Posts Tagged ‘You Me Bum Bum Train’

My review of 2012 takes the form of nine awards. There are none for performances as I find it impossible to choose and invidious to select from so much amazing talent. Here goes:

THEATRICAL EVENT OF THE YEAR – The Olympic Games Opening Ceremony, showing the world Britain at its theatrical best, and Globe to Globe, inviting the world to perform its greatest playwright on his ‘home stage’ – both once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Honourable mention to the The Bomb at the Tricycle, the latest in their deeply rewarding reviews of history, world events and global issues.

MOST EXCITING EVENING OF THE YEAR (or possibly my life!) – You Me Bum Bum Train, the most extraordinary adrenalin rush as you perform in 13 scenes from conducting an orchestra to operating a digger, travelling between them through pipes, holes & chutes.

SOLO SHOW – Mark Thomas’ autobiographical Bravo Figaro, funny and moving in equal measure.

BEST OUTSIDE LONDON – National Theatre of Wales’ CoriolanUs in an aircraft hanger at RAF St. Athan; the other highlight of the World Shakespeare Festival, part of the Cultural Olympiad. Wonderful Town is worthy of mention as the touring musical that really should have come to the West End.

NEW PLAYThis House at the Cottesloe, a play about British politics from 1974 to 1979 that was more enlightening than living through it (by a man who is too young to have lived through it), yet entertaining and funny. Honorable mentions to Red Velvet at the Tricycle, In Basildon at the Royal Court and Last of the Haussmanns & The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightime – both also at the National, which at last found its new writing form.

PLAY REVIVAL – Desire Under the Elms at the Lyric Hammersmith, a stunning revival of an OK play in a year of many gems, amongst which I would single out A Doll’s House at the Young Vic, She Stoops to Conquer at the NT, Philadelphia, Here I Come at the Donmar, Cornelius at the Finborough,Vieux Carre at the King’s Head, A Long Day’s Journey into Night in the West End and both of the radical Julius Caesar’s – the African one for the RSC and the all-female one at the Donmar.

NEW MUSICALA Winter’s Tale at the Landor. The easiest category to call in a very lean year, with Soho Cinders, Daddy Long Legs and Loserville the only other contenders – but that takes nothing away from the gem that Howard Goodall’s show was.

MUSICAL REVIVAL – Sweeney Todd, though this is the toughest category with no less than 10 other contenders – Patience, The Fix and Call Me Madam at the Union, Gay’s the Word & Merrie England at the Finborough, Guys & Dolls Upstairs at the Gatehouse, Curtains at the Landor, Boy Meets Boy at Jermyn Street, Merrily We Roll Along at the Menier, Opera North’s Carousel at the Barbican and another Chichester transfer, Singing in the Rain, in the West End.

TURKEY OF THE YEAR – The NT’s Damned for Despair, though this year there were also a trio of visiting turkeys, all at the Barbican – Big & Small, Nosferatu and Forests – and a pair of site specific turkeys – Babel & The Architects.

2012 will be hard to beat!

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Well, there I was sitting on a bench in a changing room with a swimming cap on listening to coach Ken’s motivational talk 10 minutes before me and my team are to head to the pool for our water polo match thinking ‘what on earth posessed me to come to this?’.

The changing room has been created backstage at the Barbican’s Pit deep in the bowels of the complex. There are eight of us, six women and two men. I’m old enough to have fathered all of them. Ken’s the only one we see, but there’s also a nameless female voice which we hear through headphones in our swimming caps. Still with me?

non zero out’s interactive piece explores teamwork and they seem to have chosen water polo to level the playing field, as it were i.e. no-one is likely to have any experience of it. In addition to listening to Ken’s encouragement we have to participate by revealing things about ourselves (though you can of course make them up) and engaging with our team mates in various bonding exercises. It all lasts for about an hour and if you hang around for a few minutes you get a team photo!

I admire them for trying something different and it does indeed make you think about teamwork. Somewhat bizarrely, as I looked at and talked to the other seven when we were waiting for our photos I did seem to see them as my team (well, I’d decided to wait for the photo after all). It was however, a bit ‘forced’ for me and when you’ve ridden the You Me Bum Bum Train I suspect all other site specific / immersive / interactive theatre is going to seem rather tame.


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