fringe: the bookbinder
Written and performed by Ralph McCubbin Howell and directed by Hannah Smith (who together make up Trick of the Light), it's the tale of a young man who goes off to seek his fortune, accidentally becomes a bookbinder and encounters a dark book which changes his life.
Howell is brilliant as the storyteller, right from the very beginning when he's alseep on stage as the audience enter, through to the various accents he puts on for the characters and his physicality as he creates an entire world in front of the audience with nothing more than a couple of lamps, a pop-up book, the odd puppet or two and the tools of the bookbinding trade.
The large pop-up book itself is brilliantly constructed by Smith, especially when I realised that the text of the story being told on stage is actually printed on the pages underneath the illustrations. It's something you probably don't notice unless you're close enough to the stage, but it's a lovely detail.
Likewise the music by Tane Upjohn Beatson is beautiful (and weirdly reminded me of the theme music from The Doctor Blake Mysteries), never overpowering but perfect for the story.
There isn't really a lot else to say without ruining the story... except to say that if you love stories... or books... or stories about books, then it's a show that you should go and see.