Review: Common Salt

(written for The Learned Pig magazine)

This is an instrument I have never seen before. A slender dark wooden box, one side opening to become a bellow, pushed back and forth in a solemn rhythm by the hand of the performer. It emits an uncompromising, steady monotone drone, which accompanies a sombre and melancholic chant: ‘This is a la……-ment’.

Common Salt is a self-styled ‘show-and-tell’; it moves somewhere between theatre, performance art, and story-telling. Two performers – Sue Palmer and Sheila Ghelani – stand at one end of a table covered in a grey cloth, with audience seated in a semi-circle around the other end. As the performance goes on, the table top becomes gradually covered in objects, precisely (and sometimes playfully imprecisely) added to illustrate a series of interlocking stories.

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