Stories to Tell in the Middle of the Night

Stories to Tell in the Middle of the Night is both exactly what it says it whilst also proving to something rather different altogether. Armed with just a few microphones and moveable desks writer and performer Francesca Millican-Slater tells us “I’ll take you through the night. Its highs, its lows. Those frustrations. Turn on the light. Look at the time. We’ll populate the long dark hours and the small light hours with stories. People.” And so begins our journey through the night full of bizarre tales and characters.

An engaging and evocative performance

We’re taken through an unnamed city and made privy to domestic arguments in 24 hour supermarkets and unlikely romances as “hands brush reaching for the milk” before moving on to some altogether more morbid and sombre stories. There’s the woman in a call centre, working her way through the infinite numbers to try and find someone she knows, the man stuck in a pie factory looking for meaning before being transported to peep shows and other places that you won’t see in daylight. It’s an imaginative twist on dark bedtime stories, making them about anxiety, insomnia and loneliness which is ably supported by lighting and sound designers, Ben Pacey and Iain Armstrong. The near constant electric hum and the artificial fluorescent lights manages to create a disconcerting atmosphere but it’s never quite creepy enough to properly get under your skin.

Additionally there are a few stories that feel like natural points to end the show but it keeps going on with sadly diminishing returns. Nevertheless it’s an engaging and evocative performance that remind us that “What we see at night looks very different to during the day” before reminding us that although the night is full of urban horrors, the sun still rises, we’ll make it through to the other side and we’ll be able to reconnect again.

Reviews by Liam Rees

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

'I’ll take you through the night. Its highs, its lows. Those frustrations. Turn on the light. Look at the time. We’ll populate the long dark hours and the small light hours with stories. People.' A live late night radio show for those that can't sleep. This DJ she's playing, spinning stories that exist between now and morning. Small stories, odd, true, funny and familiar, reflecting the night hours themselves. Lost people, missed chances, words unsaid, horrors, narcissism and the creeping rage of the sleepless.

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