Reviewer: Farhana Shaikh
Wanderlust is a story about stories: of ordinary and extraordinary tales and the journey, made by three local women, to collect these stories.
There’s an incredible and overwhelming atmosphere of warmth and invitation as soon as we enter. The set pays homage to home crafts and draws you in. At the heart of Dorrie Scott’s playful set design sits a triangular wooden shelf with preserving jars of all different shapes and sizes filled with mementos – too small to make out – but enough to pique my curiosity. The entire stage is beautifully lit and is playful and inviting. In one corner, a man on guitar sitting on a wooden crate plays warm tunes.
The journey begins with live folk music, a solo performance to warm us up – its subject, of course, is stories. The song is played a number of times throughout the 75 minutes running time and by the end it’s quite a catchy number – the words ‘if you tell me yours, I’ll tell you mine’ linger.
As each member of the Gramophones trio enters the stage, armed with a wooden crate we’re told of the hopes and expectations of the type of stories they hoped to collect. Kristy travelled to mobile libraries, somewhat nervously, unable to find her voice. Hannah hijacked passers by in Norfolk, and Ria was invited to a nursing home, often meeting people who could no longer remember.
At the heart of these stories are journeys – which we’re reminded ‘doesn’t have to be a physical one, it can be an emotional one’ – made by ordinary people. The most compelling of these is the story of a dancer who lost his toes, but doesn’t remember how; a woman, who doctors said, would never walk again after a horrific car accident; a woman in her prime who travelled to Iceland after a failed relationship; of having cancer and seeing life through new eyes. These are cleverly told with live folk music, puppetry, projection and verbatim. interwoven are stories of their own – of Hannah’s love for adventure but sombre realisation that she may never have one again, of Kristy’s difficult teenage years and relationship with her parents, and Ria’s family story of a hereditary disease she may have inherited.
A heart-warming, quirky production that is truly refreshing.
Reviewed on 15th April and on tour