VERTICAL DREAMING is the last performance piece for the year at the Old Fitz. It is a work by the boss, Artistic Director Andrew Henry.
This is a very personal work. Early in the year Henry spent some time in a mental health facility. It was a very tough time. As he described, ‘His mobile phone was taken away from him, his bags were checked, and he was fitted with the customary blue socks.’
Whilst in the facility he came across an old scrapbook that had been compiled by a previous inpatient. It contained some favourite poems by contemporary poets. The poems gave him a lot of comfort at a very difficult time. He then started adding poems that he knew that had a special significance for him to the scrapbook collection.
This scrapbook activity at the facility was the genesis, the starting point, for the current show which essentially sees Andrew with the help of some very good friends – singer Lenore and Matt, Paul and Simon – perform the poems and songs that do the mostest for him – that, as he writes in his program notes, make him feel like ‘the writers have got inside my brain and written them for me’ (to express what I am thinking and feeling).
It was always going to be a very emotional night and that is the way it played out. Andrew’s musicians artfully set the selected poems to music and he brought them home with telling clarity. The music chosen was memorable, particular highlights were great versions of the Rolling Stones classic ‘Wild Horses’ and Lenore’s beautiful delivery of one of Joni Mitchell’s finest, most covered songs ‘A Case Of You’.
I enjoyed the production’s relaxed, intimate feel. We walked into the theatre as if we were entering a music lounge setting with Lenore on a sofa and the musos comfortably placed around the small stage.
In an astute choice Henry let the poems and songs speak for themselves and each audience member left the theatre with their own interpretations and reflections.
Recommended, VERTICAL DREAMING continues at the Old Fitz Theatre until the 15th December.