Barefaced Stories Story Battle
Review: Lindsay McPhee
Author Philip Pullman once said after nourishment, shelter and companionship, "stories are the thing we need most in the world" and the sold-out crowd at Barefaced Stories' Story Battle may well have proved his case.
It was mostly standing room only at the grand final as 12 storytellers presented confessional tales from the urbane to the poignant, crafted into neat six-minute segments.
Sheena Mooney opened with a story of her father's death from cancer. Whilst a tale of loss, as so often happens with illness and death, there were moments of humour and the sense of something gained. Her impression of him communicating after having his larynx removed was both funny and powerful and spoke of a more common experience people can sometimes be afraid to share in the face of death.
We're all guilty of childhood betrayals at some point and Allan Girod ably evoked a youthful crisis of conscience. Letting someone else take the blame is, despite all our good intentions, a story so familiar to many adults it tends to be burned into our memories.
Janette McGinty's delightful Scottish brogue wove a tale worthy of an Alan Bennett monologue; part hilarious, part almost stomach-churningly uncomfortable, her story about her penchant for smelling her rotten tooth and subsequent root canal surgery by an angel-like dentist was a masterful lesson in the kind of confessional testimony the audience couldn't turn their eyes from, much like rubbernecking at a car crash. Little wonder she was last year's Story Battle winner.
Winner Nadine Browne drove the competition home with a polished and excruciatingly black comedic tale of driving her drug-addicted friend across the Nullarbor for Christmas in Perth. Never has a packet of Winnie Blues been a matter of life and death or the fortuitous kindness of strangers so welcome.
However it was the unassuming Patrick Glynn that stood out with his patient delivery of struggling to emerge from a self-isolating life to re-engage with society. Showing stories don't have to be unusual or dramatic to be successful, there were no tricks up Glynn's sleeve. He spoke with self-effacing candour and never strayed into self-pity territory, even when describing the internal voices which alternately plagued and encouraged him when he finally attempted to date. This won him the well-deserved People's Choice Award and runner up in the final.Barefaced resumes regular programming on November 26 with a storytelling night inspired by the Kinsey Report.