Review: Hunger, E5 Bakehouse

“It’s been quite a while since I’ve had as ample a meal as this”

Starting off with a short reading from Solzhenitsyn’s One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich and ending with an outrageously generous two course meal, it is clear that Hobo Theatre’s Hunger is doing things slightly differently. Although that is clear from the outset as their production is hosted in the flour-dusted, characterful surroundings of the E5 Bakehouse, a top artisan bakery tucked away in a railway arch by London Fields. So the ingredients for a pretty tasty evening of theatre have all been put into place and if the proof is in the eating, well this is a great success.

Knut Hamsun’s 1890 novel Hunger is regarded a classic of modern literature in its tale of a writer’s determination to maintain artistic purity in the pursuit of his career even as it leads him into a life of impoverished starvation. Jamie Harper’s adaptation is really rather ingenious though, condensing the book into 75 minutes or so and doubling up on the way it doubles. Which is to say two actors take on many roles as the various people the writer meets on his journey, and then the other two both play the writer, his self becoming increasingly fractured as hunger drives him to desperation. Continue reading “Review: Hunger, E5 Bakehouse”

Review: La Turista: Café Duende, Morito Tapas Bar

“I have seen the blood of Spain”

“Ni en la vida ni en la guerra se puede triunfar sin fe.” The 1937 words of the Spanish Republican Prime Minister Juan Negrín are draped across the window of Morito Tapas Bar to beckon us into the highly evocative world of La Turista:Café Duende, a piece of dinner theatre that seeks to give a taste not only of some excellent Iberian cuisine but also of life during the Spanish Civil War. The quote translates roughly as “not in life nor war can one succeed without faith” and through Jamie Harper’s intricately pieced-together script, we bear witness to the different kinds of faith that saw people through the most difficult of times.

Hobo Theatre’s aim is to produce theatre in unconventional locations and the crowded intimacy of one of Exmouth Market’s most highly rated eateries certainly fits that bill. The easy conviviality of the space, combined with the realities of informal dining, creates a decidedly non-theatrical environment, an astute choice which fits the suggestively dark moods of La Turista perfectly. Split into four acts, interspersed with three courses of dinner, the show is less concerned with a theatrical narrative than evoking the mysterious spirit of duende, of deep feeling, of an almost spiritual connection with art. Continue reading “Review: La Turista: Café Duende, Morito Tapas Bar”