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Posts Tagged ‘Sadler’s Wells’

If you’ve been reading this blog, you know that I’ve been wanting to see Shoes since my first Sadler’s Wells experience, the Electric Hotel.

Judging from the reviews out there, people really hate this show. I hoped that Shoes might be more than a nod to Sex and the City, but I was well prepared for a fun mindless girly few hours if it was not.

The show was made of different sketches. Some were funny, some weren’t meant to be. Some promoted consumerism, but not all were label and shopping focused. The impracticality of high end blister inducing shoes and enormous wads of cash spent chasing them was given more than a fair nod. A great scene focusing on trainers highlighted the sporty practical side of shoes. Jesus, Imelda Marcos and your mother all make an appearance in the show, as does Kate Miller Heidke and her operatic voice. The choreography was mostly fantastic with a few skits that I wasn’t into.

Did I enjoy this performance as much as I enjoyed Electric Hotel? Maybe not. Electric Hotel was more intellectual. Did I have any regrets? Yes, sitting too close to the stage. I had to sit up extra tall to see the stars of the show – the shoes. Other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed it and left with a very large grin on my face.

A little bit too close to the stage.

As they say in the opening number ‘If you don’t like shoes, it’s going to be a very long evening.” Heed that advice or enjoy.

Shoes runs until April 3rd and plays at the Peacock Theatre in London.

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I know this is a little late as Sadler’s Wells performance of Electric Hotel ended June 26th, but I thought better late than never.

The Electric Hotel was highly recommended on TimeOut and other forums and located in my friend Flora’s neighborhood. I asked Flora if she was interested in going. How lucky for me! She had already made plans to go, was getting discount tickets because she had a large enough group and did I want to join? Of course I did.

As we walked up to the stage, I became tingly with excitement. I have an affinity for the industrial among the natural. I’m not kidding here. A few years ago I impulsively took up welding after seeing the discoloured iron sculptures in the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens.

The Electric Hotel was a temporary structure consisting of shipping cargo crates and set among the beautiful monstrosity of Gas Holder 8, a bit of green space and St. Pancras station in the far far distance.

The Electric Hotel

We were given a set of binaural headphones as we entered that proved to be a major highlight. One actually felt like the splish splash of the rooftop pool was going on behind them. Several times during the evening I looked to my left and right to see where the voices were coming from, thinking “that’s so rude of the audience” only to discover that the noise I was experience was an intentional part of the show.

The audience was given a voyeuristic treat: a look into the private moments of the people staying at the Electric Hotel. This causes the viewer to consider the multitude of events going on simultaneously at any given moment and our limited capacity for absorbing and witnessing them.

The actual performance

The show was put together as a looping plot. Each loop allowed the viewer to grasp another relationship, situation or idea. The loops built upon one another as the characters danced, fought, loved, cried, plotted and eerily established their subconscious psyches. Just as one began to understand the storyline concept, the situation would become a bit more absurd.

At the end, our group left the theatre trying to grasp exactly what had happened. The experience felt poignant, although none of us could entirely agree why.

I look forward to other Sadler’s Wells shows. September 3-11 there is a show just about shoes. With a concept like that, it either has to be awful or genius. Considering my Electric Hotel experience, I’m leaning towards genius.

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