The Woodshed, the gorgeous new studio theatre at the Story Museum, is the perfect space for stories to be shared and celebrated. Beautiful starry lights create a Christmassy atmosphere and the intimate yet suitably spacious theatre is the ideal place to be this winter. Suddenly A Star is the Christmas gift we all need to cheer us up this festive season.
The exceptionally talented David Gibb constantly impresses the audience with his ability to play seemingly every instrument there is. I counted two guitars, harmonica, banjo and piano at least! Not to mention his beautiful singing; David has one of those voices that the audience has full confidence in and we feel at ease when listening to him thrive in multiple genres. Not only does he perform these stunning songs effortlessly, David has also written almost all of the musical material, which is both impressive and highly entertaining for the audience, who get the privilege of hearing excellent original music. Personally, the disco number was a real highlight, with its catchy tune stuck in my head all the way home!
Renata Allen, or ‘Mum’, is also a gifted storyteller. Each character she portrays is incredibly convincing as she commits fully to each story. Neither performer gets a break in the entire show but their energy levels never falter - if anything they are more animated and lively with every tale! There is a fabulous rapport between the two performers, who depict a very relatable mother-and-son dynamic, telling stories interjected with comedic reminiscing about David’s childhood. Their skill in telling stories together as one is admirable and works for every tale told. I am particularly fascinated by their usage of instruments to illustrate and enhance stories, without distracting from the narration.
Every detail has clearly been meticulously thought through by the entire creative team, creating a beautiful sensory experience. Both performers become fully the characters they are describing, even a convincing cat and mouse! Their other roles include a hilarious family, whereby David is clearly having the time of his life being three strong women whilst jamming on his electric guitar! Renata’s portrayal of a Russian Grandmother who meets the three Kings is also a high point of the show, getting everyone into the Christmas spirit. The two artists are undoubtedly stars and deserve sold out audiences.
Despite our masks, it was evident that the audience members were all beaming. Shoulders were bouncing up and down as we laughed out loud at the ludicrousness of the stories. The Story Museum is completely correct to describe the performance as a family show: as every single member of the family can find joy in this heart-warming piece, no matter their age. It is so lovely to hear people of all ages laughing throughout, as children’s giggles and adult’s chuckles blend into one harmonious sound of happiness.