Undertow Overflow Summerhall
A collaboration between singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Amy Duncan and writer/director Ben Harrison might seem to have come from somewhere out of the blue, but there has obviously been a lot of work and a great deal of thought put in to crafting these performances.
Undertow Overflow – a melding of the title of Amy’s Undercurrents album and Ben’s short story collection Overflow – is an exercise in expansiveness not only for them, but for the audience.
Billed as “an openhearted exploration of the strangeness of human love and loss”, Amy and Ben aim to attract both those who would normally attend gigs and those whose interest lies mainly in the spoken word. And on that basis, they set out to show that it’s the strength of the material and the underlying emotions, rather than the genre, that gets the message across to the listener.
They prove their point rather well. There is considerable empathy between what is on the face of it two very diverse bodies of work; Amy’s quiet, considered approach balances Ben’s more outgoing stage persona, and indeed her musical backing for some of his spoken word pieces provides just the enhancement needed while avoiding any unnecessary embellishment. Her own performance was everything we have come to expect from her, well-crafted songs delivered in a way that holds your attention and has you wishing for more.
While this is a departure for both of them, it succeeds in introducing two potentially different audiences to the work of a performer you might not otherwise have enjoyed. And in light of the response of the audience on the night I was there, I suspect that this has laid the groundwork for future collaborations.