I like to go to Greenwich Theatre at least once a year to support my local venue, but it occured to me that there's also the Greenwich Playhouse, which I haven't been to since its first-ever production. I go to pub theatres on the other side of London without batting an eyelid so it was about time I went back to the one I can actually walk to and from. They're currently hosting a production of Steven Berkoff's East by a new theatre company made up of recent Drama graduates from Greenwich University. Now as I've probably mentioned before, anything to do with Steven Berkoff risks giving me the giggles 'cause it reminds me of my favourite line from Rock Profiles ("his whole aesthetic is anti-naturalism, it's nae suitable for film!"¹) Luckily the young cast are very confident and pull off the required larger-than-life performances in this play where sex, violence and banal daily life are told through cod-Shakesperean verse - most memorably in a scene where the lead character, Mike (Charlie Fairless) uses a very long piece of blank verse filled with vivid imagery, to describe his cock and balls.
The actors and director Adrian Figueroa have pitched the production very well, and its a shame it doesn't seem to have attracted many people to see their debut (one of the reasons I keep forgetting to go to the Playhouse is their almost non-existent publicity) as tonight the half-full house seemed to mainly consist of their University friends. Another shame is one of my traditional bones of contention, the unnecessary interval - a show that would have lasted about 80 minutes straight through does not need a break. Was this a condition set by the theatre so they could sell more drinks? I can't imagine that the creatives would have wanted to interrupt the flow of a piece that'll inevitably benefit from as much energy as possible.
On a side note, I think I love the box office lady at the Playhouse. When I asked her the running time she said "well last night it ended about 5 past 9 but well... could be anything really" before having a go at the director in front of the audience who were waiting to go in "maybe you should get the cast ready now since you're supposed to start in 3 minutes."
East by Steven Berkoff is booking until the 4th of October at the Greenwich Playhouse.
¹but yes, it's only funny in context