William

Having contrived to mix up my ‘C’s, I arrive late. When I open the door to the tiny theatre, it is to discover that William is already in full swing, or at least as full swing as this production gets. There are no fancy lights, no costumes, no singing and no dancing. Just a woman crouched on the floor beside a battered suitcase, narrating a story to two children sat in front of her. Their parents and a few others are slumped in chairs around the perimeter.Our storyteller looks up and urges me to join them around the suitcase. I’m late and dripping wet - who am I to demur? Besides, I like stories. I don’t need flashy effects or free sweets to keep me entertained - give me a ripping good yarn and my imagination will take care of the rest.William, our protagonist, has a love of books. Unfortunately, he’s not allowed to indulge his passion, which may have something to do with his wicked step-mother.Listening to the adventures of William is making me very fidgety indeed. Implausible plot twists are shrugged off as being ‘a strange coincidence’, while moments of potential drama are glossed over entirely. It’s a total yawnathon. The brother and sister sat beside me are also beginning to flag, although they’re holding it together better than I am.My attention wanders to the old suitcase in the centre of the room. It’s filled to overflowing with loose-leafed pages of children’s handwriting. The spidery scrawl on the topmost page catches my attention and I begin to read it: ‘My name is Bradley. My girlfriend’s name is Bracken. It means ‘Twig’.’ This is better. This interests me. Out of deference to the real story unfolding just a few feet away, I momentarily return my attention to William. By ‘a strange coincidence’ he’s been ordered to save the world using a book entitled William that he discovered in the bookshop. He is aided in his quest by a woman named Polly who, by ‘a strange coincidence’ was found lurking inside a book named Polly. Sadly for those assembled, William fails to discover the book entitled How To Tell a Story, which could have saved the day. That would have been a coincidence too far. I return my attention to Bradley’s story atop the battered old suitcase. ‘I am 7 but 8 in October. My favourite food is eggy bread with ketchup.’Sorry William, but you just got owned by Bradley.

The Blurb

Finding himself in a magical bookshop, William stumbles unwittingly into his own adventure - which will take him to the end of the world. Interactive family theatre where the audience is right at the heart of the story. www.theflanagancollective.co.uk