Tuesday, 3 June 2014

The Roof, Fuel Theatre : LOCAL LOVES

On Friday I was lucky enough to attend the opening night of The Roof – the brand spanking new show from Fuel Theatre. Fuel make great shows by taking risks and this was a big one that totally paid off.

Sitting snugly behind the National Theatre it’s performed in a car park – yes, a car park! Who’d have thought it?? Bugger off cars, we’re going to make some theatre hereNow, what they’ve done is put free-running, contemporary dance and gaming into a big pot, mixed it together and thrown it out onto a ring of rooftops with an audience wearing headphones standing in the middle. True 360 degree theatre. Does it sound like anything you’ve seen before? Didn’t think so!

Because of my job I get to see a lot of theatre (jammy git) but I’ve never seen anything like this. There was such a buzz in the air as we crunched our way across the gravel of the car park and donned our headphones. Walking under an arch and into the ring of roofs we turned up the volume and got in the gaming mood as Nintendo songs were played into our ears.

After a couple of headphone-selfies, and some excellent posing from my sister and her pal...

 .....the lights dimmed and the game began.....

Out of a chimney-like box a player in a red jumpsuit appeared and Level 1 began. He ran and jumped and flipped and climbed over the roofs, killing monsters and winning prizes, buying energy and shooting guns. It was so damn exciting! The skill of the performers was incredible, every single movement was done in the style of a gaming character. Blank faces as they fought, stiff backs as they ran.

I won’t spoil it too much but I have to say the best bit for me was the sound (created using incredibly clever Binaural sound technology) and the way the entire show timed in with it. Absolutely everything you hear is pre-recorded but you’re forever looking over your shoulder and spinning on the spot to see who shouted out from the crowd or shot a gun, led by your ears. The performers had their timing spot on, it must have taken forever to perfect.

It’s on until Saturday 28th June and you can buy tickets here - tickets for performances before 8th June are £24.50, then it’s £29.50 thereafter, but if you’re unemployed, a full-time student or under 26 you can get the concession rate of £19.50.

Performances don’t start until 9.30pm as they have to wait for the sun to go down so its the perfect opportunity to explore the Southbank! I’d suggest having dinner or drinks at one of these fine establishments:
  • The BFI has two awesome places under it's roof and is the closest place to the show – The Riverfront which is nice and casual or Benuga which is pretty snazzy. Go for burgers and pints.
  • The Roof Garden bar at the Southbank Centre – stunning views of the city. Go for pimms.
  • The Swan Bar at Shakespeare's Globe, lovely buzzy place – leave about 20mins for the walk back to the show. Go for a gin and tonic.
  • The Oxo Tower – if you’re feeling flash! Check out the blog I wrote when I went for my birthday. Go for a cocktail.
  • Gordon's Wine Bar – just across the river (so not strictly the Southbank, cheeky). Go for wine and cheese.

If you're going to The Roof or have been I'd love to hear what you think of it so leave a comment below! Has anyone ever seen anything like it?