Tuesday, May 28

The Bunker (Halloween Edition) – Liverpool Arts Bar

Wing It Impro and Stories, The Bunker (Halloween Edition), is an intimate evening of storytelling inspired by the autumn season. The first of planned quarterly events, this cosy and charming evening of spooky tales is supported by Mark Smith providing live sound effects and enhancing the comfortable atmosphere with a warm and friendly presentation of the evening.

The evening opens with Munro, telling a story of a family heirloom which, Alexandra, the lead character clings to for dear life, but in doing so unleashes the wrath of a terrifying beast which is determined to reclaim what belongs to them. Munro’s vocalisation of the beast’s voice is particularly good and creates a genuine sense of fear. His body language and gesturing is also very good. Munro’s second story is brighter, looking at what happens to people as they prepare for the arrival of their first child. Exploring the topical theme of vaping and its relationship to quitting smoking, this is a fun tale which explores how early parenthood affects your relationships and behaviour.

Emma’s story begins with her performing as the lead character before morphing seamlessly into third person narration, clearly using the skills she has picked up previously as an actor. Her wide eyed fear is very good and creates a frightening atmosphere around her visceral and graphic story.

Eavan uses props in her stories, which are taken from her wide personal collection of curios and antiques. Her first story is that of Pogo, a man who was exhibited in the circus as a “freak” and lost his place in the world when these type of exhibitions fade out of fashion. Gradually abandoned by everyone he cares about, the story culminates in a dark parody of tales of wishes and magical intervention. Eavan’s style is very confident, and she owns the stage while she is on it telling her mesmerising tales. Her second story looks at a boy whose mother died during childbirth and how this affects his relationship with his impatient and busy father. Another prop, an antique teddy bear, adds a layer of tenderness to this one which is a sweet and affectionate tale of love and family.

The evening closes with Gav Cross, who immediately declares himself a fraud as he retells old tales to children, rather than writing his own as the other storytellers have. His rendition of Rock-a-Bye-Baby however, is very funny and involves the audience in an engaging and fun way which ends the evening on a high.

It is apparent that some of the storytellers are less experienced than others and nerves did affect the vocalisation of the stories on occasion, meaning that some elements were said too quickly or slightly mumbled which meant that not everything could always be heard clearly. This is however a minor issue which will likely be ironed out with further performances.

Many of the stories use local geography, enhancing their identifiability for the audience. After anchoring the action in reality, many of the stories then shift into the weird and wonderful, creating a feeling of disorientation and making the twists and turns of the stories very enjoyable. The lighting used in the evening is very effective creating a creepy atmosphere which emphasises the theme of the stories well. The sound effects are also very good, adding an extra level to the stories being told, and increasing the creepiness of atmosphere of many of them.

The Bunker (Halloween Edition) is a fun and seasonal evening of storytelling which begins Halloween in a lovely way, with some local creatives and original pieces of art which each of the storytellers can be very proud of. The additional touches of sound effects and prompts give the evening a unique twist and make this an original piece of theatre which is a lovely tribute to the autumn season as the nights grow colder and darker with the approach of winter.

Reviewer: Donna M Day

Reviewed: 29th October 2021