Posts Tagged ‘Old Vic Tunnels’

This is the third production in these tunnels under Waterloo Station, but the first under the auspices of the Old Vic. It explores similar territory as the second – a dystopian future world – but not as a promenade performance this time; there’s new (old) raked cinema seating in one of the arches. 

Beth Steel’s play takes us to the north of England in a future world where man-made catastrophes have led to the decline of society. An encampment of ‘security’ is hunting ‘illegals’. They receive regular but limited supplies and news of civil unrest which unnerves them, thinking they might too be attacked. Much more is revealed in the second act, which is the play’s downfall as it provides an imbalance and an irritating obtuseness to the first act which prevents you from fully engaging with the story and the characters. 

However, the staging by Richard Twyman and design by takis are stunning, and there are six fine performances from Gethin Anthony, Sam Hazeldine, Matti Houghton, Dearbhla Molloy, Paul Rattray and Danny Webb. The relentless rumble of trains overhead and the dark dampness of the venue seem part of the experience. 

It confirms this an exciting new venue (though I suspect better for promenade performances than a more conventional seating as here) . On this occasion, installations around the performance space create an appropriate atmosphere and there’s now a cool and quirky bar (though we still have the portaloos!). 

It’s much better than the reviews would have you believe and well worth checking out.

Read Full Post »

This is the inaugural production (if you don’t count Punchdrunk’s secret and impossible to get into Tunnel 228) in the Old Vic Tunnels under Waterloo Station. The space is extraordinarily and makes the London Bridge equivalent seem like a plush theatre! If you go there, however many layers of clothing you plan to wear add another one or two; it’s very damp and seems colder than it is outside.

It’s a promenade production and for once you don’t feel herded by marshalls destroying the effect. Twelve people are detained for reasons we (and they) don’t really understand. Supplies had been sent down but have now dried up. There is no way out. Two factions have learned to co-exist until they clash over a seemingly useless answer phone.

Though overlong at 1 hour 45 mins, it held my attention and even though the story is not explicit, that didn’t seem to matter. I’m not sure it always worked when it steered into ‘movement’ accompanied by music though. There is a sound scape, in addition to the relentless thunder of trains above your head which make the tunnels themselves vibrate, which is key to the production. There are some fine performances, particularly from Christopher Tajah.

If you prepare for the discomfort, the atmosphere of the venue adds much to the experience. This is a very welcome space for experimental work and a very creditable first shot. Well done Delirium and well done Old Vic!

Read Full Post »