Grant's True Tales Presents Spark London Storytelling

If everyone has a story to tell, one that’s worth listening to, then why is it that the only stories that shift copies off shelves and set Twitter alight are the births, marriages and deaths of the rich and the famous? As part of Grant’s True Tales, Spark London have come to Edinburgh to question a celebrity obsessed era that only wants to hear one type of tale and to deliver an important alternative: a tight and beautifully told ten minute story written and performed by the person it’s about.

It’s a flawless story telling format that took this very reviewer from her seat at Riddles Court to every corner of the globe in just under an hour, transported by voices from every age and every background. I began in post war Hungary, travelled through a Countdown obsessed Britain, en route Cardiff’s Taff River, before crash landing on a Caribbean island.

The stories were funny, elegant, and articulate and each one threw a light on a life previously unknown. You might enjoy one more than another, speaking for myself stories regarding childhood pets are usually lost on me, but they’re all worth a listen.

Each tale is delivered like a carefully gift wrapped package which has dropped unexpectedly onto your doormat. The stories are carefully crafted but not contrived for the sake of performance and because each one is so personal, the performer cares about how it reaches you.

Riddles Court provides an enchanting setting for the course of the evening. A story telling mood is set from the moment you walk into the tree lined courtyard, a short story suspended from each leaf and written by the pens placed in front of you.

Yes, the storytelling is interactive but in an utterly charming and inoffensive way. Depending on the theme of each evening - mine was family - you will be asked to impart just a few lines based on your own colourful personal history. A few good ones are selected to read out in an interlude between the performers who have already mastered the art. Each of these few short lines proved to be performance worthy and persuaded people to believe that, in the space of their own memory, a treasure chest full of “ordinary” stories are waiting to be cracked open.

If you fancy dusting off any stories yourself, Spark are holding a 24 hour Storyathon and workshops to support the shakier storyteller before they perform.

Spark London should not just be stumbled on; they should be booked in advance and seats should be taken with anticipation.

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

‘Spark London is Britain’s first true storytelling club night’ (Guardian). This is your chance to hear some of the funniest, and most moving true stories you’ll ever hear. www.facebook.com/grantswhisky.

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