Blood and Gold @ Scottish Storytelling Centre

Scottish-Kenyan storyteller Mara Menzies builds a fluid world in this exploration of Scotland's relationship with colonialism

Review by Dominic Corr | 14 Aug 2019
  • Blood and Gold @ Scottish Storytelling Centre

Ancient mythology collides with contemporary narrative in an exploration of Scotland’s benefits from and records with colonialism and the slave trade. Scottish-Kenyan storyteller Mara Menzies guides us on a tale many would choose to ignore or fail to recognise the relevance in Blood and Gold

A dying mother does what any other would do in any fairytale; summoning her daughter, she bestows on her three clues to a valuable source of treasure. Things are not what they appear, as the journey progresses, her encounters with the Shadow Man. Succulently laced with allegories, representations and reminders, Blood and Gold unearths the dark foundations of where we find ourselves now.

To describe Blood and Gold as storytelling doesn’t quite do justice to Menzies' ability, it’s closer to world-building. The fluidity is entrancing, as she takes us on a journey of warmth, tragedy and asking us to re-examine our identities and the importance of ritual.

There’s a warmth to Menzies' performance, drawing out much from the crowd as she uses their suggestions to create a deeper connection with her tale. Our favourite foods, fairytales and even our voices become part of the glistening tapestry she weaves.

Pure artistry is at work here; lacking in gimmickry or cultural reference, Blood and Gold is a contemporary telling of an ancient text. Suspicions lie that the nature of the language will cause a drop in focus for occasional viewers, but one cannot but appreciate Menzies’ ability, which is a sight to behold.

Blood and Gold, The Storytelling Centre (Netherbow Theatre), until 26 Aug, £10-12