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Green Light in the City

Sugar Statues

3 June 11 words: David Millington
In her one-woman show, Krissi Musiol investigates her Polish heritage through a series of partly remembered, partly imagined stories

Sugar StatuesThe Polish Eagle club is like a church hall but with added chandeliers and coats of arms and makes for an unusual venue for this one woman show, albeit in the familiar environs of Sherwood. This juxtaposition of the commonplace and exotic is continued when writer/performer Krissi Musiol enters in an elaborate white gown, looking like a princess from some Central European fairy story but she soon brings us back into the present with her solidly northern English vowels.

Her show uses a journey across Europe as a jumping off point for a series of partly remembered, partly imagined stories as Musiol investigates her baker grandfather’s history, his cultural dislocation, loss of identity and through him her Polish heritage. This intensely personal exploration is undertaken via a mixture of poem, story, the use of found objects and props, with a little singing and dancing.

I felt that some elements of the journey worked better than others. The stories of Musiol’s grandfather defeating the dragon and of the 24 statues of Anna had the satisfying strangeness and resonance of folk-tales. I also found the re-occurring theme of him having lost his voice and having to communicate with a notepad, brought to the audience by overheard projection, to be both funny and moving. Other elements were harder to follow and didn’t seem to add as much to the piece. I felt that the many and varied elements lacked an overall unity.

The staging of the show was not ideal, with the audience sat at the same level as the performer. This meant that some of the action was missed, particularly the laying out of a map on the floor which for those beyond the front row was lost. This was hardly the fault of the performer though, who remained engaging throughout the show.

To continue with the artist’s own bakery metaphors, Krissi Musiol has created a rather dense cake with a few too many flavours. A simpler and more focussed recipe might give us something that’s lighter and easier to digest. As it stands, it’s an ambitious and challenging piece with enough memorable moments for an audience to take away and chew over at their leisure. Another enjoyable NEAT show.


Sugar Statues was performed at the Polish Eagle Club on Thursday 2nd June 2011.

Read all of our NEAT11 festival coverage here.


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