The Beta Males Sessions: Richard and The Storybeast

In addition to their main show at the Pleasance, the writer-performer foursome known as the Beta Males have split into pairs to do something a bit different in the afternoon. On this occasion, we’re talking the pairing of Richard “I’m a nice person” Soames with the ebullient creature of narrative peculiarities that is generally known as the Storybeast–but also, apparently answers to the name of John Henry Falle.

Entertaining, benign, yet just a tad outré, Richard Soames and the Storybeast are definitely worth tracking down within the non-Euclidean geometry of this particular venue!

For the most part this show almost comes across like two well-matched halves of two different one-man shows, as Soames and the Storybeast alternate behind the microphone (albeit occasionally providing the other with some off-stage sound effects when required).

On this evidence, Soames' main speciality is the delivery of succinct and somewhat off-kilter monologues – one example being the internal monologue apparently going on inside his head during his day-job as a teacher at a girls’ school, others being various characters’ attempts to justify actions which even they’re beginning to realise are totally bizarre and spiralling-out-of-control.

The Storybeast, meantime, would have been an absolute delight on the old BBC show Jackanory. He is a shaggy ball of enthusiasm not least during his (only slightly) modernised and condensed retelling of the Old English Saga of Beowolf, which forms an episodic spine for the hour. On other occasions, as the Storybeast extravagantly draws out his notebook from the depths of his trenchcoat, you never quite know what you're going to get; beyond, perhaps, an implicit warning about “the dangers of creative writing”.

The Storybeast’s most surreal tale is undoubtedly The Bus Who Fell in Love with a Man, but Soames near matches him with his own take on Edwardian Antarctic explorers, inane game shows, and a cocky “ladies’ man” with a fixation for whales. Both teeter on the edge of ridiculousness but never fall over into it.

Entertaining, benign, yet just a tad outré, Richard Soames and the Storybeast are definitely worth tracking down within the non-Euclidean geometry of this particular venue!

Reviews by Paul F Cockburn

Multiple Venues

Nests

★★★
Dundee Rep Theatre / Macrobert Arts Centre

The Yellow on the Broom

★★★
Underbelly, Bristo Square

Tom Neenan: It's Always Infinity

★★★★
Assembly George Square Studios

Police Cops in Space

★★★★★
Gilded Balloon Rose Theatre

Rik Carranza: Still a Fan

★★★★
Gilded Balloon Rose Theatre

Marmite

★★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

The two best ones from The Beta Males, John Henry Falle, ‘bearded force of nature’ (Guardian) and Richard Soames, ‘simultaneously adorable and hilarious’ (SpoonfedBlog.com) present an hour of storytelling. Be transported as The Storybeast takes you into his cave for some myths, before Richard takes you out of that cave and performs characters that will make you laugh and cry. Expect terrifying rituals and warm tea. Praise for The Beta Males: ‘Genius’ (Sunday Times). ‘One of the most exciting acts out there’ **** (Time Out). ‘A furnace of invention’ **** (Chortle.co.uk).