After the Call was a strange collection of music, monologues and snatches of drama, all taking place in St Andrews Episcopal Church. The church itself was littered with photos, paintings and bits of abstract art strung from the ceiling in a way that was reflective of the performance itself, with its cornucopia of different people and elements.
It was a lovely idea, and it was easy to see the time, dedication and passion that went into each person’s performance. The stories were personal and quite well-written, and it is no easy task to stand up in front of a crowd of strangers and give a lengthy monologue by heart, completely alone. The monologue that particularly stood out was ‘Duck Calls’ by Annie Dimond – well delivered, funny and with a sweet message about how all things happen for a reason (but without being too clichéd), she lit up the tiny church stage.
However, the bits that stood out to me the most were the musical sections, written and partially performed by Joel Clarkson. ‘Magnificat’ was a beautiful choral piece, and ‘Disappear’ was a lovely duet, and both sent ethereal sounds echoing through the church. These parts made the whole event quite special, and I found myself more than once scanning the programme in anticipation of the each musical section. Unfortunately, there were only two of these, and the show could have benefited from a few more to break up the long line of monologues.
The dramatisation bits were possibly the weakest aspects of the show, centering around two angels trying to find better ways to communicate with humans. These sections were pleasant enough, but felt a bit awkward in conjunction with the monologues and musical interludes that made up the rest of the show – although I did have to admire the angels for recovering quite quickly and unabashedly from a few forgotten lines.
Unfortunately, the acoustics of a church do not make for the best audio experience, and, sat a few rows back, I did struggle to hear quite a lot of what was going on. The setting within the church though, I could see was quite integral to the performance, which was tied together with the theme of Calling, and with a lot of allusions to God and religious guidance – so it was quite easy to forgive the church its acoustics in exchange for the atmosphere it gave to the show.
More than an event in and of itself, it seemed more like a window to a community of people, as they asked us to join them for drinks and snacks afterwards. With their own personal works on display throughout the church, and laid bare in the form of the monologues, it felt like a group of people reaching out to each other and to the audience.