Monday, May 08, 2006

Stories In Motion at Brighton Festival

Chuck Palahniuk spills his Guts...

...And watch the bodies hit the floor. Yes, Chuck chose to read the infamous Guts during last night's Stories In Motion performance. If you're not familiar with this extremely unpleasant short story then you can read it here but don't say that I didn't warn you... Apparently someone in the audience always faints when he reads Guts, but I'd often wondered if this was just good marketing hype, or if it genuinely happened? Now whether it was the explicit content of the story, the images of intestines which kept flashing up on the screens, the heat inside the venue, or a combination of all three... but fifteen people fainted during last night's reading. No joke - I saw two go down very close to me. One colleague out in the foyer described the scene "like a battlefield" as people were carried out and attended to. The fainting was just one part of the amazing Stories In Motion. I wondered if Chuck and Irvine (Welsh) would be trading paragraphs, making up a story as the event unfurled, but no, instead we were treated to a slightly more structured show in which Irvine read two more hilarious passages from The Bedroom Secrets Of The Master Chefs and Chuck read the aforementioned Guts and Hot Potting from Haunted - sat on small podiums at opposing ends of the auditorium. And all the while the authors read we had C6 mixing visuals on a series of screens hanging from the ceiling, and Longrange (Phil Hartnoll & Nick Smith) providing an assortment of ambient sounds which built into much louder dance tracks in the breaks between each story - and certainly got Irvine up and dancing! During Hot Potting they were accompanied by a live violinist and at the climax of the show Kelly Mallone joined in on vocals. This improvised mix of words, sound and vision could have been a disaster... but to me it was an unqualified success. Challenging, innovative performances like this are what the Brighton Festival should be all about.

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