Even the wordplay is susceptible to wordplay in John Hegley: Morning Wordship. The comedian, poet and musician mixes drawings, songs and stories in a winning combination. Hegley's unique creativity seems to guarantee that, if they come along for the ride, the audience will end up seeing the world a little differently by the end.
We skip from a clapping song that makes clapping into a novel experience, to an inexplicably Icelandic version of a picture book, to commentary on drawings of ambiguous animals. Clearly Hegley thrives on being unpredictable. This is a delight, and we’re easily drawn into the photographs and collages that make up the bulk of the show.
The main story is touchingly personal, reframing old photographs of Hegley’s family into a crazy, sofa-based adventure. His storytelling is playful, and his fluid ad-libs incorporate the children's spontaneous comments with ease and to great comic effect. There’s an ease about the whole show in fact, a delicate hammock in which we all sway, enjoying the sights and sounds of a mad journey through pictures and poems. We’re in safe, competent hands from start to finish.
Within all this silliness we glimpse at a poignant core too, with asides about his father’s beautiful paintings, and reflections on whether he focuses too much on himself and not on his sister in the story. Mainly though it’s absurd, with carrot parrots and a duck on a leash. Safe to say that by the end, we’re reluctant to leave this world behind.