Traverse Theatre

When I walked into the wee theatre of Traverse Two, I was met with our genial host for the evening Shon Dale-Jones. His bright nature does make up for the fact that the set is very spartan with just a table within the room and a laptop and sound desk to accompany him. But as his one man show unfolds and he takes you on his whimsical journey that mixes fact with fiction, the sound desk set up does suit its purpose. Dale-Jones comes across as one of those late night DJs that lures you into his show with his dulcet tones. And certain parts of his story do get peppered with their own soundtrack which helps to heighten the whole experience. And although he is telling his story he’ll stop every now and again to have little chats with the audience here and there too.

The tale itself surrounds the fate of his family heirloom, a porcelain figure of the Duke of Wellington on horseback. Whom they have affectionately called “The Duke”. This collector’s piece is an investment that his father got for them and which he hopes to make a bit of money off it for his family in the future. And so it stays under the bed with them taking furtive peeks at it from time to time. But nothing is eternal and “The Duke” does meet an unfortunate demise. What follows is a mixture of upcoming deadlines, scavenger hunts and innate sense of responsibility.

This storytelling experience is very much centred on loss, but also on letting things go and the kindness of others. There is a great amount of synchronicity happening within this tale and to be honest you have no idea as to what’s real or what’s a falsehood. But it doesn’t matter as it all makes for a good story. It’s like when you have a pal who you know is telling you an outrageous whopper, but because they’re telling it so well, you let it slide and just enjoy the moment.

It’s a very sweet and engaging evening, but I have to admit that Dale-Jones main aim of bringing awareness to the refugee crisis, (which is what this whole show is about) alas comes across as being tacked on. I can see what he’s trying to do and he’s been raising a lot of money for charity with his good work, but it did affect the flow of this rather personal tale.

Markus Helbig.

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