EAT! Black Country Touring
Co Production with Birmingham Rep – at The Round House
Runs: 1h 45m, no interval, till 27 0ctober
Tickets and Information: 0121 236 4455 Book Online: birmingham-rep.co.uk
Review: Alexander Ray, 20 October 2012
A special kind of event.
Ben Jonson said a good play was like a great banquet – you could go on talking and thinking about it long after the actual meal was finished. And here’s a performance (EAT!) which is all about food and provides plenty for thinking and talking afterwards.
The co-production between Black Country Touring and Birmingham Rep is a special event. Black Country touring has collected stories about food around the region and cooked up a series of characters and stories shared with us in small groups as we are invited into their tiny and intriguing caravans. The four caravans themselves form a natural arena within the cobbled yard of an old stop-over point for canal horses and boatman, and, in this arena, as we are shepherded from one caravan to the next, we are talked to and sung to en masse.
The event has the visceral thrill of immediacy; it’s rough around the edges yet totally engaging. Songs deal with curry, battered sausages and cake among other things. While stories range for the moving tale of starvation and fight for food in an Eastern European country concentration camp – ethnic cleansing the background – to the delightful tale of a woman married (to my recollection) six times to men from different countries . . . and the countries are defined by their food. In another caravan folk tale is interwoven with modern stories – forests become metaphorical prisons while a caller collects food from a modern foodbank. While we munch on a proffered mint-chocolate biscuit we cannot avoid the certainty that in the UK today people are relying increasingly on foodbanks for their survival. (All in it together . . . tell us another one, do!)
So much of humankind on show through simple stories about food – share food, share stories, both are acts of loving . . .
And we went off after the early evening Saturday performance for a marvellous curry in Birmingham’s famous quarter.
Performers/Devisers: Sharanjit Bansil, Nia Davies, Graeme Rose, Vimal Korpal, Katerina Demetraki
Performer/Devisers Placements: Lucky Rai, Alice Castillo, Daniel Holden
Devised by the cast, cripted by: Roshi Ramal
Directors: Steve Johnstone, Frances Land, Tessa Walker
Director Placement: Zayneb Khan
Musical Director/ Composer/Musician: Sheema Mukherjee
Musician Placement: Dave Graves
Design Concept: Purvin
Designer Makers: Rob Hill, Abigail King
Designer Placements: Laura Brannon, Sabrina Davies, Natalie Hogan, Blanche Pope, Sophie Wheat,
Design Volunteers: Sophie Gaudin, Sorch Cummins, Izzy, Max Curry