The Whispering Road

Nick Hennessey’s folk and music trio seriouskitchen performed The Whispering Road at St. Mary’s Church in Cheveley last month.

A combination of Scandinavian myth and traditional music, the show was a powerful reminder of the potency of live storytelling.  Of particular interest was the emphasis on landscape as symbol and point of mediation. As is to be expected of this format, there was a considerable repetition of images and scenarios: a continuous journey, sequential encounters and cyclical episodes. Over the course of the evening, these patterns built into a rich set of archetypal suggestions. As the show’s press release states, the environment of the narrative is one in which: “every bird and beast has power and every encounter a deeper purpose.” In part, the points of connection that constituted the story worked as devices of engagement for the audience: oral prompts, choruses, refrains. They were also symbolic plot points which operated on a more implicit level to bring out the thematic elements of the show: repetition and change, identity and ritual, anima and animus. For anyone interested in the oral folk tale and the continuing relevance of Propp’s morphology, The Whispering Road is well worth a look.