The latest SACRED season has kicked off at Chelsea Theatre and on Friday 28th and Saturday 29th, this King’s Road theatre sees the return of Stacy Makishi with her world premiere of VesperTime.

Vesper Time – Stacy Makishi

What strikes me about VesperTime is the influences of Moby Dick, Hitchcock and Bjork’s album Vespertine that apparently create a striking performance where rock concert meets subversive sermon.

If you’ve read my previous reviews on productions at the Chelsea Theatre, you will have noticed that the element of surprise is very much at work when you walk through their doors. And each time you leave feeling moved.

VesperTime was developed with the support of the National Theatre Studio and commissioned by Chelsea Theatre and Colchester Arts Centre.

For more information and tickets, see Chelsea Theatre’s website.

To mark World Theatre Day yesterday I went to see Best Before End at the Chelsea Theatre, which I found to be both mesmerising and full of quirky surprises.

Best Before End

Best Before End is the London première of Curious theatre company’s latest piece that questions the power and vulnerability of language and love.

A one-woman show that takes the audience on a journey which contemplates the ultimate and inevitable frailty of the human condition, Helen Paris’s performance is hypnotic. Everyday objects such as an armchair and pieces of chalk embody various roles and meanings as they become props for the most unlikely of situations.

© Richard Davenport

© Richard Davenport

Returning to London for the first time in two years Curious theatre company are Leslie Hill and Helen Paris, who for seventeen years have created inventive and powerful performances that blend intimate, everyday experiences with a darkly comic edge.  They have performed worldwide, creating distinctive work which frequently provides a sense of intrigue and adventure. And now they are here on the King’s Road. But if you’d like to see them, you don’t have much time. Tonight (28th March 2014) is their final performance so hurry and book yourself a ticket – and of course, enjoy!

Disclosure: My ticket was complimentary for the purpose of the review.

How quickly did March whizz by? Not to mention the Easter break. If you’re looking for some April ‘don’t miss’ tips. Here are my suggestions:

1. Just because Easter is over, it doesn’t mean you have to stop your chocolate eggs indulgence. Gallery Mess, the restaurant at Saatchi’s Art Gallery on Duke of York Square, have their Easter afternoon tea on the menu until 7th April. I tried it last month and can definitely recommend it. Read about my experience here.

2. Donna Ida’s Chelsea store is currently being refurbished and so Donna Ida’s denim boutique has temporarily moved across the road to the ex-Jean Paul Gaultier space: 171 Draycott Avenue SW3 3AE.

To celebrate the new-look Donna Ida store (106 Draycott Avenue SW3 3AE)  which is reopening on Monday 15th April, this glorious denim boutique will be serving all-day breakfast treats and launching the brand new Spring Summer 2013 season with a ‘Surf’s Up’ theme.

To celebrate the store’s reopening, Donna Ida will be giving away a pair of designer jeans every 30 minutes (on 15th April), which is the time it takes for a Denim Clinic in any of the Donna Ida boutiques. A Simeon Farrar tee will also be given away with the first 50 purchases on the re-opening day. So maybe see you there?

Donna Ida's Pop Up Chelsea Store

3. The atmospheric speakeasy bar, Evans & Peel, have their next Burlesque show on 7th April. If you want to find out more about it or if you’d like to discover what lies within this Earls Court basement, have a read of my post here.

4. Theo Fennell is launching an exclusive jewellery-inspired afternoon tea with the delectable Langham Hotel on 8th April.

Created by the hotel’s award winning Head Pastry Chef Cherish Finden, the Theo Fennell Bijoux Afternoon Tea comprises of a selection of decadent savoury and sweet  delicacies – the latter of which pay homage to some of the brand’s most iconic pieces. Priced at £49 per person, the afternoon tea will be available until November 2013.

Theo Fennell and Langham Hotel

5. Chelsea Theatre’s SACRED season continues into April and will be running into June. If you’d like to find out what’s on over the spring/summer, here is my latest post on Chelsea Theatre.

What are you up to this month? Have you got any Don’t Miss tips?

SACRED is back for another season at the Chelsea Theatre and on Monday night I went along to experience Jeremy Reed’s poetry reading.

But this was not just one man in a performance space reciting his poetry, which incidentally has been championed by the likes of Bjork, Seamus Heaney and J.G. Ballard – as well as Pete Doherty.

Reed performed with a musician called Itchy Ear whose style is electro. And with enthralling visuals being projected on the backdrop, what I assumed would be a simple recital turned out to be a captivating multimedia experience.

Official Press Photo

The poetry was moving and explored the lives of individuals Reed once knew, including Francis Bacon. And one of the poems involved music from Marc Almond who Reed has collaborated with on his recent publication, Piccadilly Bongo.

This year’s SACRED season is running for a longer period than usual – until February 2013 to be precise. So there is still plenty of opportunity to witness contemporary theatre that enjoys pushing the boundaries on the King’s Road.

It’s a wonderful experience to be able to step into a space and be forced to abandon expectations. Your imagination and emotions are allowed to flow unhindered as a result. That’s what happened on Monday night.

The last night of Chelsea Theatre’s SACRED season presented the electric performance duo Othon & Tomasini along with supporting act Laura Moody and a guest appearance by Marc Almond.

As Laura Moody began the night with her cello, her experimental pop style grabbed the audience’s attention: this was something different. Were we going to like this? But with her high-pitched voice, her music became mesmerising as if her initial songs had lulled us into a false state of presumed expectations. By the end of the set, Moody had successfully transfixed an entire auditorium.

Next up was Othon Mataragas as he took to a grand piano, dressed in bondage headgear. First impressions were avant-garde but his style in music was pure classical. As his fingers danced across the piano keys, the whole room was yet again spellbound. The evening took another surprising turn with the baroque performance of Ernesto Tomasini whose theatricality transported us to another time and place: 1930s cabaret.

We were also lucky enough to listen to work in progress by Othon & Tomasini because for the last few years, Tomasini has been Othon’s muse and their musical chemistry heralds pure originality. At one point during their performance, Othon accompanied Tomasini donning boxing gloves as he bashed the piano keys surprisingly successfully.

Their special guest, Marc Almond, contradicted Tomasini’s melodramatic performance. Instead, Almond was haunting. He was quiet and he pulled the audience to the edge of their seats as they hung on to each note. It was a far cry from the Soft Cell post-punk days. This time, Marc Almond was gothic.

For the last stage of the evening, Marc Almond left the performance space as Laura Moody and Tomasini returned to end what was an evening that reminded me, music can still be entertaining and original.

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