Georgia Straight: “Bookworm Is A Gift”

 

Vancouver Fringe Fest review: Bookworm is a gift

By Kathleen Oliver, September 6, 2012

 

What a gift. In this one-man show, immaculately dramaturged by TJ Dawe and deftly directed by Morgan Jones Phillips, writer-performer Corin Raymond recalls a childhood surrounded by his father’s books, which offered comfort, reassurance, and escape from unusually lonely circumstances. He praises his dad’s storytelling for its well-chosen details, a skill the younger Raymond shares: a Twilight Zone character has “hair like busted couch stuffing”; Spider-Man is “the Charlie Brown of superheroes”. Raymond has impeccable timing, and his performance is at once intimate, openhearted, and evangelical: “Reading aloud to someone is a way to cross souls,” he effuses, making you ache to return to your favourite books, recite poems from memory, and read aloud to someone you love.

At Havana on September 6 (7:30 p.m.), 8 (3:30 p.m.), 9 (8:45 p.m.), 10 (7:45 p.m.), 14 (6:30 p.m.), 15 (1:45 p.m.), and 16 (2:45 p.m.).


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The Marble

 

 

BOOKWORM – Matt’s Review

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.

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4.5 STARS from Victoria Times-Colonist

 

 

 

Published Wednesday, August 29 2012. reviewed by Adrian Chamberlain.

Times Colonist reviewers Amy Smart, Adrian Chamberlain and Cory Ruf are covering the Victoria Fringe Theatre Festival, running to Sunday. All critiques use a five-star grading system.

What: Bookworm

Where: Fairfield Hall, 1303 Fairfield Rd.

When: Today, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Rating: 4 1/2

Corin Raymond has created a love letter to literature that’s destined to be a hit of the Fringe.

Bookworm is a one-man show about Raymond’s life-long adoration of books. He’s the son of a die-hard bibliophile, a teacher and scholar who collected 15,000 volumes. There’s something touching about Raymond’s descriptions of how his father endeavoured to kindle a love of books within his son. Long car trips, for instance, were whiled away with the telling of Greek myths.

This sparked Raymond’s lifetime passion for books – particularly Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes, a novel he gives away to friends with a missionary’s zeal.

The road to book-loving wasn’t always smooth. His father despaired when Raymond entered a hard-core comic-book phase. And his dad despaired when his son dropped out of high school – an unthinkable thing for a man in love with education.

Yet through it all, Raymond revelled in the world of literature. Dramaturged by fringe theatre hero T.J. Dawe, Bookworm is a lovely, heartfelt offering.

- AC 

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CFUV @ Victoria Fringe Review & Interview

 

On my way to the opening of Corin Raymond’s Bookworm, I started thinking about my relationship to books. You see, I’m a non-fiction reader. I have read hundreds of academic articles and news clippings. I’ve read biographies, natural sciences books and social science books. I mean, I was even named after a news reporter.

When the show started and Corin Raymond began mentioning all these books I had never read, my heart sank. Was I going to understand the literary references? How was I going to write a review?

My worries didn’t last long. With an impeccable delivery Raymond shared story after story from his life. And while Bookworm is about books, the show centered on Raymond’s relationship with his father. Listening to how Raymond’s father used his love of books to parent, I was reminded of the beauty of people connecting with each other through shared passions.

I suggest you check out Bookworm. Raymond’s way of connecting with the audience is remarkable, and he will generously share his prized personal and fictional stories with you.

I admit my focus started to drift about three quarters of the way through the show, but the final twist drew me back in. By the end of the performance there were a few tears in the audience.

I highly recommend Bookworm. To learn more about performer and singer-songwriter Corin Raymond visit www.dontspendithoney.com.

-Robyn

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“TOUCHED MY HEART”

Corin – the show I saw in Edmonton touched my heart. I am a former secondary school language arts teacher – not the kind who kicked a kid out of class for reading the “wrong book”! In the 1980s, when I taught junior high, I shared my love of Ray Bradbury with my grade 7 students. His writing inspired them to create their own writing using figurative language. We sent a letter to Bradbury, the students sharing their favorite example of the figurative language that Bradbury had inspired them to write. Months later, when these students were already in grade 8, I received a bright yellow index card, adorned with Alice in Wonderland stickers, from Ray Bradbury, signed in silver flow pen. He said he was honored to have inspired such writing in my students. Wow! I still have that bright yellow card…..

Pamela Young saw Bookworm at the Edmonton Fringe, submitted via our reviews page on August 28 2012.

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Review from CVV Magazine

Reviewed by John Threlfall , August 25-28 2012

The best compliment I can think of to give Corin Raymond’s charming and utterly engaging Bookworm is that it’s like being read to for an hour by a guy who’s totally passionate about the story he’s reading—which is exactly what Bookworm is. An ode to books and the people who love them, Raymond cleverly mixes everyday autobiography with an inherited love of what lies between the covers of his favourite books; and while there is a great surprise waiting in the final minutes of the show, it isn’t the crux of the show—Raymond’s own passion is.

