David Kent with music by Jeremy Williams
DK Productions (David Kent Ltd)
Hollow opens atmospherically with Jeremy Williams’s dramatic violin playing over a gothic image of a misty forest.
Returning to his family home, a traveller (sole performer / vocalist Dereck Walker) tells how ambition compelled him to roam and seek his fortune. Finding each goal achieved to be hollow, the traveller rethinks his options. He alternates his autobiography with a fable of an ambitious farmer who, encountering a mysterious woman, is compelled to likewise review his life choices.
Hollow is a musical—a rare thing to see on the Fringe. David Kent avoids the verse / chorus approach, preferring to let the lyrics instead serve as narration, telling the story rather than creating a mood. As a result, the lyrics tend to be prosaic rather than poetic leaving any atmosphere to be generated by the music.
Jeremy Williams adopts different musical approaches for the alternating methods of telling the story. Driving violins push forward the traveller’s autobiographical tale but when he switches to the fairy story a jaunty plucked guitar takes over.
Dereck Walker channels the children’s TV show Jackanory for his storytelling style. As the traveller, he is misty-eyed and nostalgic, but while telling the tale of the farmer, he adopts a more straightforward method of addressing the camera direct.
David Kent exploits the simplicity of the fairy tale format to tell a story in a novel musical format. The thin plot means, however, that the novelty, rather than the story, is the attraction.
Reviewer: David Cunningham