It's Alway's Right Now, Until It's Later
Daniel Kitson once again proves to be an irresistible storyteller in his new show at St. Ann's Warehouse.
The two semi-related stories he has to tell involve William Rivington and Caroline Carpenter. Explaining at the get-go that he won't be telling a love story -- certainly not about Rivington and Carpenter -- he says his purpose in discussing these two is pointing out that life, as he sees it, is made up of never-ending moments, the far greater number of them instantly forgotten.
In doing so, Kitson alternates between his completely conventional figures, skipping back and forth over their eight-decades to report on birth-to-death incidents of no newsworthy dimensions.
Indeed, Rivington and Carpenter, both of whom make happy marriages, only share one moment. It's a dot in their millions of lifetime dots -- and this is where Kitson is at his most poignant -- during which they're barely aware of one another.
Describing this particular moment, he's standing on a ladder and pointing between a pair of bulbs hanging from the ceiling. They are only two of a few dozen suspended at different levels and serving as the darkened set Kitson designed with Susannah Henry. (Kitson and Rob Pell-Walpole designed the lighting.)
As he wanders between and among the bulbs, he'll often stop so that his face is illuminated from below. Often he'll cup his hands inches away from the bulbs as if he's a god caressing the planet on which his characters are surviving and, in their way, thriving.
It's also true that Kitson retains a West Yorkshire accent that comes out in weighted nasal tones, and which sometimes sounds as if he's speaking with two or three marbles in his mouth. He also often uses a British vocabulary that might occasionally confuse some audience members.
Moreover, the speed with which he gushes may be due to his overcompensating for a stutter about which he is constantly amusing -- he jokes that he's ready to call audience members bothered by it "bigots." Restless and clearly driven by the urgency of what he has to say, he keeps on the move, only occasionally sitting on a chair he continually repositions.