It’s impossible not to enjoy Telling Tales when the cast g so much fun performing it.
The stage is decorated with cheerful bunting and a tiny caravan hung with quilts – very effectively evoking a slightly zany marketplace where a travelling troupe of entertainers is about to perform. The young performers, all dressed in bright, eclectic costumes and painted with variations of clown make-up, start to tumble out of the caravan and set up the space with messy, crazed energy. The music, performed by an on-stage guitarist, starts up and then the ‘story selection’ commences.
We are told to three stories during the show, all devised around possible contemporary newspaper headlines. The thing about presenting a variety of tales is that usually some are going to be stronger than others. My personal favourite was ‘The Man Who Didn’t Murder’, a clever satire on the tabloid newspaper industry. It had just the right mix of story, moral and surreal humour (introducing me to the concept of a ‘knife Mohican,’ a rather terrifying and original hairstyle). A hilarious TV interview, in which one actor performed the roles of TV presenter, TV interviewer and interviewee, whilst being framed in a pizza box, was great fun and lots of giggles were had over what headlines would sell the most newspapers: ‘Bad Weather Hits Britain’, ‘Bad Weather Hits Britain Again.’
‘The Exploration of the Sexual Exploitation of Women in the 21st century, with particular reference to Nicki Minaj: The Musical,’ despite the great title, was less successful – too much moral, with not enough story. Additionally, the amazing energy of Todoandahooha’s seven performers occasionally becomes so frenetic it’s hard to follow the story or to understand the lines.
However, it’s impossible not to enjoy Telling Tales when the cast g so much fun performing it. A boisterous and amusing production with lots of heart, Telling Tales also gently prods you into thinking a bit harder about the world around you.