Although he admits to being a musician first, Raymond is an entrancing storyteller and his well-woven tale (dramaturged by local Fringe favourite TJ Dawe) hooks you from the get-go, thanks to a well-placed and cleverly echoed quote from Ray Bradbury, who looms large in this tale. Neither overly theatrical nor cloyingly sentimental, much of Bookworm’s charm comes from its very simplicity; with a natural physicality that was likely only tweaked by director Morgan Jones Phillips, Raymond pulls us in and connects with his audience in a way many performers try, but few succeed. Rarely have I seen so many knowing nods or emotive sounds come from an audience.

Much like the well-worn paperback you pick up for a buck and then give away to friends, Bookworm is the kind of show you want to share with everyone you know. Every local bookstore owner or worker, book club member or solo lover of the printed word—be it fiction, poetry, history or comic books—must see this memorable production. (Alas, however, unlike a book you get to keep, Bookworm can only be appreciated live; such is the ephemeral magic of theatre.)

A true story told with passion and grace, Bookworm is for anyone who loves to read, and re-read, beloved books. Really, don’t miss this one.

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“I can’t imagine a better show for a bookworm”

I saw your show in Edmonton, and LOVED it! Reading books out loud as a way of connecting souls? You’re absolutely right – I will always remember being read “The Little Prince” during a whirlwind summer romance (one of my fondest memories). The only novels I’ve read more than once are those by Milan Kundera (every. single. one.). But I will always have a soft spot for “Lord of the Flies,” because it was the first book which made me realize that not all books have to be “happy stories.” And as a kid whose life wasn’t always a happy story, I appreciated its honesty. Thanks for your wonderful performance. I can’t imagine a better show for a bookworm.

Corinne (yes, seriously.) saw Bookworm at the Edmonton Fringe, submitted via our reviews page on August 27 2012.

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“So many books, so little time.”

I’ve always been a pretty prolific reader but Corin makes me feel like a neophyte – but an enthusiastic neophyte who wants to read, read and read some more! So many books, so little time. Thank you for planting many new book seeds in my brain.

Cathy Fontaine saw Bookworm at the Edmonton Fringe, submitted via our reviews page on August 21 2012.

 

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Four Suns from Edmonton Sun

BY COLIN MACLEAN, EDMONTON SUN
TUESDAY, AUGUST 21, 2012

VENUE 37 – Strathcona Library

Corin Raymond grew up in a library. Actually, it was his father’s house but dad was a teacher by profession and bibliophile by obsession. His entire house was one big book repository. And he passed his love of books down to his son, mostly on long motor trips through the wilds of northern Ontario where his father would tell him the centuries old tales of Greek mythology. He would also read him stories at night acting out the characters. Observes Raymond, “My father was a teacher by day but a secret actor at night. The luckiest of secret actors have kids to read to.”

In his one-man show, Bookworm, Raymond comes out on the (blessedly air conditioned) stage of the Strathcona library with a water bottle and a stack of books. And that’s all he needs. He had me at his first reading, a few words from the prologue of Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes. Bradbury has long been my favourite author.

The rest of the hour is powered by the man’s warmth and wit. Bookworm is no lecture. His love of reading is threaded through his (sometimes difficult) life with his family; the heartbreak of losing a mother (two of them actually), of not finishing high school and breaking his beloved father’s heart and forging a successful career as a singer/songwriter. And always there were the books — from the classics to the comics. He stoutly defends the artistic merit of comics, even that poor loser Spiderman, who has to wash his own super garments in his small apartment. “Good books have souls and the people in them have souls,” he muses.

Raymond is a natural storyteller who lowers his voice in particularly dramatic parts drawing the audience in. He’s pleasant and accessible, occasionally speaking in the cadences of a man used to talking to musicians. He’s like the guy you might meet in a bookstore on a rainy afternoon, that wants to talk books. His monologue has been dramaturged and co-directed by the master of the spoken Fringe autobiography, T. J. Dawe and his fingerprints are all over it. But it is Raymond’s show and he makes the hour his own.

He ends his hour the same way he begins it, only this time he performs, with passion and intelligence, the entire (short) prologue of Something Wicked This Way Comes. Magic.

Four suns.

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4 Stars from Vue Weekly

 

 

 

 

By Samantha Power, August 20 2012

Some storytellers leave you gaping, forgetful of your surroundings and only wanting more. Corin Raymond is this storyteller. He is the man who is passionate about the pronunciation of Roald Dahl’s Grand High Witch’s speech pattern. He can recount the tale of Theseus from memory, in detail and will freely admit to memorizing the opening lines of his favourite book. And while it would be possible to simply sit and listen to Raymond tell the tales of ancient Greece, Bookworm also manages to convey the cross-generational influences and complex relationship between a father and son. It’s well-paced, well-performed and will have you heading to the first bookstore as you leave the theatre while calling your dad to say hey.

 

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