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The Creative Issue – News for Creatives | July 24, 2021

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Brisbane Festival: Bedtime Stories

Brisbane Festival: Bedtime Stories
Harry Wallace

Who among us is not beguiled by secrets, entranced by stories and intrigued by mystery? Who among us would not lean in with curiosity at a crack of thunder and the words, ‘It was a dark and lonesome night…’

Welcome to Bedtime Stories, a darkly atmospheric theatrical experience from the Dutch performance collective URLAND. Part of the plays intrigue is it’s promise of taking place in a secret location, and without spoiling anything, the location is perfect. After being escorted to the performance with brisk efficiency by the good folk at Brisbane Festival, the audience is greeted with flood lights, atmospheric storm rumblings, and the set up of a live radio performance.

Thomas Dudkiewicz is the storyteller at the centre of it all, and he conducts the performance like a maestro with an orchestra. The characterisations, voice work and special effects are all impressively adept.

The story itself plays out like a cross between a noir-era radio play and a Neil Gaiman short story, complete with flawed protagonists and fantastically bizarre ending. It starts with an introduction to a young girl, Lilly, her father, Max, and her grandfather, George. Max and George are both master storytellers who lace Lilly’s childhood with strange tales that are filled with shadowy undertones and fey encounters. The story follows Lilly’s times growing up with Max and George, and the tension their fictional obsessions cause. This tension culminates in an ending that will leave you wondering about the story for days afterwards, and like all good stories, will make you believe that maybe something is out there, in the dark and lonesome night.