Drama and songs fuse in a fresh way for Festival show

Charlie Fink, formerly of Noah and the Whale, who has written the songs for Cover My Tracks.
Charlie Fink, formerly of Noah and the Whale, who has written the songs for Cover My Tracks.

Groove Tube with Jimi McDonnell – tribunegroove@live.ie

‘Gig theatre’ might sound like a strange name, but Cover My Tracks proves that this hybrid can work. Based around a set of songs by former Noah and the Whale front-man, Charlie Fink, this show which weaves theatre with music, will run in An Taibhdhearc Theatre during the Galway International Arts Festival.

Cover My Tracks, a two-hander starring Fink and Jade Anouka, tells the story of a gifted songwriter who sets out to pen a 21st century pop masterpiece, but then disappears without a trace. The music for Cover My Tracks was written by Fink and the dramatic text is the work of award-winning Scottish playwright David Greig. It’s directed by Max Webster, who also oversaw successful adaptations of Roald Dahl’s The Twits and James and the Giant Peach.

Charlie Fink explains how Cover My Tracks got started.

“David, Max and myself were working on [Dr Seuss’] The Lorax,” he says. “I had the very small seed of an idea to do a show that’s an album, but also a storytelling show, based around a missing songwriter who has left behind a group of songs.”

Eighteen months later, Charlie found himself back in London’s Old Vic theatre, presenting his debut solo album in a narrative setting – as an ex-bandmate and lover of the missing songwriter attempts to solve the mystery of her old flame’s disappearance by using clues from his songbook.

In concert, musicians communicate with each other using expressions like ‘come in on the four’ or ‘play this after the bridge,’ but theatre vocabulary is much different.

“It’s true, it’s funny, but I’ve managed to make it through my music career without being very musically literate!” Charlie laughs. “I’ve always been the guy in the band going, ‘can you play the thing where it goes de de de?’  I actually think my vocabulary is more suited to actors than musicians.

“In the band, Tom, the violin player, was the most musical and I sounded like a bit of a philistine when I talked about music.  Fortunately, Jade is also very musical, and there’s a sequence in the show when she plays the guitar and sings a song. So that’s helpful.”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.