Brighton Fringe 2014
The true story of two Texans – who falls in love with a cowgirl riding a giant catfish. His name is Pecos Bill. Raised by coyotes, uses a rattlesnake as a lasso, the greatest cowboy of all time.
This gentle mix of storytelling and music has a quiet elegiac feel to it – not that it doesn’t segue into a more energetic and cartoony mode as Greg Wohead mixes the story of the eponymous Peco Bill, brought up by coyotes and his nervous counterpart , Greg, who finds roller coasters a little too scary for comfort. The accompaniment from Mat Martin, little licks from a quiet banjo, to the sustained harmonics of an ebow on his guitar, is unobtrusive, but absolutely right throughout. This mix of fantasy and autobiography is juxtaposed with images from Texas projected on the back wall – the barbed wire fence and vast flat field, the giant Texan, Big Tex, at Texas State Fair in Dallas – a fifty-five foot manikin that is the ultimate in American kitsch, and interspersed with soft cowboy songs from the hills. It all sounds a bit much in the description, but Pecos Bill works by pulling all these things together in an illuminating narrative of growing up, looking back and the problem of what risks to take when. Greg Wohead has a quiet but resonate voice that gains in vigour when he takes the part of Pecos Bill, quieter when he takes the part of his autobiographical self Greg, so that when the mash-up between the two voices and parts becomes faster and more frequent we can still follow the individual strands with ease.