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Extravaganza Macabre at Battersea Arts Centre – Review

Extravaganza Macabre at Battersea Arts Centre
Extravaganza Macabre (c) Alex Brenner

Little Bulb Theatre has returned to the Battersea Arts Centre (BAC) with a rambunctious production of Victorian England. The brand new show, Extravaganza Macabre is brilliantly packaged with the company’s signature nooks: enjoyable singing, entertaining music, hilarity, and wit, just like the company’s successful and award-winning show, Orpheus. To add to the enchanting tale of an orphaned child, mandolin virtuoso, demonic evildoer, clairvoyant maid and forlorn bride it all takes place outside in the new open-air courtyard theatre of the BAC.

Our three performers, the company’s musical and artistic directors, Alexander Scott, Dominic Conway and Clare Beresford are super fast and sharp on the mark, but not so fast that you can’t keep up with the action. Instead, they leave no second behind without the audience either laughing or gasping after another travesty: doings of the scheming evil villain Lord London.

Artistry and creativity bounce and flow throughout the show, enough to get the audience singing along while they help float a baby on the River Thames, assist a cunning urchin and his dog, ‘Dog, Dog’ escape Lord London’s dungeons in Pall Mall, and much more. Floating a baby amongst the crowd may sound strange, yet rest ensured the audience interaction is exciting and fun and Little Bulb Theatre make the audience feel part of this bizarre ‘Tale of Villainy and Valour’.

The stage is a musician’s pantry with trumpets, drums, piano and talented voices to go with the triumphant love story with its death-defying challenges. Elizabeth (Beresford) our bride is in search of her love, Earnest (Conway) who was drifted away by a torrential storm seven years past. Their love is put to the test when the evil villain, Lord London (Scott), more like a malicious demon, attempts to conquer and turn the world into a hellish place. Yet with the heroic spirits of Chippa, ‘Dog, Dog’ and Earnest, humanity isn’t doomed and the lovers unite as if it were yesterday.

The production, in association with Farnham Maltings, is a playful and highly musical production I would watch again. With the theatrical underpinnings of gifted and passionate thespians, Little Bulb really display their mettle. Go pay them a visit at the BAC and give your smile a workout – you’ll be smiling from cheek to cheek. (After the show on Fridays and Saturdays in Battersea Arts Centre’s Scratch Bar a range of acts curated by party planners Rumpus, as well as resident DJ No Signal Sound.)

5 Star Rating

Review by Mary Nguyen

A Tale of Villainy & Valour in Victorian London
We cordially invite you to join us for an evening of wild music and audience mischief, as the makers of Orpheus, Little Bulb Theatre, launch Battersea Arts Centre’s new open-air theatre.

A freak storm parts two passionate lovers and sets them on a tortuous path of cruel fate and hapless chance. Can a loyal urchin and clairvoyant maid help to reunite the desperate pair? Or will our scheming villain have his wicked way?

Witness the woe, howl at the horror and gasp at the gallantry in a tale of unbearably high stakes, unspeakable moral lows and double lashings of devilish over-the-toppery.

This performance will take place in our new open-air Courtyard theatre – please dress for the weather!

26 Jul – 26 Aug
A Little Bulb Theatre and Battersea Arts Centre co-production in association with Farnham Maltings, created by Little Bulb


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