Hit The North
Book Review: Alex Rigg- Mouth to Mouth: Short Stories 1997-2001
Oceanallover’s artistic director Alex Rigg seems allergic to cliché. His site-specific theatre work- whether in performance, costume, music or text- is never about empty sensationalism; he reacts to, and transforms, the spaces around him. The work is unique, often something otherworldly and satirical.
So it is with this collection of his short stories., gorgeously illustrated by Rigg. There’s not a single wasted line; yet nothing feels forced or overworked.
In the main, the tales focus on the metaphysical and physical realms: the enduring pull of human contact, philosophy, nature’s resilience. Much of the landscapes he writes about- Orkney, Dumfries and Glasgow- often feel like secondary characters, pulsing with life, and sometimes ominous portent.
Rigg possesses a lovely lyricism, and has a keen eye for the minutaie of everyday matters. It takes a great writer to make the reader recalibrate the familiar.
It would be churlish to reveal too much in the way of plot, so intriguing is the work, so I shall remain concise as possible.
There’s youthful folly in ‘Warp Factor’ and ‘Aqueous Humours’; and weary adult resignation sighing through ‘Night Times’, ‘Compassion’ and the utterly exasperated ‘Waiting’.
Much of the collection feels allegorical, like the unlikely totem of ‘Goddess’ or a salmon leaping it’s last leap in ‘Faith’, a truly heartbreaking study in fragility.
But gallows humour is never far from the writing too. It’s a visceral, tender and endlessly inventive book.