what we can change. A fable wound from spoken word, storytelling and live music.

Inspired by a real village in the Scottish Highlands, FABLE is fresh from runs at Summerhall at the Edinburgh Fringe, The Soho Playhouse in New York and the Adelaide Fringe.

Most Popular See More

The Lion King

From £46.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Play That Goes Wrong

From £27.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mamma Mia!

From £15.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Phantom of the Opera

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Mousetrap

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Book of Mormon

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets