The Humber Mouth - Hull Literature Festival 2000 - Thursday 9th November - Sunday 19th November 2000
Critical Eye

Saturday 18th November - 10.00pm Review Hull Truck Theatre
Critical Eye 24 Hours in Scunthorpe
Matthew Hogg & Matt Stephenson

Featured as a late night session at Hull Truck after the poetry reading by Carol Ann Duffy and Jackie Kay, this show attracted a large audience.

Devised by local musician Matthew Hogg and local writer Matt Stephenson, 24 Hours to Scunthorpe was something of a hybrid performance - original prose, the songs of Burt Bacharach and projected images were combined to tell the tale of Errol and his dog Barry. While the show was presented with great energy, it was felt by many to be overlong and appeared to need more thought in terms of stage presentation. There were moments of excellence, such as Matthew Hogg's singing, but I had the feeling that it lacked coherence overall.

The project is ambitious in what it requires from the audience. At well over an hour long, the story of Errol and Barry would have to be much more engaging than it currently is to hold one's attention. Blighted by repetition and overmuch description, Matt Stephenson's narrative failed to underpin the show in way which was intended. At times, I felt that the concept behind the presentation had somehow been derived from television or film; the narrative voice accompanying the images, interrupted by music, seems a familiar format. How well this moves back to live theatre is uncertain.

On matters of presentation, the performance wasn't aided by Stephenson's static position which meant he had his back to a significant part of the audience throughout the show. His reliance on a written script also detracted from the effect, and his tendency to 'read' rather than address his audience.

While Stephenson and Hogg might have the beginnings of a show, my feeling was that the project requires much more work to make it fulfil its potential.

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Maggie Hannan is the festival's resident web site critic.
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