Nothing more typifies the 1980s than Fame! The Alan Parker musical that was later a hit TV show that chronicled the lives of students attending the High School of Performing Arts. It inspired a generation of people wearing leg warmers and lycra. The film/television series was also quite hard hitting featuring storylines that dealt with homophobia, teenage pregnancies and suicide to name but a few. It also featured the iconic theme tune from Irene Cara that was a chart topper on both sides of the Atlantic. So an 80s geeky kid like myself was never gonna pass up the opportunity to watch the stage version at the Manchester Palace Theatre.
Good theatre, even theatre that reaches those heady heights of greatness, is all down to the art of storytelling. It is unlike many other mediums in that you as the captive audience are completely at the mercy of the performers. The story, the delivery and the theatrics used to tell a tale are all armoury in the arsenal of the storyteller. Get it wrong and you’ve lost the audience. Get it right and you will have people regaling your tale to the world.
After a while you can become tired of watching the same old, same old. You get to a certain age having watched a plethora of performances and you are just in the comfort zone. You know what makes things tick, and what does not. Sometimes, though, you stumble upon something that just lifts you from deep within the rabbit’s fur and stimulates your senses. Minute Taker’s set at this year’s Refract:18 festival did exactly that.
One of the highlights from this year’s Refract:18 festival is the set by Minute Taker. Alternative singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist – aka Ben McGarvey – is one of those artists that often people rave about and critics pine for. He’s released two critically acclaimed albums and has composed several soundtracks for stage. Caught In The Act managed to grab some time with him and wax lyrical about stage names, independent artists doing it for themselves and our mutual love of all things Kate Bush.
Now in its second year, the Refract:18 festival kicks off this week with ten days of experiential performance, music and events, all aiming to challenge visitors to see things differently. Caught In The Act managed to wrangle an interview with Darren Adams, one of the men behind Refract, and we talked about pushing the boundaries, attracting new audiences and newts taking over the human race!