The story starts in a junk shop, otherwise known as a treasure trove of people’s prized possessions. But the shop keeper here categorises his goods not by item (toys, kitchen things, chess sets) but by association: cautious optimism or disappointed dreams. So when a writer turns up seeking a home for Lego accumulated in a quest to inspire himself to write, he ends up swapping it for a whole host of new stories.
Unwanted Objects is (are!) a thing of beauty. Ostensibly a show about these discarded items, interspersed with folksy, poppy, bluesy songs on an acoustic guitar, David Head and Matt Glover manage to fold in a huge amount of life around the edges of the objects on the crowded shelves.
We hear about a pirate ship that shrinks over centuries to a ship in a bottle that sits on an accountant’s shelves. There’s an elegantly monochrome story of a chess set with a single piece missing. A threadbare teddy that sees the whole of a life. A salt cellar outraged that it’s been repeatedly repurposed. And then there’s the object that the perspicacious shop owner picks out for the writer.
This is a charming, captivating production. The script is full of elegantly written fun and heart. Head is an unassuming but delightfully engaging storyteller. Glover’s songs are lovely – gentle, thoughtful and touching. And a tantalising array of objects on shelves behind the performers are lit dimly enough for you not be able to quite make out all the stories they contain.
Objects are just objects, Head reminds us. They’re only so much stuff. But each object is also a reflection of a person and a thing they needed at a particular time to help them make their way in the world. See this show, revel in the love for us silly misguided people with our endless hopes and wistful missteps and then I defy you not to seek out a second-hand shop and wallow in the jumble.