photo by Claire Grogan

photo by Claire Grogan

Alys has a brand new set of stories for you…

What happens when you mix citrus fruit, small boy and brass band?

Meet Jozsi and other tricksters in this comical tragical musical storytelling show.

Like many of his generation, Alys’ dad kept his memories to himself. So she’s mixing up a magpie’s cocktail of family stories and traditional tales from Hungary and beyond, to delve into just why a Magyar cavalry officer ended up sitting in a blackberry bush in rural Gloucestershire. Watched by the Gestapo, he’ll escape being blown to smithereens twice, tow a pig, briefly become a butler, smuggle Jews to safety using quick wits and paper, and introduce himself as the Doctor of Love. Jozsi is the brother of the tricksters of the folktales that weave around his life.

And he really did suck lemons with Bela Bartok, and made things happen that shouldn’t. Honest.

Funny, fast, physical stories with a wicked dark edge matched by playful, lyrical music from Caoimhe de Paor – folk, improvisation and 20th century Hungarian composer Bartok get twisted and shaken. Alys joins in on recorder and vibraslap.

“There’s power in stories and to entertain it remains the simplest but often most powerful form of drama. In her very personal account of her father, Alys Torrance knows this and uses the oral tradition to great effect.

With tales of such a personal nature, there’s a risk of pomposity and self-importance in the whole endeavour… Can’t they afford therapy? Torrance pricks this bubble early on with her fun, winsome character that feels entirely genuine. You’re never less than entirely enraptured by her off-the-wall physicality and disarming honesty. She seems incredibly excited to have an audience to tell her stories to, and this pervades every syllable, every mime and gesture. It also helps that much of the tales are shrouded in analogy – as well as giving us a deeper understanding of her dad, they can be enjoyed on their own merits and also become relatable, allowing us to consider our own family members in relation to both Jozsi and the tales Torrance spins. The final tale, which could have been particularly mawkish and saccharine, is elegantly handled and injected with the same good humour and winks to the crowd as the rest – it’s a sweet story that never oversteps the mark.

It wouldn’t be half the show, however, without de Paor’s beautifully evocative recorder playing – tackling everything from Strauss’ Blue Danube to more incidental music to set scenes. Some reverb and echo effect in the sound design gives a layered effect to just one instrument, necessary for capturing the desert plains… or the magical realism of Jack’s time that never was. All on a number of the much-maligned recorder, detested by children (and later adults) across the land. Thanks, school, for ruining what is, when played as well as here, a shockingly versatile instrument.” View From The Gods Aug 2013


Duration: 1 hr 15 mins

Requirements: If you have speakers and an amp, Caoimhe will use them.

If you’d like to book this show for your venue, group or club, please just drop me a line

Got a question? I’m all ears…