BARBARA OF THE HOUSE OF GREBE
A Dramatic Storytelling Show by Marty Ross
– Nottingham Central Library Oct 2nd. 19.00 (Tickets £2)
Great literature comes ALIVE at Nottingham Library as storyteller Marty Ross performs Thomas Hardy’s strangest, darkest love story.
After 5 star reviews and sold-out houses for his show 21st. Century Poe at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe, Scottish (but Nottingham based) live storyteller Marty Ross has come home to bring literature to life in Nottingham Central Library by way of his unique, highly dramatic approach to live storytelling. He will be performing his one man dramatization of Thomas Hardy’s most gothic short story Barbara Of The House Of Grebe. Already performed to considerable success by Ross at Chilwell Arts Theatre in February, as part of his Hardy double bill In Passion’s Shadow, Barbara now makes her solo debut in a performance combining impassioned storytelling, mime and gesture and even an eerie bit of mask work. Those who have seen Ross perform in venues from theatres to libraries to Nottingham’s pubs and cafes know how evocatively he can bring great stories to life. As 3 Weeks said of his Edinburgh show – “what Marty Ross does with some of literature’s most mystical and macabre works is make them sing with new energy and beguile an audience all over again.”
There is a gothic undercurrent running through many of Hardy’s greatest novels, but it is in the short story Barbara Of The House Of Grebe that this element comes to the fore. Hardy always claimed the story was based on the actual history of a Wessex family; let us hope he exaggerated, for the story of Barbara - of her elopement with the commoner she loves, the horrendous injury he suffers, her second marriage to a man she most definitely does not love, and the macabre way this second husband exorcises the ghost of her true love from her mind – is even more tragic and disturbing than anything in his more celebrated novels.
Marty Ross is already well-established as a playwright with a long string of dramas for BBC radio, encompassing everything from the Scottish ghost stories of The Darker Side Of The Border to the science fiction of Ghost Zone to the Shakespearean black comedy of last year’s Rough Magick to the Russian drama of Lady Macbeth Of Mtsensk, due to be broadcast on Radio 4 on Oct 4th. He has also written Doctor Who and award-nominated Dark Shadows audio drama. But communicating a story directly to an audience through live storytelling remains a great passion, as attested by his Edinburgh reviews:
“Ross is a master craftsman who never turns down the pressure… insanely good storytelling.” – Broadway Baby (*****)
“Marty Ross is a compelling narrator and onstage presence… it is the utter conviction with which Ross performs that draws you into his world.” – Fringe Review
“Ross has a great aptitude for suspense and terror.” – The Scotsman