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Spark London invites people to come up and tell a true story relating to that night’s theme. Monday’s event, hosted by the bubbly comedian Charley Harrison, presented a best of the storytellers who had got up on stage at their open mic nights in Hackney and Brixton.
I was initially a bit skeptical when I found out the location. Little Venice is the kind of place you go for a romantic stroll on a date with someone who *doesn’t know* London. Set amongst multi-million pound mansion blocks, it’s hardly a renowned destination for the arts. Still, not every cultural event has to take place in a dingy East London basement, and it was pleasantly surprising to be somewhere clean with ample seating. Canal Café Theatre is a small, but perfectly formed theatre space above a pub overlooking the canal.
Kicking off promptly at 7:30, the evening presented a variety of very human stories. Ranging from a highly emotive tale of dealing with a friend’s terminal illness to a cringingly embarrassing Dad story.
The most enlightening story of the night came from a journalist with synesthesia. Beginning with describing how her own experience with synesthesia and sex inducing the scent of Haribo Supermix, she soon segued into the smell associated sexual fetishes of people she interviewed. It seems there’s far more people who get off on the scents of vomit, farts and bleach than you’d initially realise.
Special guest storyteller Richard Tyrone Jones rounded off the night – a man who once staged his own funeral a few weeks before finding out he had a life threatening heart condition. Jones’ stand-up comedy approach almost came across as a bum note – not quite connecting with the emotional level of the other speaker’s stories. Still, his story of how he needed a poo twice and couldn’t find a toilet brought a bit of much needed comedy to lift the mood after some of the heavier stories earlier in the night.
Spark London are running workshops and open mic nights across London this month. Spark nights are recorded as a podcast, so you can listen to previous events and find out more about them on their website.
If you fancy a bit of spoken word, but want the East London basement, Vogue Fabrics hosts Spoken Word every second and fourth Wednesday of the month (and Naked Boys Reading which does what it says on the tin).