I should have written this up well over a week ago – and it’s not because it wsn’t worth blogging, but that I have simply been SO busy lately!
So, this was the second part of the immersive theatre by Punch Drunk that me and my mate went to see last month, set in 60s Paris and based around a diamond theft. Still marketing the launch of Stella Artois Black, but on this occasion we didn’t get a chance to drink any!
This time, the meeting place was given as ‘by the public telephones in Old Street Station’, so this was where we headed. We had NO idea at al what to expect, but the segment was title ‘On The Streets’, so we expected to walk around a bit.
When we got there, we gave our names to the nice lady with a clipboard, and met two other guys who were apparently the rest of the audience – which seemed a little cosy. The girl then just walked off, just as one of the phones rang.
Again, I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t been to see it yet, but I will in fact be giving a few details – so it is up to you now if you read on!
My mate answered the phone, and was given an instruction. The four of us walked out of the station, and I was actually talking to one of the other guys – probably the best accidental move that we made as we were walking just ahead of our mates and one of the actors suddenly grabbed the to of us and ran us down the street (and I man really ran us, very urgently) and that’s how it all started. this meant that me and my mate ended up having completely different experiences for the first half of the ‘show’ and only met up a bit later. We pieced it all together later on over dinner asking “So when I was in the car, just after the warehouse, had you met Lola?” and stuff like that.
The performances were outstanding and I got to be driven around Shoreditch in a couple of 60s Citreons. There was violence, romance, sleight of hand, a backstreet club, singing, balloons, back-stabbing, burglary and so much more in a number of locations.
We were made to exert ourselves, threatened, kidnapped, assisting crimes and mainly just thoroughly thoroughly entertained. We had more fun than you could’ve imagined – it was a pretty intense hour – and something I would definitely like to do again!
Stella Artois have produced a new lager called Stella Artois Black. As part of the launch, they were giving free tickets to be part of an immersive theatre experience.
I was intrigued, and managed to get me and my mate a ticket for Wednesday night. I wasn’t sure how much to say, but the tickets have all sold out, so I don’t think I will be spoiling it for anyone now (although if they have restarted and you haven’t been yet, obviously stop reading now!).
If you watch the trailer, you can get a real feel for the 1960s Paris black & white film feel of it all. The blurb says “”2 lovers. 1 diamond. A thief. A curse. A classic film noir movie coming straight from late night Paris in the 1960s. And you. You are the spectator, but also the actor. Only you will discover the secrets of The Black Diamond.”
Anyway, the confirmation email detailing the venue gave away no details, it was just ‘At The House’ with a street name and postcode in Shoreditch – all very intriguing.
When we got there, the whole house was done up to look like a Parisian apartment (lounge, wine-cellar, dining room, bedroom, bathroom) filled with little curios – postcards, pictures, letters, records, photos etc. There was French 60s music playing and a general chic party atmosphere with balloons and a handmade banner that spelled out ‘Jaques ♥ Cecile’ in the lounge.
We were busily trying to work out who were ‘guests’ and who were actors, as it wasn’t always immediately obvious, which made it feel even more like we had been invited to this party. I don’t want to say anything about the actual content of the ‘performance’ but various characters came over and spoke to us as if we were just people they were meeting at a party, and (with prompting) gave us a little of their story. It was VERY cleverly done. There was a guy that we spoke to who obviously had a very bad attitude towards Cecile, and my mate kept saying “We should warn them about him!”
The performance end was rather dramatic, and we were literally turfed out onto the street around an hour after we’d arrived (there was another performance afterwards). It’s definitely made us look forward to the last part which is apparently ‘On The Streets’ and we have to meet at some phone boxes in a station. Unfortunately the ‘showing’ I’ve booked isn’t for almost a month!
They were serving (free) Stella Artois Black from a discreet bar in the house, and although I’m not a lager drinker usually (apart from with Chinese or Indian or perhaps a Peroni with Italian) I actually really liked it. It wasn’t as harshly fizzy as some lager – small, pleasant bubbles – almost like a good prosecco! And the flavour was really mellow. If it was around, I’d probably be happy to drink it!