In THE EXPLORER’S CLUB: ANTARCTICA. SONGS, STORIES AND IMAGES FROM THE HEROIC AGE, visiting Auckland duo Bond Street Bridge are presenting their own unique brand of history lesson as part of the Sydney Fringe Festival. Storyteller Sam Prebble on vocals, guitar and violin is supported by Brendan Turner on electric upright bass and close vocal harmonies.
Original songs in a unique modern folk style with lyrics inspired by or quoting the writings of polar explorers follow spoken interludes. The performers gently guide us through the tragic tales of various expeditions such as the Terra Nova expedition led by Robert F. Scott and Ernest Shackleton’s imperial Trans-Antarctica Expedition.
This ‘Explorer’s Club’ instalment in the super-intimate Marrickville venue, The Newsagency, is enriched by a booty of photos and Emily Cater’s delicately rendered artist’s depictions of the historical predicaments. Song titles are also clearly projected and promoted on the back wall of the space.
Amplified acoustic guitar and violin join bowed and plucked bass to provide atmospheric and often shuddering sound effects. Between photos, sketches, soundscape and description, this is an edgy, no-holds-barred compilation describing the harsh realities of explorers who often perished at the mercy of the weather and basic technologies of the time.
The folklore and memories surrounding leaders of Antarctic expeditions such as Scott and Shackleton resonate closely with Australians due to close geographic and emotional connection to the continent itself. Whatever historical knowledge and impressions of these journeys we possess are entertainingly and thoroughly updated through Bond Street Bridge’s successful performance format and engaging set of heart-warming songs.
The original compositions used could stand alone, unadorned and still be instantly popular and memorable. They exist in digital album format and online versions which include Cater’s drawings as enjoyed in the evening’s projections. All songs involved in building the set gain momentum and impact on the night from being punctuated by lively description, explanation, historical perspective and humour.
Standout songs include the achingly beautiful ‘Water Sky’, with its yearning for a break in the ice and also a break from isolation from loved ones. ‘The Wreck of the Endurance’ is a rollicking piece with dialogue and clear depiction of escaping the stranded vessel.
The final song offered, ‘The Lost Men’ is a joint tribute to the savage and grisly experiences in the parallel primitive worlds of the Great War and polar exploration. It completes a night of substantial information, steady storytelling and true gems of musical embellishment in this historical expedition of its own.
Bond Street Bridge’s final Sydney Fringe performance takes place on Fri 26 September at 8.30pm, once again at The Newsagency, 375 Enmore road Marrickville.
For more about Bond Street Bridge, visit http://bondstreetbridge.com