Tale of Lands beyond the Arctic Circle

Article excerpt

Winter Tales at St Mary's Heritage Centre, Gateshead, until Christmas Eve BEHIND dark curtains in the former church, where floor space is lined with seats and scattered cushions, we watch as a moon starts to rise to a starry sky and, to the toe-tapping sound of fiddle-playing, a snow rabbit slowly awakens.

Then what a treat the next hour or so of theatre turns out to be.

I can't remember when I last sat and listened to a storyteller (I was probably about six) and had forgotten the simple pleasure of the traditional art form.

Simple, but it's clever stuff with expert storyteller Pascale Konyn here constantly on the move, holding our attention as she whisks the audience's imaginations on a Nordic journey to cold lands above the Arctic Circle with meandering tales brought alive with such magical images as a polar bear pulling the moon into the sky.

Part of Gateshead Council's Winter Festival, this is a constantly moving show, with Konyn changing tack, and voices, in stories of the longest night, the sun and moon and Northern Lights, plus marriage and love and seas and seals, while dancer Andrea Masala is mesmerising as the Arctic hare - balletic one moment, rabbit-like jumps and thrusts the next - and beautiful, mood-changing fiddle music comes courtesy of Hinny Pawsey. …