02 - Fatherland at MIF

Monday, 3 July 2017


I feel when I write that I should put in a back story and context to whatever I'm writing about only to invariably end up deviating wildly from the point of writing. Simplified, I love Karl Hyde and his work, when I heard about his latest project "Fatherland" last November - I knew I had to see it.

We took ourselves off to Manchester International Festival on Saturday night to see the first preview show at the Royal Exchange and it did not disappoint. Mr Hyde's unmistakable narrative style could be felt snaking through a performance that was momentarily funny, often captivating and voyeuristic and at times brutally heartfelt.

I hadn't been to the theatre in years before this weekend. Spare time goes to cinema or gigs/concerts if we are sans children. This has me wanting to throw a bit more theatre into the mix from now on...

I left feeling mixed emotions and pondering my feelings towards my own father. Wondering what our own children will make of theirs in years to come and wishing I could unhear the recounting of a tale from a fireman (those who have seen the performance will understand, those who have not and will not - I'll spare you...). Fatherland is as much about the perception of how our fathers mould us as how the geographical places we come from have a similar influence, shaping us and leaving an imprint on the people we become.

I'm quite certain that there are a couple of faces that we will undoubtedly be seeing more of in the future. Tachia Newall and David Judge in particular with Newall giving a perfectly haunting performance during "Perfect Moment".

Fatherland (Original Music From The Stage Show) is out now but I suggest getting yourself along to a performance in person if you can (on til the 22nd of this month). As wonderful as Karl Hyde's voice is, it somehow doesn't portray the urgency, emotion and soul that is so tangible throughout the Fatherland narrative. The songs aren't meagre background pieces, they are as much the thing as the play itself and deserve singular attention.

I'm eager to see more works in this vein with the emerging trend of theatrical music (in a non Les Mis style sense) as an attempt to combat the digital era and folks listening to tracks individually rather than as a body of work. I've long hated the segregation (for want of a better styling) that digital has brought to music and look forward to seeing and hearing unified works with a beginning, a middle and an end again. I could write at length about my love of narrative in music, let's save that for another time though eh?

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