Tag Archives: culture

SPACED 2014 by Theatre Delicatessen

Lately, I’ve discovered an idea referred to as a ‘Theatre Souk’ – a series of bitesize pieces of immersive theatre that the audience members must barter, beg and steal from the performers. Being a bit of a drama llama I had to go and see this for myself, and luckily the wonderful Theatre Delicatessen was staging a week long theatre festival in the old BBC Radio building in Marylebone. Hard to imagine a better venue, with the basement and the bottom floor dedicated to the artists, performers and theatre groups whims and wants. And there was a bar.

Everything is better with a bar. Except perhaps Lamaze classes. 

I didn’t know what to expect, and honestly I’m not sure where else I would find a woman dressed as a black hole pouncing on people, a man disco dancing and throwing glitter at passers by, a boxing ring in which a dragon, a bear and a fairy in his underpants stropped, swore, kissed and punched in a fight dictated by the spectators bids or a scientist in a lab coat handing out computer chips as tickets to the end of the world. Phew, that was a long sentence.

The performers had gone out of their way creatively, each little performance space was so different from the others and the performances themselves were so wild and random – yet all stemming from one initial question: ‘Is it worth it?’

What was particularly wonderful, however, was the opportunity this festival afforded the artists; they were given seed money and guidance in putting together their pieces. Given the immersive theatre aspect, they were all skilled in improvisation and there were times when you weren’t sure where the character ended and the person began.

Hmm, I’m sounding a tad pretentious now. 

Any way, sadly, due to a safety issue the building had to be evacuated and I didn’t get to experience everything, which was a crying shame. Despite this, what I saw was inspiring, fascinating, and very, very different – as well as fun, which is a rare mix these days. The SPACED 2014 festival is done for now, but I would look out for further Theatre Delicatessen offerings in the future…for now they’re running Heist, also in Marylebone, offering the opportunity for you to take part in your own – you guessed it – Heist. 


Image from http://www.theatredelicatessen.com/spaced2014/



Japanese Matsuri Festival

Forgive me for being pretty late in this post. Between a variety of stress including, but not limited to, a dissertation that is making me want to bang my head against a brick wall – I’ve let this slide somewhat. Any how this festival happened 2 weeks ago, but I figure you guys aren’t too pernickety.

Right? Right?!

Any how, its a big old shindig in Trafalgar Square to celebrate all things Japanese – from sushi to martial arts to music to anime to…well, you get the picture. Only been going for 2 years but already a big deal, and worth going to even for the atmosphere.

I only got there around 5 or 6 having worked all day, so unfortunately I missed a lot of the displays. Wasn’t bad though, arrived just in time for a very lovely sunset:


And I wasn’t too late to stuff my face with raw fish and ice cream (not together. That would be weird.) and listen to some very restful music. 


Photo of the sushi bento box, and my friend’s hand. She was eager to get on with soy saucing this bad boy up. I got this for £4. £4! For SUSHI?! This is unheard of. Big variety, very filling, and the first time I’ve ever eaten raw squid (odd texture. I recommend sticking to calamaris if you’re a squid fan. Although to be honest I don’t think I’ll ever get over being tricked into thinking a calamaris was an onion ring. Cue nasty surprise.) Any how beautifully made, and surprisingly very filling! 

On we went to nosey at an anime wall…drawing thing?


POKEMON. I grew up wishing I could BE a pokemon. I have Japan to thank for that. 

Ahem. Any way, from food stall to food stall we went. I had green tea ice cream (no photo but it wasn’t that interesting to look at. If I could share ‘taste’ on here I would. But I can’t.) and this pancake thing with this saucy thing in the middle that was apparently Japanese – unfortunately I can’t remember the name. OH I CAN. DORAYAKI. 

It’s Dorayaki. 

There was a large stage, much like for Chinese New Year, where a variety of acts gave us a taste of different elements of Japanese culture. When we were there it was classic music, but there’d been a range throughout the day…


(That isn’t a picture of the stage. It’s just lots of people in Trafalgar Square. The stage was in the opposite direction but unfortunately as it got darker it got harder to get a decent photo. Hopefully this one will do instead.) 

Next year I hope to return earlier in order to catch more of the celebration. I can only see it getting bigger to be honest, and it inspired me to…wait for it…


But…y’know, not right now. Although that would be cool. 

Any way I have lots more to ramble on at you guys about, including a pub with tasty cider and another pub with a free cinema underneath it. And BEANBAGS. 

