Foot-tapping, hand-clapping afternoon fun

Pete Coe: tall tales from a gentle performer

Pete Coe: tall tales from a gentle performer

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Pete Coe

Square Chapel, Halifax

The click and clap of performance, sound and rhythm, rolled us gently into this shared experience.

Above the silent, seated figure of Pete Coe, resided a questioning poker face – our starting point as it were!

A sadly small audience quickly took up the challenge as we slipped inexorably into fun and fascinating stories, told with a smile and received and repeated with laughter: notable in their content for dozens of historic, local and witty references, they were designed to propel grown-ups into amazed reminiscence and little people into giggles and unfettered silliness.

With deftly struck and strummed squeeze-box, banjo and bouzouki, this gentle performer gathered his audience into a foot-tapping, hand-clapping fan club for a wet Sunday afternoon in down-town Halifax.

Shuffling carelessly in his charming and relaxed style between “critters” of the American mid-West to a rat in a submarine, we participated in a spectacularly simple and effective lesson in music and movement – what fun, for everybody!

Relying on choreography, encompassing mime and simple play skills, we developed our story-telling abilities, through observations handed down from previous generations.

A lovely, accompanied journey for all ages, we left with a feeling that we had shared in something to be enjoyed by whole classrooms of children (and adults) with a brilliant nod to the power of performed music and drama.

From mermaids, through diving bells to three little pigs, an afternoon of smiles and enlightenment. Pete Coe should be in the National Curriculum!

Derek Greenwood