“A great pleasure.”
We all know that Middle-earth is in New Zealand but does the Shire have a bookbinder? I hope so, for it seems a time-honored craft worthy of any self-respecting hobbit. Anyhow, this treat of a show comes from Trick of the Light company of Wellington, NZ.
From now on you can forget Tolkien, in fact the old Bookbinder would have you forget the writer and just have you concentrate on getting together the right pages in the right order. If, perish the thought, you start reading them, then you’re in trouble and might get seriously lost in story world; which, of course, is exactly what happens to our young apprentice, who falls down on the job, skimps the last few pages, sticks (‘tips’) them in, and trusts to Fate. She, however, does not give him an easy ride.
Ralph McCubbin Howell is the bearded Bookbinder and tells us the story. There’s just the old man’s voice at work, informed by the occasional kiwi aside, and the solemn turning of the pages of an impressive pop-up book, which the mystery author of the Edinburgh Book Sculptures would love. For me though it is the central conceit, that the world is a book whose fabric needs looking after, that is especially satisfying. Bind the book well, my child, and all will be well!
There’s an anglepoise lamp on the worktable, ink in the water, and an eagle’s nest on a lampshade; all manipulated to ingenious effect. Trick(s) of the light they may be but you – and your children – will find great pleasure in this illuminating tale.
Reviewer: Alan Brown (Seen 8 August)
Go to the ‘Trick of the Light’ company.
Visit the Assembly Roxy archive.