Dusk in a muddy park: Babel


Babel, billed as one of the theatrical events of 2012 (in a year that no doubt will be full of these) is currently playing at Caledonian Park in North London. It's part street theatre, part performance art, part art and craft, part singing and part muddy field. It's a lot of parts but it is a pretty ambitious piece that brings together a story of a city like London where people are from all corners of the world and representing a variety of cultures and backgrounds...

89B23D4B-3BCD-4485-8EEE-776A05D7A275You are lured into the park by people who are welcoming you and there are others going about their daily lives (making sandwiches, hoovering, peeling vegetables and so forth). Eventually you find yourself in the middle of an open field. As it is a promenade piece people can choose where to go. Naturally, most people head for the bar as the prices are reasonable and they serve hot spicy cider... Maybe the alcohol helps, but it is quite atmospheric and the cold, damp night just added more atmosphere to the proceedings.

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It's a cast of 300 professional and community performers and the production is a collaboration with the Lyric Hammersmith, Young Vic and Theatre Royal Stratford East. It's the centrepiece of World Stages London, which brings together a number of London's major theatre companies to present the idea of London as world city in 2012...

If only they managed to get the pacing right, starting with opening the gates on time (not twenty minutes late) and moving things along a lot swifter it could have been a little more immersing and engaging. But there is so much spectacle to enjoy it is worth grabbing your wellies and a map (as there is no directions from Caledonian Road tube) and heading on over to see it all...

Babel runs through to 20 May at Caledonian Park. People who read blogs like this can even get in to the Sunday 13 May performance for £10 by quoting the promo code: Blogger at the box office 020 7223 2223 or on the website. Now that's a deal worth heading out at dusk for. Get there early so you can push yourself through the crowds and fight with the ladies in the berets who talk at you a little too sweetly...

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