Time is running out for Calvin’s clock shop and unless someone comes up with an idea by this time tomorrow it looks as if it’s going to join thousands of others on Britain’s increasingly empty high streets. No matter that the business has been in the family for four generations. No matter that Calvin’s a master craftsman who can restore mechanical life to anything from a finely jewelled pocket watch to the Town Hall Clock. The simple fact is that people don’t want things repaired any more. It’s crunch time for Calvin.
This was the background to How Lucky Are You?, this year’s Christmas production from Hidden Spire, featuring the talents of members of Crisis Skylight, which works with homeless and vulnerably housed people and is based at Oxford’s Old Fire Station.
After a slightly uneven opening involving a clairvoyant and a piece of dodgy sticky tape, we met Calvin and the friends and relations who would help him make the critical decision about his future. Whilst Calvin’s brother Alwyn took his risk-averse sibling on a Mephistophelian journey into the world of chance where fortunes are made and lost on the role of a dice, long-term fiancée Francis invited him to look to the stars or the fortune teller’s cards.
Despite a running time of just over an hour, How Lucky Are You? is a surprisingly thought-provoking and ultimately positive exploration of the theme of change and upheaval. Drawing strongly on their own experiences, the homeless members of the company have spent last four months working with a professional creative team to create a unique piece of theatre – an experience director Liz McBain described as “inspiring”. Another member of the company told Daily Info, that the piece reflects the way in which homeless people often come together to form intensely caring and supportive families.
Strong leading performances were supported by an impressive quartet of multi-talented clocks, an able band of musicians and a fascinating set which made the most of the OFS’s limited performance area.
If you’re looking for a slightly different theatrical experience this Christmas, you could do worse that catch a performance of How Lucky Are You?