Strange Face - Adventures with a Lost Nick Drake Recording

Mike Burdett's one man show has all the signs and potential for being a Fringe hit but, sadly, due to some underdeveloped writing and wayward lessons, it doesn't quite hit the mark. Burdett is likeable host and his story is a fascinating one, but this show tends to dawdle on boring points and skim over the exciting ones.

Strange Face will be a great show for music lovers, regardless of Drake knowledge, everywhere.

Whilst working at Island Records as a teenager Burdett found a tape containing an out-take of Nick Drake's Cello Song. He never listened to it until 30 years later and, spurred on by it's beauty but shackled by copyright issues, hit the streets of the British Isles to share the song with random strangers one at a time and take their picture whilst they listened. There are some gorgeous and insightful moments in this show, as well as some that are genuinely funny, but what Burdett has failed to do is really structure the story so that it reaches out to his audience. At one point, whilst flicking through pictures, Burdett jokes, “it's like I'm showing you my holiday snaps” and he's right. Just like seeing the snaps from Aunt Jean's safari trip - this show is interesting enough, but a little vacuous.

Burdett touches upon our relationship to music and this is a theme he could do with expanding upon. A short segment about the first record he bought is a treat and made me shuffle nervously in case he asked what mine was but, ultimately, it turns back to Burdett and his journey which is intriguing but needs more threads weaved through to elevate the show and hold our attention.

If Burdett takes this show, with it's great central concept, gets a few more narrative strands in there and either rethinks or ditches completely the patronising moral lesson of going out and talking to people, Strange Face will be a great show for music lovers, regardless of Drake knowledge, everywhere.

Reviews by Andy Currums

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Michael Burdett’s one-man show charts how he found a lost Nick Drake recording and chose to share it in an extraordinary way. Travelling across Britain with a camera, he asked strangers if they’d like to be among the first people to hear the recording in 30 years. Among the farmers, scientists, and mountaineers are some famous faces including Paul Whitehouse, Martin Freeman, Ross Noble and Billy Bragg. Their stories are often funny, surprising and touching, as people share so much more than their thoughts about the recording.

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