Tag Archives: theatre

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. 

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

 

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I Found My Mojo

I’m afraid that title is a shameless pun, because not only did I find my mojo, I was lucky enough to see a play: funnily enough, called Mojo. 

With a sparkling cast list including Rupert Grint (yes, Ron Weasley for the Potter fans out there), Colin Morgan and Brendan Coyle from the universally loved Downton Abbey – to be honest, the play could have been dreadful and I’d probably still just have basked in their amazing…ness? Aura? 

I don’t know. But I’d have been basking.

Luckily, the play wasn’t awful. It won the Olivier aware for best new comedy, admittedly back when it was new – but the comedy was no less fresh than I imagine it was back then. Dark, hilarious and poignant – often all simultaneously – it was hard to tear your eyes away; but easily the best performance came from Ben Whishaw as Baby. 

A deeply disturbed, abused, scary and unpleasant character, he played the role with a certain amount of vulnerability that left the audience both loathing and pitying him. The play, despite its comical ambition, could also be seen as a study of his psyche as well as – as Billington wrote in his review in The Guardian – ‘a critique of a patriarchal world in which men talk big in order to disguise their loneliness, panic and fear of emotional contact.’

Sometimes the lack of set movement can become slightly claustrophobic admittedly, however one can’t help but think that that’s probably the point – given that this group of men has more or less become trapped inside the club they work in after the owner’s brutal murder (he’s found in two bins.)

Given the language and the sometimes coarse humour, it’s perhaps not a play for the faint hearted – but without this, the dialogue would be liking the sharp fizz and crack it so effortlessly conjures. 

Overall, whilst funny, this play had a much deeper message to it, backed up with loud 50s rock ‘n’ roll music and a certain amount of dancing. The run ends on the 6th February; if you can, I would suggest you run to grab a seat…its definitely worth a watch. Even if just to watch Ron Weasley spout very rude words and play at being a gangster. That’s entertainment in itself. 

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Suda, The Woman in Black and Cellar Door…phew

Firstly, we went to Suda, a gorgeous Thai restaurant right by Covent Garden (I know, I’ve been lurking around there a lot lately…)…and I can’t compliment this place enough. The staff were very attentive – my other half made a reservation and asked for a table by the window, they remembered and placed us with a nice view over the Christmas lights in the courtyard. They would check up on us as the night went on, and were very friendly and polite.

Now the food. Oh the food. It was amazing. Beautifully presented, delicious, and just the right amount. We shared duck wraps in sweet chilli sauce, and I ventured on to having tenderloin beef with pak choi and mushrooms, and jasmine rice, whilst my better half had grilled salmon with chilli rice and vegetable rolls.

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The drinks were fantastic too, I had a Siam Colada – which was actually more refreshing than any pina colada I’ve ever had, and she drank a Thai Kick – basically a Caipirinha with a twist of ginger and chilli. Delicious but be warned it’s very hot!
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Excuse all the photos but it really was a beautiful place. Not too expensive for how good the food was either, although the cocktails were quite pricey frankly they are anywhere you go in London…I would definitely, definitely recommend this place for a delicious meal and good atmosphere…its the best Thai restaurant I’ve ever been to in London – and I have been to a few.

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Next it was on to the Woman in Black…one of my favourite plays. It’s truly terrifying, I saw several people spill drinks over themselves in fright throughout the show (not me. Ahem…) but there are – despite this – one or two slightly comical bits as well between the 2 characters. You can get affordable tickets, and even though they’re at the back its in quite a small theatre so frankly they’re actually good seats…in larger theatres when you’re seated at the tops sometimes the actors may as well be ants for all you can see – but in the Fortune Theatre the view is still excellent. So that is well worth going to. Frankly its scarier than the book, or in my opinion the film, but you can make your own mind up! I do love the theatre so I may be biased.

Finally we headed to Cellar Door, the burlesque club I’ve been promising! We did try on Friday night but due to our youthful faces were kicked out as unfortunately we forgot our IDs…(I’m nearly 21 and keep getting lulled into a false sense of security of not being IDed, then BAM when I least expect it, most want to get in and don’t have my license they throw it out there…sod’s law really.) But try, try and try again so this time with ID and a big smile on our faces we returned, much to the doorman’s suspicion as he recognised us both. Once inside it was very crowded, being a converted Victorian toilet – supposedly the hang out of Oscar Wilde, they claim. So pretty glamorous for a converted loo! Every night they have free acts from 9pm onwards, including a drag DJ, burlesque, a magician, cabaret…its varied to say the least. They have a huge menu of cocktails and drinks – I tried the Starbucks Must Die, a house cocktail containing their own vanilla vodka, espresso, kahlua and cognac – all shaken together and served in a tea cup with espresso beans on top…Really tasty, honestly it was pretty pricey as well but its nice to find somewhere hidden almost…I’ve walked past it so many times assuming it was a loo or entrance to a subway…so that was a good surprise! And its probably the cheapest burlesque or cabaret one would ever get to see in London…also they sell snuff. Just throwing that out there, not many places do any more!

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Square Meal