LitFest Review: The Devil’s Violin

A mysterious legend was unveiled on the night of October 20th as part of the superb Chester Literature Festival. The Devil’s Violin, a unique combination of live music and enthralling storytelling, took to the stage to entertain a sold-out audience. Mixing traditions of fairytale and folklore with contemporary humour, pathos, terror and suspense, the dynamic foursome presented an incredible combination of stories known as The Forbidden Door, originally created by author Daniel Morden.

Musicians Sarah Moody, Dylan Fowler and Oliver Wilson-Dickson created the transcendent atmosphere of the tale, whilst chief storyteller Dominic Kelly recounted a thrilling version of the creation of the Earth. From here, we descend to the planet itself to tell the tales of the humans that reside there. The story plays on the most essential moral themes of right and wrong, and the consequences of one’s mistakes, through the sins of curiosity and temptation. Alongside the riveting plot, percussion and a variety of string instruments create a sublime and atmospheric soundtrack to the tale.

The company’s claim to create the “cinema of the mind” is never more apparent than in total darkness, when the scene already set takes flight through music, and the audience’s own imaginations get to work. The second half of the story grew darker and more dynamic than the first, answering that time-old question of why humanity must endure pain and suffering to achieve what they want from life. What results is a beautiful story of the sacrifices made for love, peppered with dark magic and fascinating mythology. I particularly enjoyed seeing the Sun, Moon and the Four Winds brought to life as characters within the plot.

The Devil’s Violin are continuing their tour of the UK after their festival date, and I highly recommend you get to one of their shows if you possibly can. This was by far and above the best storytelling experience I’ve ever seen performed, a unique and truly creative form that’s not to be missed.

For more information on the Chester Literature Festival, visit:

For more on The Devil’s Violin, visit:


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