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#1 Backdrifter

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Posted 15 April 2010 - 10:13 AM

This production is now on sale, for those of us drawn to stuff in tunnels, vaults, etc. First few performances at a 5 discount.
Turn up the signal... wipe out the noise

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 08:01 AM

Not that anyone's the slightest bit interested I'm sure - I always ended up talking mainly to myself in these fringe threads - but just in case anyone is, I enjoyed this production last night - you make your way through ill-lit dank musty tunnels with installations suggesting a ravaged landscape and society, and arrive at the small auditorium, with 2 blocks of seats raking up from a floor-level stage. I wasn't sure about the play at first but it gradually took hold and I found it quite unsettling at the end. The basic idea is that the country's been decimated by floods; the action focuses on one of the small groups of security forces trying to maintain order over the scattered pockets of society's remnants. It's about as much fun as it sounds, but I found it compelling.

I loved the 'Bunker' bar at the interval, I think it shoud be a fixture even when there's no performance, unless it already is.

#3 cha003

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 10:34 AM

Oh, good, I wondered if anyone else had booked for this!  We're going along on June 4th, so will report back.  It was less the play, I have to admit, and more the chance to nose around down in the Old Vic Tunnels that attracted me - but to hear that the piece is good too is an added bonus... wink.gif

#4 ianianian

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Posted 19 May 2010 - 11:18 AM

Great venue apart from the almost continual loud rumbles and clanking of overhead trains! Indeed in this particular play, often the train noise helps the atmosphere, but at other times it was just annoying and a few times obscured lines of dialogue. I wonder if the trains run reliably on time enough that particular noises always come at particular times in the show! I liked the "installation art" in a couple of the side tunnels and the "people" guarding them, set the mood for the play nicely. There aren't really that many tunnels to "explore" though, most of it is closed off. I agree that the bar is very nicely done! There are only a couple of portaloos for toilets though, as far as I could tell. I don't know if the venue is going to be used long term or if it's just for Ditch, but if there are long term intentions they ought to get that sorted, it would only be a couple of days work for a carpenter and a plumber to knock a few basic facilities together that would serve well for a few months.

I think this is the same venue that Banksy's film about graffiti was playing at recently?

I didn't think much of the play itself. Maybe I have watched 28 Days Later too many times, as it seemed too close in story to the second half of that, but not as good. You could see what was coming in each scene a mile off. There was a scene that just jarred as annoying enviromentalist ranting that seemed particularly badly and lazily written to me, but I don't want to be too specific in case other people go see it. The lighting was very good though, I must say that. Some lovely fog effects just hanging there. And it was interesting seeing the actors' breath condensing in front of them when they spoke, made it look really cold where they were, and where the play was set, maybe it was. I was perfectly warm in my seat though.

#5 Alexandra

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Posted 19 May 2010 - 02:46 PM

Where are these tunnels and what was their original purpose? How do you get down to them? Sounds intriguing - might have to take a look.

#6 ianianian

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Posted 19 May 2010 - 04:06 PM

They're just storage vaults / railway arches that hold the track up to the right level for the Waterloo platforms, except there is a cross-passageway that links multiple arches together. Not really tunnels at all, but it does feel like a tunnel when you're inside, being all dark and damp.

The entrance for the particular arches in use for this show is at the southern corner of the whole station area, at the corner of Leake St and Station Approach on google maps. Indeed after the show they make you exit the venue into the arch that is now set aside for legalised grafitti.

#7 Alexandra

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Posted 19 May 2010 - 04:27 PM

Thank you ianx3, that's interesting (I guess you have to put all thought of vermin on one side). Good for the Old Vic for doing something bold.

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Posted 19 May 2010 - 10:38 PM

No sign of any vermin - rodent, human or otherwise. I think I read the Vic has leased the tunnels for a year, and there will be other productions/events to come. I agree, good for them. Pity though that it means the Bunker Bar is temporary and only for the audiences. I love the idea of a makeshift-looking place like that, with its mismatching furniture, tucked away in an unlikely spot. I'm no barhound but I'd be in there regularly.

Yes it was where the Banksy film was screened.

By the way, there I was getting all ready to bail out with what I assumed would be a final soliloquy in the Fringe forum, when suddenly - knock me down and call me Susan - there are other people and it's like an actual conversation, and everything. Who'd have thunk.

#9 cha003

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 12:00 PM

We saw this on Saturday, and after finally finding the place (thank goodness we set off early!), entered a dark, cool building on a particularly bright and sunny day, which at first was a blessed relief.  After half an hour or so, though, be warned, it gets quite chilly down there - blankets were provided which were scoffed at to begin with but very welcome by the end!

The atmosphere is great down there.  There's the urge to keep one's voice down, in case your idle chatter echoes around the tunnels, which sets the scene for the play well.  The bar, as others have said, is a nice addition to a well thought-out space.

The play had some great moments, I thought, and shows great promise.  Perhaps some of the plot devices were a little obvious, and agreed there were a few moments where I thought the characters were spouting an ideology of the author for the sake of it, but on the whole this was a good solid piece of work.  Helped by some terrific performances mainly from actors I hadn't come across before (other than Danny Webb).  The rumbling of trains overhead only added to the experience for me, although there were times when I wasn't sure whether it was a train or a sound effect!

I would love to see a Lear or a Macbeth in this space.  Perhaps even a good Greek tragedy - Medea, perhaps?  Or, for that matter, how about a thriller?  Deathtrap, perhaps?

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 02:29 PM

QUOTE(cha003 @ Jun 8 2010, 12:00 PM) View Post
We saw this on Saturday, and after finally finding the place (thank goodness we set off early!), entered a dark, cool building on a particularly bright and sunny day, which at first was a blessed relief.  After half an hour or so, though, be warned, it gets quite chilly down there - blankets were provided which were scoffed at to begin with but very welcome by the end!


I'm seeing this in a couple of weeks, so thanks for the heads-up on the venue. I'll take a jumper! What does the entrance look like? Did you try to find the place using the info from the Old Vic site? How much time do I need to allow to find it?!  smile.gif




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