Time Between Times Storytelling with Owen Staton
If you travel back down through the dusty archives of this blog, you’ll find a review of Mark Rees’ podcast of Welsh ghosts and folklore. And if you sweep away the cobwebs, and open the creaking lid, you’ll see that I have a great love for the rich history of folktales from this great land of song.
Well apologies for that rather purple prose, but this week I am once again reviewing a podcast about Welsh folklore, but this time it’s somewhat different.
So what’s it about?
Whereas the aforementioned podcast by Mark Rees is rooted in his journalistic style, a lot of his stories are from old newspapers and historical documents. Owen Staton has a much more traditional style. That, by the way, is the last comparison I will make.
In each episode, Owen Staton brings folklore and legends to life. Notice I didn’t say “Welsh folklore and legends”. I originally did, but on scrolling through the episode list, I noticed that there are a few English stories thrown into the mix too. I won’t hold that against him though, it is mostly Welsh folktales.
There are some very well known tales told here. The story of Gelert, the tale of Persephone and Hades, and the gunpowder plot. There are also plenty that I have never heard before. There are stories of robbers and wreckers, fairies, ghosts and devils. A lot of them are pleasingly local to where I live too. This makes a nice change. For some reason, the more well known (and well told) folktales are often set in mid and north Wales.
Is it any good?
You can tell Owen has experience as a voice actor. His way of telling these stories is captivating. Almost as soon as he had started on the first episode, I knew that I was going to love this series. Not just because it’s about folklore, or because I am also Welsh, but because it is simply brilliant.
His style of storytelling is dramatic, yet considered. He’s not raising his voice just because he likes to shout, it’s because it will add drama. His voice actually reminds me of another great Welsh Owen, Owen Teale. The voices he gives the characters are very good too, particularly Iago, who every time he appears makes me smile.
If I am going to really nitpick, then I would say that the title music, particularly the ending, is too loud. Not that I would listen to this to go to sleep, but if I did, then the end music would certainly wake me up. There are 140 episodes as I write this, and I’m only on episode 32, so this may have been resolved already. Also, it would be good to have your phone on silent when you record, just to avoid those notification pings in the middle of the stories!
I can’t recommend this show highly enough. Even if you’re not a fan of folklore, the way these stories are told sets them apart from every other similar podcast. They are deliciously creepy, I mean Welsh folklore has created such horrors as The Mari Lwyd and the Gwrach Y Rhibyn, so it wouldn’t be the same if it wasn’t spine chilling.
This is truly one of those occasions that I wish I could go higher than a five brain rating. Taliesin would be proud.
You can get Time Between Times Storytelling here: