Comic duo Robin and Partridge inaugurated the Old Vic Tunnels’ Screen Room Society with a night shrouded in secrecy until guests arrived on the night. All we were told is to bring a prop and dress appropriately to swear allegiance to one of four tribes: knights (in which case we had to take a sword), gnomes (beard), explorers (map) or tax inspectors (a packed lunch). As a motley crew of willing patrons, many of whom had gone all out with their fancy dress, arrived at the venue below Waterloo station’s railway tracks, they were ushered into a bar dressed up like a venue hidden deep in a forest. A wry sense of humour was already flowing with free Twiglets littering the place, invitations to fish plastic ducks out of a tiny plastic pond or make chalk drawings on the floor, before we were swept into the performing space and a uniquely quirky night of comedy and cabaret.
Powerful drama Scorched arrives at The Old Vic Tunnels with a string of plaudits since its debut in France in 2003 at Incendies. Since then its been adapted into English, Spanish, Japanese and Romanian with a film to follow. It’s a dark, brooding mystery of a mother of twins who leaves a cryptic quest for her twin offspring to complete in her will. It’s twin narrative strands of present day and a unnamed war in the Middle East draw on writer Wajdi Mouawad’s childhood of being brought up in a Lebanese village when a civil war broke out, making for a personal element which helps drive the authenticity so essential to the play and emphasised by Dialogue Productions’ impressive use of this unique creative space.
On a late summer night, The Old Vic Tunnels invited Londoners to enter their lair to explore a collision of culture as they melded art, circus, theatre, music and poetry into two nights of encounters in the shadows and performances in the arches. The unique collaboration made possible by the vision of the in-house team and its dedicated volunteers and interns, dubbed Dark Carnival: Notes from Undergound, enabled the audience to decide what they wanted to see and how involved they wanted to get, with a an atmosphere of intrigue and excitement throughout. Mike Barnard and his intrepid explorers took the step into the carnival.