Hope you’re all plodding along okay. I must now go and try to stop my housemate’s dog crawling under my bed and getting stuck again. He just doesn’t seem to learn. 

Streatham Restaurant #4: Addome

Final restaurant – we were too full to continue! We headed here, right up next to Streatham Hill, for our final taster meal.

They were small and very busy, so we had to take it to go, although they did allow us to sit down for ten minutes whilst we waited for them to prepare it. It seemed to be family run, quite quaint – unusual for a London Italian restaurant; most of them are run by chains at this point. 

Small tables, a little cramped but if one has good company you don’t notice the rest! We were only there briefly, but the food that we ate once we got back was delicious…

The course was: Trio of Neapolitan Bruschetta. Fancy, right?


Excuse the brightly coloured plate. But it was tasty, tangy…and well, I dunno what else to say about Bruschetta!

Any way this brings the Streatham Food Festival series to an end. This week, I have an induction to work at a large supermarket and an ear infection unfortunately! Have you guys got anything fun planned? 

English National Opera: Medea

Last night, whilst many of my cohorts were out partying and getting trashed (not that I’m above that), I put on my nicest frock, and me and my other half went to the opera. 

It’s fun to be snobby and do cultural, sophisticated things from time to time. Especially in London. When you live in the culture capital of…well, I was going to say the UK, but I’d say Europe. Actually, probably the world, but that’s a bold statement. Hell, I’ll make it any way. When you live in the culture capital of the world, it would be a shame not to take full advantage of it. 

So we got to the London Coliseum, smack bang in the middle of theatre land and home of the English National Opera. I was pretty excited by this point, I’d only been to an opera once when I was younger. I saw The Marriage Of Figaro on the TV, and loved it so much I begged my family to take me when I saw it was on at the Theatre Royal, Newcastle. And it was fabulous. There were people wearing cravats for heaven’s sake. 

So I had high hopes. We climbed up all the stairs; by the time we reached the top we were breathless and perhaps looking considerably less sophisticated huffing and puffing about the place than when we first arrived. Got the mandatory program and some opera glasses. Mini binoculars in a bag, but I love my random, novelty shizz and we thought they’d be handy sitting up in the gallery. 

Just a side note, you can get cheap tickets to the gallery for about 19 quid on a Monday or Tuesday for some shows. We went last night as we like to do stuff like this on a weekend but, if you’re up for it it’s worth doing. The only full time opera company in Britain, they’re good at what they do…

We each got a Peroni beer in the theatre bar, but the 5 minute curtain call bell was jingling (the most ugly noise you will ever hear) before we were even half way through them. Now I have a motto. Leave no beer behind. So we downed it, perhaps not giving off the refined impression we were going for, and took our seats.

Now, I have to say, they are not the most comfortable seats. If you’re tall, you’ll have to more or less fold yourself up like an Ikea flat pack to fit into them. They’re less than a foot wide so you feel more perched than actually sitting, and the rows are very narrow so even my knees were against the seat in front…and I’m only 5″4. 

Perhaps if you’re willing to invest more money for some comfort, it might be worth getting a seat further down, perhaps in the Grand Circle or Stalls.

Any way, Medea began. For those who don’t know the story, it’s a Greek play (hey, stay with me here), about a sorceress, whose lover – Jason – betrays her with another woman, lies to her face, and leaves her to be banished by the King, Creon, and forced away from her children. So she goes ‘oh no he didnnn’t’, summons the demons of hell and more or less destroys everyone and everything before riding off into Hades with them. Now that, my friends, is a perfect example of ‘Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned’.

Now, I loved it. The music was phenomenal. Acting was fantastic. Interestingly, it was set in a kind of world war I situation…although some of the costume choices did confuse me. One example being a pair of the monsters that she calls up from Hell…that are bald men, painted entirely red and wearing her costume…a reasonably tight, black dress and black heels. 

Still not sure what the symbolism of that was. But perhaps I’m just being a tad thick. 

The relationship between Creusa (Jason’s mistress and the princess – not Medea’s favourite person) and her father is very odd, but then I suppose Greek plays could be like that sometimes. And no I don’t care to elaborate, I’m sure you can glean what I’m on about!

All in all, a very worthy evening. It did go on quite a long time, and there were certain points of choreography that I felt could have been done better…but y’know. I’m no dancer. They all would have wound up doing the macarena or something if I’d been in charge.

It was nice to do something different, to really experience something. I would definitely recommend visiting one of their productions, if you ever get the chance. For the music, if nothing else.