Monday, 13 February 2012

Fairy tales and fairy cakes

Who ate all of granny's cakes?

Are you a fan of fairy tales?  Enjoy circus skills?  Love spending your Saturday night in a dank tunnel?  Then you would have enjoyed Don't Stray From the Path, an interactive theatre piece which took place last week in the tunnels underneath Waterloo station, courtesy of the Old Vic theatre.

It's a truly atmospheric venue, authentic with London grime and smothered with decades of graffiti as you near the entrance.  It was owned by British Rail until very recently, and it shows: the dimly lit corridors are still occupied with cogs and things that go whirr, the rumbling echo of a train occasionally passing overhead.  There's an unexpectedly cosy industrial-style bar space, but their limited bar didn't run to my favourite rum so we didn't stop for a drink.

Although this performance was for a few nights only the venue is open for other events until September so there's plenty of time to have a look.  I felt a bit mixed about this piece.  There were some original bits of set dressing that suited the rough-and-ready style, and the psychosexual edge to the narrative stopped the fairytale elements from drifting into chintziness.  However, there were also some staging issues with moving the audience around the space and some parts of the production felt disjointed to me, as if they were from entirely different pieces.  Still, it's amazing what they achieved in just 4 weeks prep time, so well done to them.

Oh, the wide eyed girl above was collecting cakes for granny from the audience - but gobbled them all up!  Greedy guts.

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