There are chambers underneath London’s Tower Bridge, two of which house the huge counterweights that minimise the force needed to lift each of its bascules – the two leaves that open to let tall vessels pass underneath. When the leaves are lowered, the bascule chambers are left empty, with the counterweights suspended above (all still underground). The space of these remaining chambers reverberates and echoes – under Iain Chambers’ careful guidance, they form a perfect acoustical setting for some intriguing sonic creation. As part of the Totally Thames 2017 annual celebration, the Bascule Chamber Concerts provide a physical and musical space for the exploration of sound and a celebration of the river Thames.
It has been three weeks since I left the bubble that is Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2017 to return to the much larger bubble that is London. And ironically, the manic, fast-paced lifestyle of living in the capital is a relaxing break from the utter madness that was Edinburgh for the month of August.
We are no longer a Christian society – the Western world is fast transforming into something more complex, more agnostic. There’s a reluctance to believe, to have faith in a power that is outside of your comprehension. We live in a time when control comes easier; technology gives us more automation and greater analytical power to understand our needs and satisfy them. The idea of something existing outside of this tangibility is starting to be unacceptable. Like A Prayer takes us back to the nature of faith, the question that asks whether we can expand our appreciation past a technological sphere into something more spiritual.
Mark Conway is nervously aggressive throughout Ballistic – it’s unnerving how he can flip his mood on a knife edge. Growing up, it is clear that the little things are sparking off latent undercurrents of violence. He can’t process emotions properly; he comes from a broken middle-class family; he has a childlike bluntness to his moods. Alex Packer’s script sets the scene beautifully in a production that warps jealousy into hate into rage. Anna Marsland’s direction is to subtly emphasise the little triggers that build up – this isn’t one incident that sets off Conway, it’s a slowly boiling pot that eventually simmers over.
This is a show about the morning after the night before – two hungover women, worrying about who they slept with and desperate for pizza. It’s also a show about social media, public image and how your popularity directly impacts your behaviour. Pulled aims to unashamedly highlight binge culture, ladies going out and enjoying themselves without the associated stigmas. But it’s pithy at best, large portions of narrative that go nowhere fast and a set of observations that are already a bit dated. Binge culture has been around since the 90s and the social media angle adds nothing impactful to this story.