Tag: raconteur


Unusual and absorbing

By Caitlin McGrane

As the Melbourne Fringe Festival drew to a close on Sunday night, the audience at The Toff in Town was treated to Magic Steven’s final show in a three-performance run over the two-and-a-half-week festival. Steven aimed to teach us how to love everyone, but it seemed to be that the most important lesson was how to love oneself.

Steven’s basic set up on stage meant that his words, delivered in a dead-pan almost uninflected tone, rolled around the whole space, filling every gap. The show covered Steven’s life since the end of the Comedy Festival in April, and is split into three parts: autumn, early winter and late winter.

Try to Love Everyone

I’ve never really been to many spoken word events before, but I found Steven’s gently lilting story to be strangely engaging. Often the theatrics of a performance can distract from the words, but this show made them stand out and become the stars. It was like having a conversation with a guy at a party, in the best possible way, because it was entirely without the contrivances that can make poetry or comedy performances seem unnatural or forced. The structure was even and the pacing excellent, I also enjoyed how each third managed to slip in a reference to Steven’s time in India.

In autumn Steven decided to take in as many couchsurfers as possible, in order to try to spread platonic love to strangers. Early winter follows his lacklustre search for a girlfriend, and we learn that simply waiting for someone to approach you after a show might (remarkably) not be the best option. Late winter was my favourite, when we were asked to question the conventional wisdom that ‘in order for someone to love you, you must first love yourself.’

While it’s a shame there are no more shows left in this run, I would encourage you to seek Magic Steven out the next time he puts on a show; his style is different, but ultimately very rewarding.

Magic Steven: Try to Love Everyone was performed at The Toff in Town as part of the 2014 Melbourne Fringe Festival.

Review: KIMBERLEY DARK in Good Fortune

A beguiling future was in store for a raconteur and her audience

By Adam Tonking

Do you remember the pleasure, as a child, of having a story read out loud to you? Kimberley Dark’s Good Fortune instantly transported me back to those long-forgotten days.

Dark is a consummate storyteller but these are not for children. They are stories from her life, that when illuminated through her telling become stories about the world at large: about love, sex, politics, and power.

The show was presented as a kind of tasting platter – 46 stories and poems from Dark’s 15 years of performance, each attached to a quirky little artwork, which became a sort of Tarot deck, with members of the audience choosing. These pieces make up the show, with each show being unique to the audience present.

Dark explains that every audience has its own personality, and this method of framing the show’s concept lent it an air of legitimacy, but also created an air of mutual respect between Dark and the audience.

Telling stories is clearly a gift for the highly-skilled Dark. While she chatted with us amiably in between stories, discussing her history and philosophies, including a few poems as a palate cleanser between stories – the moment she opened her book, she transported the audience into another world, as only a true storyteller can.

 The tone of her voice, from beguiling to conversational, from hypnotic to questing, guides us through her world; but the stories themselves grow to encompass all of us. The material is complex yet comedic, personal yet provocative. Perhaps storytelling of this nature is a lost art, but by the end of Good Fortune I was completely enamoured with Dark and her tales.

Perhaps because of the nature of the audience choosing the material, no one will have the chance to see the same show that I did. But go anyway, and reconnect with those wonderful days of simply being told a good story by someone who knows how to tell it best.

Kimberley Dark’s Good Fortune is on for one more night, Wednesday 30th November at 8pm, at The Butterfly Club in South Melbourne, with tickets available at www.thebutterflyclub.com or at the door.

Or see her show Dykeotomy at Hares and Hyenas Bookstore in Fitzroy, December 1-3. For more information go to www.kimberleydark.com.