Helen Keen: The Primitive Methodist Guide to Arctic Survival

* * * *
4 stars

Helen Keen has such enthusiasm and energy. Her style is that of the raconteur. The inspiration for her show is a distant ancestor, a committed Methodist, who sailed from Hull as a crew member on a whaling ship in 1866. He survived despite the ship becoming trapped in frozen ice. This triggered in her highly active mind what might be the rules of survival in polar exploration.

This scenario gives her the scope to delve into the eccentricities of her family background as well as all manner of witticisms based on the stories and accounts of the period, from the naïve to the gruesome. Her use of props is inventive and effective.

She develops a good rapport with the audience. There is a little touch of the Christmas spirit to exemplify the fact that, despite all the privations, celebrating Christmas apparently increases the chances of arctic survival.

Her charm and manner are appealing. Even innuendoes are presented in such an innocent and almost embarrassed way.

Ben

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