By Isabella Fraser
A night of knitting and a cabaret of songs about knitting, this show does exactly what it says on the tin. A one woman show, written and performed by Melanie Gall, a professionally trained opera singer.
A simple set – world war posters on the walls, an old fashioned microphone on a stand – works well as a setting for this show. Everyone has been encouraged to bring their own knitting and crochet, which quickly bonds the audience together: the pumpkins being crocheted by a member of the audience proved a big hit, as did the knitting needle earrings worn by another audience member. There is even ‘spare’ knitting for anyone who wants to knit but does not have anything to hand.
That there are so many knitting songs in existence is quite a surprise. Gall has been researching the songs for years and her interactions with the audience, explaining the history of the songs and why they came about is interesting. Not only does Gall know a lot of detail, but she has a fantastic voice which comes into its own when performing the songs. There is even a brief snippet of opera music to listen to, a powerful reminder of the beauty that the voice can have. The knitting songs themselves are fun and entertaining, although it can be tricky to try and balance watching, listening and knitting to a pattern!
Because the knitting songs were inspired or created during the world wars, there are some fascinating war stories connected to knitting. In particular, listen out for the story about Phyllis Latour, a heroine of the Second World War.
With a couple of songs that the audience can singalong to, this is a fun night out and a fascinating look at the history of knitting, with a smattering of history thrown in.