‘Whistle’ by Martin Figura

Just wanted to say what a deeply moving and uplifting experience it was to see Martin Figura‘s show, ‘Whistle‘, based on his award-winning 2010 poetry collection of the same name which tells the story of  the events leading up to and following the killing of Martin’s mother, June, at the hands of his father.

I saw the show at The Rondo theatre in Bath and ‘Whistle’ continues to tour nationwide.  If you haven’t seen the show or read the book, I urge you to do both.  I will be looking for an opportunity to see the show again – it’s that good.

The production is a stunning example of the powerfulness of simplicity; Martin stands alone on stage, relating his story through poetry and prose, with a simple, drop-down screen displaying a thoughtfully selected range of images, family photographs, personal letters and documents, advertisements and so on, from post-WWII years, which enhance the unfolding narrative.

A Q & A session following the 60 minute show revealed that those audience members who hadn’t been familiar with Martin’s story beforehand were as enthralled by ‘Whistle’ as those of us who had read the book.  Personally, I loved hearing Martin perform poems I’ve come to know well and I felt my engagement with the story deepening as the show developed.

Quite rightly, ‘Whistle’ was nominated for the Poetry Society’s 2010 Ted Hughes Prize for New Work in Poetry and it demonstrates, in such a humble and understated way,  the potential and the possibility of poetry.

I can’t recommend ‘Whistle’ highly enough and feel privileged to have been able to experience it.

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