The Thames on a Summer evening

One of the best things about London is that you are never the weirdest person in the room. Even if you are dressed as an 80’s hooker with a rabbit face (long story) there will still be someone on the night bus that just makes you feel all kinds of normal. What I didn’t quite realise however was just how weird London got… lets just say that when I pay for a play I don’t exactly expect it to end with a naked man singing on a shipping container surrounded by abandoned swimming babies. Yep. You read that right. Welcome to the strange world of The Boy Who Climbed Out of His Face.

Immersive theatre sounded like a bit of a laugh, and it all started off so well. The Audio Wave Ninja and found ourselves on a beautiful late summer evening, wandering the banks of the Thames, eager to see what the night would hold. When you arrived at the jetty (a brand new art space near the O2) we were put into groups based on arrival time. When your group was called you took your shoes off, put them in a white shoe-box and stood in line. Yes, The Boy Who Climbed Out of His Face is a shoe free zone.

The Boy Who Climbed Out His Face

The first part of the experience was finding your way through a blacked out maze, all roads leading you to a white operating theatre type room. We were greeted by a … person. All the actors we were to encounter that night wore loose fitting latex face masks,  super creepy seeing a face that was not a face half falling off a real person. Then they asked for a volunteer… the Audio Wave Ninja was brave enough to put his hand up. He walked down the yellow corridor adjoining the room, only for it to turn into a Willy Wonka ‘smaller at the other end’ corridor, and then he disappeared.

When we cought up with him a few minutes later we found him to be indulging in a nightclub dance party with another group. A group who then opened yet another door and disappeared into the darkness. The dance party continued for a while with our latex faced host really getting into character as that sweaty creepy guy in the club. Then we were told a safe word before being joined by the group behind us. Soon our safe word was shouted and it was our turn to leave a very confused joining group behind.

And we found ourselves in a shipping container, sitting in the pitch black as it shook and roared; the sound of it and us being lifted and carried to a far off destination. Now, at this point I was beyond thankful to have the Ninja sitting next to me, I had just been to the Imperial War Museum and the Nazi death trains were fresh in my mind.

So close sign

But I didn’t have long to freak out, we soon felt the judder of our container arriving on a foreign shore. Stepping into the next adventure we found our bare feet stepping through sand as we made our way through a hazy jungle. That too was short lived as we came across a latex faced beach bum in a cave hording plastic bottles. He then encouraged us to step into a lift, closed the door and the elevator music filled our ears.

This was potentially the most normal part of the play, until the wall fell down to reveal a dominatrix’s lair. A poor member of the group in front of us was blind folded and sitting at the head of the table. With the last of our latex faced guides turning the lights on and off, jumping around the room getting up close and personal in the darkness I was a little bit over the whole thing. Then the blindfolded dupe was used as as broken compass to pick the next victim and we were allowed to escape.

photo 3 (3)

Escape to the final disturbing act of the night, the half submerged shipping container surrounded by plastic baby dolls aimlessly swimming in the murky water. Standing on the shipping container was a jesus lookalike in a tight white dress singing a mournful tuneless song. Now, that would have been weird enough to end the night on. Then he took his dress off. It felt like seeing a strange mans penis flailing around was a fitting end to a frankly bizarre evening.

It took the The Boy Who Climbed Out of His Face for me to realise just how conservative I am. Call me a traditionalist but I at the very least expect an attempt at a plot when I see a play. This? This was just being spat out half an hour later 100% sure that you had experienced something, but clueless to exactly what. I like cultural activities in London, but I just prefer them to be less awkward and not end the night confronted with a musicians penis. That experience should be reserved for Tinder.

Tower Bridge at Night

Last year I was out and about every weekend, as well as least two or three nights during the week. I was visiting restaurants, discovering art exhibitions and sitting in the gods at the theatre. Then around came 2014 and I just stopped. I don’t know why I’ve stopped planning and adventuring, but I arrive at each weekend with nothing to do. I drink coffee, go for walks and of course blog, but I’m not out exploring the amazing city that I live in.

The words I live by

My reason for lack of art is because there are no exhibitions that excite me at the moment. Last year it was like every museum was catering specifically for me, we had Bowie, Lichtenstein and Schwitters as well as secret poster art and National Trust beauties. But this year? I’m yet to read about an exhibition that I am amped for. Fingers crossed there is something later in the year that they just haven’t announced yet, but right now? Nothing I would leave the couch for.

