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/