It follows that if reading books is an activity that taps into our imaginations, then there’s every good reason to expect that inspired energy to spill into other aspects of our lives.
And so it is with Turning The Page, a new production by Adelaide’s musical entertainment stalwart, Emma Knights.
The premise for this one-woman show is that Emma’s love of reading has drawn her close to not only the stories and characters created by authors, but also to the comments and reflections readers scribble in the margins of their books; pockets of thoughtful treasure for secondhand bookshop tragics.
For Emma, she has taken words, phrases, or sentiments from various books that have affected her, and woven those creative ingredients into new songs.
This show works because Emma is an astute reader and observer, she has the technical music and composition chops, and she knows how to craft pleasing and sometimes infectious melodies.
In many ways, Turning The Page is like a session spent alone with a book. The sensory focus on Emma and her keyboard/piano keeps distraction away, and there’s anticipation about what new delight is awaiting when each page has been finished.
Knights has an endearing stage presence and a natural poise when conducting her show and tell between each song; yes, she is surrounded by books that are gradually revealed as the show progresses.
While most songs from this production would stand alone outside the context of the show, some highlights included the song inspired by Anne Of Green Gables (this song was particularly noteworthy with its melody and phrasing lending it an epic, almost cinematic, feel), The Lord Of The Rings/The Hobbit, and Matt Haig’s Notes On A Nervous Planet.
The only challenge with last night’s performance was the venue, Hey George, in Goodwood. The hard walls created a brittle acoustic atmosphere and the noisy compressor of the dessert fridge rattled into distracting service for large swathes of show time. Perhaps the fridge might be turned off during quiet, intimate performances like these? The next venue, at the time of writing, Orchard Bookshop, is likely to have no dessert fridge and the books might help nurture a kinder soundscape.
Turning The Page is a show for thinkers, readers, and song lovers and once it starts you won’t want to put it down until the end.