Wil Greenway – For the Ground that Grew Me

When he speaks of his father’s ‘talkative blue eyes’, you know immediately from where Wil Greenway gets his knack for beautiful storytelling. For the Ground that Grew Me is a quirky, intimate and sometimes visceral homage to his roots.

It’s difficult not to come out of it missing your own family and aching for home.

Kathryn Langshaw is on xylophone, Will Galloway has brought his ukelele along and both supplement the show with soft folk vocals (think along the lines of the Australian answer to Laura Marling and Johnny Flynn). The format is simple and relaxed, while the message is clear: this is an experience which they want us to share together. The entire cast achieve a wonderfully warm and friendly atmosphere with ease, even though the whole thing feels a bit like a ramble around a dinner table, albeit one broken up by musical interludes and reflections on mortality.

‘There’s no reason you’ll want to hear my life story,’ Wil warns – and yet we do, because he’s so bloody good at telling it. Flitting between vignettes from his own life, he reflects upon the folklore of his family. Sometimes it’s a bit grisly, but the show is always honest, and it is this that makes it so relatable. You might never have watched your own dog devotedly hump a welly-boot, but you may well have fallen in love under embarrassing circumstances.

Evocative and brimming with sensory imagery, these personal legends are written in pure poetry: I refuse to believe there has ever been a more lyrical description of a rainy, hungover bus ride spent attempting not to vomit ever spoken. Perhaps what was missing was something tying this collection of yarns together – an underlying message, a conclusion. It is impossible to fault the central concept of the show, but its impact would have been greater had the piece had a clearer structure, beyond that of explaining anecdotes with more anecdotes, like babushka dolls of family stories.

But the show is definitely worth seeing, if only for Wil Greenway’s soulful, emotive delivery. It’s difficult not to come out of it missing your own family and aching for home. 

Reviews by Verity Bell

Assembly George Square Studios

Two Sore Legs

Underbelly Med Quad

Wil Greenway – For the Ground that Grew Me

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Just The Tonic at the Caves

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Underbelly, Cowgate

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The Blurb

That rich taste when you bite your tongue? It's those quiet stories in your blood, passed down from generations before you. These are mine. A new set of truths, fears and lies from the creator of Vincent Goes Splat ('...an absurd and yet utterly human story', Daniel Kitson), A Night to Dismember (runner up Best Comedy and Best Comedy performer at Auckland Fringe) and The Lounge Room Confabulators (Winner of the Underbelly Edinburgh Award).