by April de Angelis and Nessah Muthy created with Wils Wilson.
Royal Court Theatre (Jerwood Theatre Upstairs) Sloane Square SW1W 8AS To 21 December 2013.
Mon-Sat 7pm; Mat Thu & Sat 1.30pm.
BSL Signed 19 December 7pm.
Runs 1hr 35min No interval.
TICKETS 020 7565 5000 all performances sold out.
Review:Carole Woddis 27 November.
Ingenious and provoking.
The one thing you can be sure of as Vicki Featherstone gets into her stride at the Royal Court is that you never know what to expect. Artistic directors like to put their stamp on their new regimes. Featherstone, coming from the peripatetic National Theatre of Scotland, seems anxious to break out of the sausage factory mould of play following play Upstairs or Downstairs.
Not that under Dominic Cooke, new plays didn’t emerge in diverse settings. The Jerwood Theatre Upstairs was forever presenting a differently configured face.
gastronauts is something else again, an evening dedicated to food and our relationship to it. The dramatic conceit is that we are passengers on a flight invited to contemplate a myriad number of gastronomic delights whilst waited on by a smiling cabin crew, and assailed from time to time by our `captain’, the magnificently `tached and brigand looking, Alasdair Macrae.
Macrae is a bit of a genius. He can contrive a delicious array of musical styles for all tastes and palates from blues to hard rock to South American rumba.
He was also part of Featherstone’s NTS team for the deliriously Celtic supernatural fantasy The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart – also directed by Wils Wilson.
gastronauts too is at its best when galvanising a collective bout of delirium, choosing “the most useful person” (who describes himself as doing f*** all) to enjoy the solo cup of coffee when the flight hits `turbulence’ and all the stocks of food and drink disappear.
With references to obesity, food fads – yes, we are offered salted crickets and honeyed locusts – stock-market speculation on food derivatives (a very funny scene ensues between a hungry banker fellatioed under the table), our looming global food crisis and riots in the streets, the evening provides generous dollops of surreal and futuristic humour whilst maintaining an underlying spikey and serious critique.
The idea is ingenious, provoking and ebulliently freewheeling. If the script doesn’t quite catch the flights of rhyming fantasy David Greig inveigled out of Prudencia Hart, it still amounts to an unexpectedly rich and savoury repast.
Performers: Andy Clark, Imogen Doel, Alasdair Macrae, Nathaniel Martello-White, Justine Mitchell.
Director: Wils Wilson.
Designer: Lizzie Clachan.
Lighting: Natasha Chivers.
Sound: Emily Legg.
Composer/Musical Director: Alasdair Macrae.
Food advisor: Tim Jenner.
Bar & Kitchen Manager: Sami Rifaat.
Fight director: Bret Yount.
Dramaturg: Carissa Hope Lynch.
gastronauts had its World premiere at the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Upstairs on 21 November.