John Hegley’s Biscuit of Destiny at The Poly
On Friday evening, we ventured down to Falmouth’s cultural hub, The Poly, to see the wonderful John Hegley and his new show: Biscuit of Destiny. It was a great evening full of powerful performance, poetry and storytelling.
Upstairs in Solskinn
Pre-show we headed up the stairs to Solskinn, The Poly’s cosy café-cum-bar, for a drink. There was a joyful atmosphere building as more people joined us for a pre-show beverage, sensing that this was a hotly-anticipated event.
The show opened with John talking us through the first of his hilarious drawings. It was a memory of a scene in his childhood living room in Luton. The drawing featured various family members, including a French Grandmother dressed as a Guillemot, and John himself tucked up in the corner scoffing a fig roll. On stage in the present moment, John picked up his ukulele and began a tongue-in-cheek song telling a frank but playful story of his childhood in Luton. It was at this moment we realised that we were in for a chuckle-inducing treat.
Rate Your Elephant
Featured throughout the show were seven slides of John’s abstract elephant sketches and more tongue-in-cheek story telling. John’s sketches reminded us a little of Quentin Blake’s, though perhaps a little more comedic. In one of many moments of audience participation, much to everyone’s delight, we were called on to vote for our favourite elephant.
Throughout the evening John regularly picked up his Ukelele, calling us to join in on some of his sung poems. Whether that was singing a line, or acting out how a jellyfish swims, he carefully reminded us that participation was not at all mandatory. Although, John hoped that by the end of the show we would feel as if we’d participated, at least emotionally if not physically.
The Biscuit of Destiny
Part way through the evening we were given an explanation for the choice of the name of the show, which often featured the more eccentric parts of romantic poet John Keats’ work. Hegley recalled Keats’ story about meeting a woman in Ireland who was being transported in a sort of mobile kennel. John had recreated the scene with his own pen and paper, drawing a rather miserable looking woman peering out a kennel. John celebrated Keats’ genius use of words to describe her, which was that she “seemed to be suffering from a scarcity of biscuit.” And so the “Biscuit of Destiny” name was born.
An Element of Curing
John Hegley’s latest show, despite it mainly being a great display of British silliness, overall carries a heart-warming message around self-belief. Amongst the laughs and the daftness, John reminded us of the importance of connecting with others and of “sharing nice thoughts”. He even offered a few tips on how to spread love among those we interact with in our daily lives. “Sometimes all it takes is to offer a sherbet lemon”, he said at the end of one song. We all agree that it’s those small acts of kindness and a good laugh together that make life feel a little more simple.
ABOUT THE POLY
Falmouth’s local theatre, archive, cinema and art gallery. Promoting innovative art and education in Cornwall.