Posts Tagged ‘Roundhouse’

Mini-review – Playing Cards 1: Spades – Robert LePage at the Roundhouse

February 22, 2013

I have got a problem. I keep getting Robert LePage and Robert Wilson confused with each other. Embarrassingly, I also get Robert Anton Wilson and sometimes Robert Plant muddled together with them into into one giant Robert, writer of the Illuminati trilogy, groundbreaking set designer, famous director, and inspiration for two generation of metalheads.

Unfortunately, I think there’s really only one of them that I really like, and that’s the author. I went to see Playing Cards: Spades at the Roundhouse because I thought I was going to see something by Robert Wilson (since I admired the set work for Einstein on the Beach even if I thought it was slow and dull); instead, it was by the irritating French director who’s really well known but who I’ve found rather unforgivably self indulgent. Playing Cards: Spades represented what I saw as a nadir of his work (not that I have enough to judge it by): an overly long night of technical perfection (including flawless performances) utterly lacking in motive force and emotive power. It was exactly the kind of evening I avoid in either theatrical or cinematic form: too many stories supposedly linked together by the fact that the characters will, at some point, cross each other’s paths (easy enough in a Las Vegas hotel), sassed up with a little sex, a lot of violence, a couple of buckets of humiliation, and a bonus visit from the devil a la Don Giovanni. Yeah, at the end there was a really awesome smoke tornado – the first time I’d ever seen such a thing – but after having been in the theater for two hours and twenty-five minutes, I was beyond caring.

Bonus: front row seats were £15, only 10% of the view was blocked, and you can get up and go pee whenever you want. Negative: two and a half hours of my life are worth more than £15, but you may feel differently.

(This review is for a performance that took place on Thursday, February 21st, 2013. It continues through March 2nd.)

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Mini-review – Fuerzabruta – Roundhouse

January 20, 2013

Well, it’s the new year, and time for me to try a few new things, in this case letting a friend pick out a show for me. The show in point was Fuerzabruta at the Roundhouse, and I hadn’t managed to find out much about it beforehand other than it was physical theater and fairly short. The short thing was very important for me these days because my health has been very poor and my energy levels are struggling; however, I didn’t realize that actually I would have to spend all of the 70 or so minutes of the show standing. I was also quite surprised at the ticket price, nearly forty quid with no discounts to be found anywhere – in fact, the opposite, as the show was substantially sold out and I nearly missed out on going! All I basically knew was that it was a group from Argentina (this may or may not be true) that was here a few years ago and had sold out most of their shows then, so my friend was very determined to go, and I figured, hey, how often to people invite me out, and while the price was really too high, I was willing to go along knowing I wouldn’t be there for too long.

Aaaand … now I’m looking at the pull quotes on the website and wondering, did I even see the same show? While Fuerzabruta did succeed in creating spectacle, it did it in a world entirely populated by white people who had no desire to retain their hearing into their old age and little concept of photosensitivity. I’m fortunately not one to pass out due to an excess of flashy lights, but I’m also very aware when they’re being used and also that one of their purposes is to “wow” the audience (ditto with bright lights pointed at the audience). Similarly, very loud noise (i.e. the drumming that opened the show) and movement control (being told to go to other places to stand so things could happen as bits of stage moved in and out) is also very emotive … but it’s not stuff that gets to me anymore.

So that leaves us with the “content” of Fuerzabruta. Was it about the horrible soul killing nature of modern office work (very relevant to a London crowd, I’d imagine), about people’s desire to reach out to one another and make a real connection, or really anything at all? I can’t help but think it was not. So while it made a big shiny impact what with people running around sideways on shiny mylar walls while green and purple lights reflected off of them, or when a guy jumped through a wall of cardboard bricks, or when (ooh) the sexy girls in the pool floating overhead came down and looked and waved at us and we could feel the warmth of their hands through the plastic tanks if we just reached overhead … it was in the service of nothing. I found it sad that I was watching the very kinds of dance techniques pioneered by Trisha Brown (and lovingly recreated in the Barbican’s Pioneers of the Downtown Scene New York 1970s art exhibit) were now being used to create something I wouldn’t classify in any way as art, but just fluffy, noisy entertainment. It was just so damned empty. And when the evening was almost over, we were covered in a giant plastic bubble with the performers on the outside (occasionally popping through holes to greet us), and I thought, yeah, what a metaphor: a big bunch of hot air that all of us inside have created for the benefit of the performers and their production company at forty quid a pop. I guess they’re doing something right as the house was packed, but for the money I’ve rarely spent a more vapid evening.

(This review is for the 7 PM performance that took place on Friday, January 18, 2013. It continues through January 27th. Don’t be too bothered that it says sold out on each show on the Roundhouse website: I clicked the “sold out” link on the day I wanted to go and got a ticket. That said … seriously, there are a MILLION better ways to spend that much money.)

Metro deal – two for one on “Compagnie XY” circus at the Roundhouse

April 14, 2010

The Metro is totally hitting it this week as today we’ve got an ad for two for one tickets on Compagnie XY “Le Grand C” at the Roundhouse. Two fers don’t appear to be limited by price range but are only good for performances from Saturday the 17th through Saturday the 24th 2010. Take advantage of this deal either by calling the Roundhouse at 0844 482 8008 and quoting “148”, visiting them in person, or going to their website (it’s recommending http://www.roundhouse.org.uk/login, but I think this page is what they mean) and using promo code 148 BEFORE choosing your tickets. Remember, enter the promo code BEFORE you choose your tickets.