The Dial Up
On Thursday night, 14 December, 11 days before Christmas, I joined Alex Williams at The Kitchen, Croxley for an open mic evening with The Dial Up.
It’s not my usual scene, but having just contracted with Alex to publish his young adult novel, Chrysalis, it seemed an opportunity to support one of our authors, and find out about The Kitchen which is run by Linda Anderson who is very supportive of local creators. I had heard Alex perform at the premier showing of Mark Crane’s take on Leslie Tate‘s Heaven’s Rage in Berkhamsted. It was also through this link that I had heard about Linda, but hadn’t yet had a chance to meet her.
What was rather unusual, even for me, about this Dial Up open mic evening, was the absence of microphones – they were not needed in this small, intimate space. Yet no one seemed to sit on top of anyone else. For a cold night, it was warm and cosy. A genuine family feel.
The evening was mostly musical and having got annoyed two nights before, in a coffee shop in a neighbouring town for having Christmas songs sung off key in a very confined space without warning whilst trying to proofread, this time I got got into the Christmas spirit and enjoyed the evening.
Alex opened with Take the “A” Train accompanied by Matt Wakefield on piano. This was then followed by favourites such as sleigh ride, Winter wonderland, Let it snow, I saw three ships etc.
Of the other musical numbers to follow, Julian Mount’s 11 days to Christmas was fitting as was his warning to Santa about the changes he should expect (CRB checks, MOTs and Health & Safety regulations amongst other chuckle inducing comments). Chris and Liz Lawley took us back in time singing solo numbers.
Steve McLellan introduced me to a song about Dead Skunks in the middle of the road with a local flavour. I think I was the only one on the audience not singing along…
Alison Raymond kept the caravan theme going before accompanying Susan Alexander on the fiddle.
Interspersed between all this were two poets – Brian Scott and Jim Connor. What was refreshing listening to these two was their reciting their poems without reading them. It brings the words alive in a way reading them doesn’t quite manage.
Alison Raymond has a one-act play currently on tour as 9-5 work commitments allow – Walter Harvey Hallam (an ordinary man) – a World War 1 story. (get a taste). See the TSL calendar for future dates.
Although the night was mostly muscial, it was a pleasant evening, and as usual I was astounded to see how much local talent there is and how people are finding ways to break out of the box.
This also happened to be the last night of The Dial Up at The Kitchen. From January 2018 it is at the London Improv Theatre 104A Finchley Road NW3 5JJ, Third Friday of the month at 7.30pm. More info here.
The Kitchen, Croxley though will be continue to have an open mic night – details on the website
TSL Drama has a collection of monologues, one act and full length plays for theatre groups.Share