Peter and Alice

Now there are some theatre shows that I would love to see. But ever since the roof collapsed at the Apollo Theatre I’ve been less than eager to book tickets. I know that seems silly, it was only one fluke accident after all, but I can so easily see it happening again. Every central London theatre I’ve been to (sitting in the gods after all) has seemed like it wouldn’t last in a strong wind. I remember in one theatre a man sneezing on the other end of the row and the entire section shook. I always comforted myself with the knowledge that I was in one of the most overbearing Health and Safety societies out there, that was until the Apollo. Turns out they don’t have it as under control as I thought. The answer is probably to go further afield to the new theatres built in zone 2-4, but sadly that turns into at least an hour’s travel each way…a bit too much for a school night when the tickets are affordable.

My other go to option is something creative, but I feel like I’ve plateaued on my old hobbies (painting and jewellery making) and without some significant effort (read: money and/or time) they aint going anywhere. I would love to try some new things, but it looks like I would have to mortgage my non-existent house to do a pottery or design course in London…not ideal.

Lacking art, theatre and craft I have a few options:
a) Plot world domination
b) Refresh twitter every four and a half seconds
c) Become an alcoholic

Currently I have selected option b, but I think my iPad is starting to wear out from all the scrolling.

The Depressed Cake Shop

So how am I going to kick myself out of this accidental hibernation? It seems like after two years I have become complacent about this magnificent city, after all I know I’m going to be here long term so laziness takes precedent over the urgent need to SEE ALL THE THINGS. But at the same time I am dissatisfied with my hibernation, I want to get out and do things. So I want the best of all worlds?

My first attempt at kicking myself into action is a small trip to Belgium (watch this space!), but if you have any ideas, or know of any upcoming fun things, please comment or tweet me!

Love runawaykiwi

Living Spit Play the Six wives of henry VIII

Y’all know I like to book things on YPlan. I was sitting at my desk at work, head buried in a spreadsheet, when I felt an itching desire to be hit in the head with something cultural. So to YPlan I turned and booked a play called the Six Wives of Henry VIII for the following night.

Now don’t get me wrong, I wanted some culture but was not in the mood for anything serious. I hear you shout “if you don’t want serious, why go for Tudor play!?”. Well, because the Six Wives of Henry VIII is a two man show but has a cast list of at least seven, with that set up you just know that hilarity will ensue.

And by all that is royal it was funny. Two men, one who looks strikingly like Henry Tudor and the other who looks great in a dress, took us through a 56 year reign in a couple of hours.

We got to know the intimate details of the kings bedroom activities, what his family actually thought of Mr Henry and what he thought of his wives. I don’t doubt that the play was 100% historically accurate – they portrayed the phone call between Henry and the pope to discuss the prospect of divorce to absolute perfection.

The play was funny, down to earth and actually taught me a lot about a period of history I thought I knew something about. Think of it as horrible histories for adults.

The show is touring throughout November so catch it if you can!

Danny Elfman at the Royal Albert Hall

Let’s be honest, I booked this one because I like going to weird things at the Royal Albert Hall. They are always endlessly entertaining and done to a high standard. I mean, I haven’t seen a Tim Burton movie in years. So on a cold Monday night I rocked up expecting nothing more than some light entertainment.

I got my first inkling that this would be a bit of a different night when I saw every second person dressed up as a Goth Paloma Faith (think 1950’s housewife combined with the corpse bride). But hey, this is London so that level of dressing up on a Monday night is hardly anything too unusual.

I was expecting parts of the score from each Tim Burton movie to be accompanied by the actual scene from the movie. But thankfully it was a bit different and far more artful. At the start of each score they would bring up the name of the movie, and then show scribbles, sketches and artist impressions from the movie. Occasionally there was a scene from the movie itself, but by far the focus was on the music with just enough images to remind you what went on. Better yet, the screens were only full of pictures for the first few bars of the music, after that you were left to just listen.

I guess because the movies had always been the focus I never appreciate how beautiful the score was. Unlike normal classical music it takes you on a journey, it is funny and it made serious use of the theremin.

And then there was the audience. Pretty much everyone in the audience were MAJOR Tim Burton fans. Whenever a new movie title came up there was not only applause, but also stomping and whooping. You couldn’t help but be caught up in the fun.

Then there was the ultimate fanboy moment, Danny Elfman himself (also known as the voice of Jack Skellington, king of Halloweentown in The Nightmare Before Christmas) came out and sang a couple of songs from the movie, with full orchestral accompaniment of course. Then the audience went even crazier with Helena Bonham Carter came out to sing her part of the song.

I have been to a fair few concerts at the Royal Albert Hall, but I have never seen so many standing ovations. The audience were so enraptured by the music and the show that it was a joy to behold.

There is something to be said for going to weird things at the Royal Albert Hall.