If you bill your show as ‘the theatrical event of the year’ you are rather setting yourself up, aren’t you…..but Wildworks have form, notably the Port Talbot Passion, so off we go to a hidden (and rather lovely) Victorian park in Islington with an enormous clock tower on a damp Thursday to be amazed at the long queue to get in but a lot less amazed after we had.
Your tree-lined route to the centre of the park has people at every turn doing things like playing piano or ironing (in a tree!) with the occasional sound bite about building a new city. In the centre of the park, now resembling a muddy Glastonbury, there are small stages and tents with music, dancing & storytelling with some people building houses from bamboo in front of the tower, some knitting a city and some join-in plasticine modelling. Around 30 minutes after you’ve entered (45 minutes after the starting time on the ticket) things begin to happen.
The security guards (they are everywhere) are instructed by a man with a megaphone on scaffolding in front of the tower to clear the people and their houses. The people protest. The tower becomes illuminated, first with an eye on the clock, then with faces of the people. The people beat the state and walk through the park triumphantly holding illuminated houses on sticks.
I like the idea and I applaud the community involvement, but it’s just not substantial enough to warrant schlepping up to north London, let alone the title ‘theatrical event of the year. ‘Gossamer light’ as my companion said…..