Rattle Tales returned to Brighton Fringe for its fourth sell out year. Tickets sold like hot cakes for what is now a Fringe institution. Eighty literature lovers made their way to The Brunswick in Hove and downstairs to their newly reopened cellar bar. The intimate cabaret style venue, complete with muted lighting and its own bar enhanced the excitement of the enthusiastic crowd. We had a huge number of entries for our Fringe show and therefore the standard was very high.
Dave Weaver kicked things off with Red Wire, Green Wire, a flash fiction that was quite literally incendiary as he took us through the thoughts of a bomb disposal expert on a very difficult mission. The crowd was rapt and the three minute story had us all breathless, as Dave counted down to the cutting of the last wire… Rattles were shaken enthusiastically as the crowd tried to decide the fate of the protagonist.
Marie Gethins flew over from Ireland to read her story! Pygmalion was a tender realist love story that perfectly captured the feeling of being properly in love for the first time. Melancholy, sweet and packed full of lyrical detail it satisfied the audiences desire for a happy ending. We would like to thank Marie for coming so far to read for us.
Bite Marks came next, expertly read by Justine Kilkerr, this was the story of a girl raised by wolves who can’t understand why she isn’t like the rest of her family. Justine’s reading was poetic, sexy and gripping and she had a very rock n roll way of throwing the pages she had finished to the floor! Grrr.
After a short break Rattle Tales regular Bill Parslow took to the stage with a hilarious flash about trying to go organic on a newly acquired allotment. The audience was in stiches as Bill demonstrated the protagonist’s use of an electric strimmer after cracking under the provocation of rampant nature and a self-righteous neighbour.
James Ellis read The Fire Diver’s Assistant, a highly imaginative tale about the relationship between a young runaway and the drunken fire diver. James’s story was funny, beautiful and very moving perfectly rendering the incongruous relationship. Questions ranged from the chemical properties required to create fire on water to the gender of the narrator.
Rattle Tales’ own Erinna Mettler read A Greyhound Pass, a cinematic slice of working class Americana. Erinna managed to tell an entire story of a woman’s working life in 4 pages, and tracked the inevitable transitions in society she experienced over such a long time span, and left her character, and us as her witnesses, with the uncertainties of new avenues.
Brighton Prize shortlistee Melanie Whipman read Peacock Girl, a story inspired by the success of the women’s boxing team at the Olympics. Melanie imagined what it would be like to be the mother of a young female boxer. She expertly weaved a tale of brutality and birds, the robust and the delicate and the audience loved it.
Continuing the bird theme was KP Parker, a local writer who gave us a story set in Brighton’s Booth’s Museum. She brought the museum (literally) to life with a tale of a dangerously leaking roof, a museum curator, displays of dead birds and a builder bristling with life. Beautifully read, funny and thought-provoking, an audience favourite.
Joe Bedford finished off the show with his flash fiction Hermanos del Viento. Risking heckles from the Worthing inhabitants in the crowd he gave voice to the titular Spanish team entering the annual Birdman contest. Participants use wild and wonderful contraptions to fly off Worthing Pier, the prize going to those who travel farthest. Hermanos del Viento fly and keep flying, disappearing across the sea and ending up safely back home on the Spanish coast.
All in all this show turned out to be one of our best, this was in no small part due to the audience, who participated from the off, loudly shaking rattles, asking questions and indulging in banter with our wonderful host Jo Warburton.