Fighting off exhaustion from an especially long workday and what has been a pretty rigorous review schedule, the moment I sat down for Bookworm my eyes began to droop. I was convinced I wasn’t going to make it five minutes. Those five minutes later, I was wide awake and didn’t care if the show ran all night.
You better bet your best pair of boots this was one to remember. Writer/performer Corin Raymond is a natural storyteller with a voice that at times had me tearing up at its overwhelming sincerity. What’s astounding, then, is that a large chunk of the show is simply him describe the plots of all the stories from all the books, comics, myths and Twilight Zone episodes that have served to inspire him. But from these descriptions he spins totally original tales about the personal connections he drew and still draws from them. The way he talks feels just like coming home to relive some of the best (but also a few of the most dangerous) moments that made you who you are.
“This is all my dad’s fault,” confesses Corin of his love for stories, and his descriptions of growing up in the library that was his father’s house suggest little else. Indeed, along with his life-long fascination with the works of author Ray Bradbury, the play is more or less structured against his relationship with his father and the stories he introduced him to. More than that you will have to discover for yourself. I cannot and will not spoil this for you.
Please, I’m begging you to go see this just for how fully Mr. Raymond paints in our imagination the world of his story and the stories within it – each detail, color and emotion. The audience, gasping, laughing and hanging on his every word, were enthralled.
It may be bad form to give so much praise to a show and so little criticism, but so what? At some point you simply have to admit that the thing you are watching is amazing. I don’t want to nit-pick this! I want to see it again, and with my own father, who also showed me the power of words. Like the Greek myths his father loves so much, Bookworm is cathartic and wonderful, and now officially a personal favorite of this year’s festival.