Writer: Francesca Millican-Slater
Reviewer: Joanna Trainor
With wine, cheese and Buble; Francesca Millican-Slater tells the story of her flat, from a dirt path to wooden walls. Though it might sound like a history lesson, her warmth and love and enthusiasm for the life of her former abode, makes the evening seem more like a housewarming party with friends and karaoke.
Millican-Slater has clearly done huge amounts of research about Haunch Lane in Birmingham, she even had to go to a “library”. This is a place to get information that the internet doesn’t have, she explains. We start by meeting the flat; the ramp, the locked doors, the windows that don’t open or close; you’re being introduced to another character, not a building. She listens to Millican-Slater’s problems and doesn’t judge her for her cheese or wine habits. By this point it’s sounding better than a boyfriend.
The Landlord that owns the property and his “Boys” that paint her door while she’s inside and leave the latch on when they’re upstairs, are great comic additions to the story. We first meet Landlord swearing at the Google Earth camera; the address is 288 Haunch Lane if anyone would like to have a look.
Her journey to the beginnings of the lane, brings up The Haunch, for “feeble-minded women” that existed in that state until 1962. Distressing in its name and stature as it looks on at the changing Birmingham suburb, instead of letting it cast a grey cloud over the evening, the audience toast to be weak minded with our bargain booze in plastic red cups.
Francesca Millican-Slater is a wonderful storyteller, and having to say goodbye to the flat as its renovated is rather upsetting, although singing at top volume with everyone does ease the pain.
It’s an hour and a half that will leave you feeling really upbeat and positive about the little things in life, and those annoying quirks about your home that usually bother you, end up seeming far more endearing.
Runs until 19th June