theatre

Slava’s Snow Show

Wednesday, October 24th, 2007 | theatre | No Comments

Yesterday evening I went along to the Theatre Royal to see Slava’s Snow Show. I’d never heard of the show until tickets were bought months back. To be honest I didn’t think about it all that much, it was just a show about clowns. That is until recently when I mentioned it a couple of times to various people. Eyes lit up, there were cries of “oh, that’s an amazing show!” or “I went two evenings last year, I’m going to try for three this year!” OK, I thought, so it’s rather popular then.

I suspect that was my biggest understatement for a while now. I’ve never seen the Theatre Royal so full of people (although I admit I don’t do panto which may well be extraordinarily popular for all I know). I was a little bemused by the quantity of white ticker tape on the floor, but was sure all would be explained shortly. Not only was it explained, it fell in abundance throughout the show and left me finding bits in my clothes until I got home. That’s the kind of snow I like.

It became apparent as soon as the lights dropped and the music started that this was going to be something a little out of the ordinary. The colours are simply amazing, almost blindingly bright against the dark night background. Clowns come on, clowns go off, clowns chase each other, shoot each other with bow and arrows, soak certain members of the audience in water, climb over seats or along the edge of the circle high above the stalls. From the perfectly executed first half, we sink into further involvement on our return from the interval. Clowns are slowly working their way through the audience, falling on elderly ladies, stealing younger ladies and dragging them off stage. It is organised chaos and it is beautiful.

There is the elaborate balanced with the simple, longer stories balanced with fleeting sketches which last seconds yet make the audience burst into laughter. The barriers between audience and clowns are fully broken down at the end, when giant inflated balls are passed back and forth across the theatre. I did feel rather like an ant playing with a beach ball, although it did have the advantage of drying me off from my soaking earlier.

Watching the show is like seeing a fairy story played out before your eyes, a truly magical experience. Amusingly the second clown reminded me of my lovely friend Pete, who is also going to see the show this week. Unfortunately he is terrified of clowns, which I suspect may put a bit of a dampener on his evening, lets hope he manages to come out from hiding behind his hands for long enough to enjoy it.

The only thing I can say is Go See This Show! You will love it.

bargaining

Friday, April 20th, 2007 | sophie, theatre | No Comments

On Wednesday evening Tom & I headed out to the theatre to see The Bargain, a new play by Ian Curteis based on the imagined conversations (i.e. blackmail) that took place between Robert Maxwell and Mother Teresa when she visited London way back in 1988. I’m not really sure what to say about the play, the jokes were fairly obvious, a lot more could have been done with the characters (Maxwell was the typical tyrannical capitalist). Mother Teresa was slightly more interesting, and came off as a cool, hard businesswoman rather than meek and angelic.

It’s not so much that I didn’t like the play (I only gave it a 4), but I’d decided to wear my pointy shoes and they were a little distracting. I mean you do need to make a bit of an effort to look good when you go to the theatre. At least, that what I’ve always been told. So to make up for the fact that I was wearing jeans (I had a minor crisis trying on a number of skirts and failing miserably to like any), pointy heels and a pashmina were my saving graces. Unfortunately my little toes didn’t really agree. They got somewhat squished. And the pashmina? Well apparently that’s just a scarf!

So last night, when all the girls bundled onto the sofa, wine or jasmine tea in hand, it was a great relief to be in a big cozy jumper and slippers. Me, style? But of course! I have a style all of my very own.

faust

Wednesday, March 7th, 2007 | london, theatre | 1 Comment

We got off the tube at Wapping, finding Wapping Lane easily whilst I gulped down the last bit of my prawn and avocado sandwich. Finding number 21 was a little more difficult; we stopped along the road to consult a map that made no difference at all, and giggling we reassured ourselves that it was just a little further along. It was. There, on the right hand side of the road, opposite the Tobacco Dock Pirate Ship, stood 21 Wapping Lane; a sign on the side proclaiming “WARNING: dangerous structure keep out”. With fifteen minutes to go until Group 4 opened the gates and let us in, we wandered about a little, admired the pirate ship and remarked on how the evening and suddenly become somewhat more obscure than a usual trip to the theatre.

At seven they let us in, and we took the long walk around the warehouse to the entrance, clustered into the worn and dusty hallway area before being led down into the dark. Here we caught a brief glimpse of the bar before each being handed out a white mask that covered our faces entirely, then herded into a lift and whisked up to the third floor. At each floor a number of us were shoved out into the darkness and told to be brave before the lift gates slammed shut and the few of us remaining went down to the next. On the first floor we were all out, letting our eyes adjust to the darkness and beginning our adventure.

For three hours we wandered through the dark, over five floors in near silence. We met the old Faust, the young Faust, Mephistopheles, Gretchen, Angels and an Evangelist. We walked through 1950’s diners and bars, through rooms that smelt of musty old fabrics, rooms where white linen hung from the ceiling. There was a corridor of almost complete darkness, lined on each side by candles and statues of the Virgin Mary, black tassels of fabric hanging from the ceiling and noises coming from barely visible rooms on either side. A room entirely filled with racks and racks of what looked like old tape cassette holders led in to another room, pentacle painted on the floor. There were floors filled with pine trees, a fallen church spire on the floor. An attic room that was filled with the scent of lavender and a mannequin hidden in the corner that would make you jump out of your skin.

In between this wandering, we caught glimpses of the story. Followed characters for a short while on their journeys, or watched entire scenes play out. We were all present at the final scene, acted out in the basement and lit by a blue light. We watched as the characters danced, hanging by their arms from the ceiling, or leaping onto cage walls, and still that darkness and near silence.

It was the most exciting play I’ve ever seen, and certainly the most adventurous. Leaving the audience to wander around, finding their own play within the play, being able to follow whichever character they wanted and yet knowing that they would never be able to see the whole story, that other sections were happening elsewhere in the vast building. A truly fantastic night out.

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