The Mee Club is a relatively new venture, this was its second night, offering a safe and sophisticated singles night out, running fortnightly on a Tuesday evening. Hosted by the vivacious and ebullient Cat Wetherill ,it showcases musicians, storytellers, actors, poets, authors and comics ( I am sure even more diverse performers will follow) to entertain in a relaxed convivial atmosphere of food, drink and socialising. Cat herself opened up proceedings with the racy story of the Parisian courtesan Camille. It was an object lesson in good story telling, consummately performed, richly told with a nod and a wink, and with a satisfying twist. She set quite a standard. Fortunately fellow storyteller A Ryan Jones was more than up to the task.
Ryan is a young American from Wyoming, shortly to return Stateside, who has been developing her storytelling skills in Birmingham whilst studying here. Our loss is America’s gain. She delighted the audience with her versatility and deeply human delivery. Opening with the tale of the blind meadowlark, a traditional story, she seamlessly broadened it to encompass her experiences of leaving her parochial hometown to spread her own wings. Her narrative carried a wisdom far beyond her years, a puzzle answered by her account of fireside camping storytelling as a child from across the generations, and how she both cherished those nights and learned from them. Her style is reserved and understated, her choice of words lavish and emotive. It really was quite a combination.
The author for the evening, Geoffrey Iley , had travelled considerably less far, as he comes from Kings Heath! Reading an extract from his book Navegator, he offered the back story to the thriller based in Majorca before reading an extract from it. As a regular visitor to the island I can vouch for its sense of place, and purchasing a copy provides entry to a draw to win a free holiday there too. Another local was comedian and poet Laurence Inman whose dry, laconic demeanour was a delight, not least when reflecting on his time teaching ungrateful students English. Rounding the evening off was musical duo Farcical comprising Sally Stamford, aka the Lemonade Lady ,and Arthur Hyde. A contemporary folk outfit based in Herefordshire , they combined folk and traditional songs with a smile, skill, and lovely harmonies, all delivered with gusto.
The Mee Club next meets on Tuesday 4th September, doors and food from 6.30pm, cabaret from 7.30pm with a bill that includes Festival favourite poet Amy Rainbow. For more information on future Mee Clubs: http://www.kitchengardencafe.co.uk/events.php?pid=main