Feelings and felting entertain audience

Comedian and actor Chris Parker combines his love of felting with storytelling in How I Felt.
Photo: ODT files.
Festival: Chris Parker - How I Felt
Emerson’s Festival Theatre

Sunday, March 21

REVIEWED BY BARBRA FRAME

The stage is brightly lit and there’s a table with many brightly-coloured tufts of some kind of yarn or fibre.

Chris Parker comes on looking breathless with excitement and tells us how, during last year’s lockdown, he took up felting, using kits purchased online and costing as little as $3.

He shows us an image of a cute little rugby bear he’s going to make.

There’s also a rather scary-looking set of instructions.

Screens on either side of the stage allow us to see the process in minute detail.

"Ninety percent of the show," Parker informs us, "is me doing craft."

The actual process of felting looks disappointingly boring, consisting mostly of stabbing those little tufts thousands of times with dangerous-looking needles.

Parker says this was the initial attraction: "All you had to do was stab."

Fortunately there doesn’t seem to be any blood.

To keep us interested, Parker tells us about himself, and how he feels about things that make him stressed and anxious.

He tells us how he feels about different kinds of coffee, and shares his experiences of sibling warfare, ballet lessons (somehow prizes eluded him), therapists and being a wedding MC.

A self-described extrovert, he does this without any trouble at all, keeping the audience engaged and entertained for every minute of the hour-long show.

At the end of the hour, a thumb-sized bear, complete with coal-black eyes and a little pink tutu, has come into existence.

The extent to which it matches the original example, and whether felting looks like a suitable hobby for rational people, is for you decide.

Almost certainly, though, you will have enjoyed Parker’s extravagant storytelling enormously.

 

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