By Catherine Hart

Ancestor Voices is the transcending and historical tale of John Crick and his heritage. It radiates a simple and honest beauty with songs and storytelling.

As we sit in the Refinery for the first show of the evening the rain thumps and thuds on the roof, reverberating throughout the wooden room. It adds another layer to the performance, providing an ambient soundscape that couldn’t have been more fitting if planned.

The story is not only based in Crick’s Kiwi roots, but on his Scottish and Norwegian ancestry as well. This is a commendable aspect to the performance, since a great deal of New Zealanders have an ancestry that expands across the globe. Our history is individual and exponential, and Ancestor Voices reflects this idea successfully.

A favourite moment was having the audience echo a tune back to Crick. It involved us in a heart-warming way as we sung the simple yet nostalgic melody. Crick’s voice was a pleasure to listen to in song and speech, although a touch more projection could have been used throughout.

The design of the show was simple an effective. There was nothing onstage that was superfluous to the action, and every object suited the natural tone of the piece. An especially special aspect to the design was the hand-made, quilted poncho representing a scene of sea, land and sky.

At times it was difficult to differentiate between the characters that Crick was portraying, and for this reason parts of the story were lost. However, watching the performance had an almost trance-like quality with it’s calm words and personal story.

To read more about Ancestor Voices, check out the Nelson Fringe Festival website here.

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