Victorian and Gay, by Another Soup, opens at The Hope Theatre (London) on the 8th Dec – if you’re looking for something a bit different to kick off the Festive season, then may I strongly suggest that this could be the thing for you! We’re really excited about it at LGBTQ Arts, so I caught up with the director Dave Spencer to find out more about what they’ve got planned…
(© Amie Taylor @Spoonsparkle 2015)
Hi Dave, thanks for chatting to us today. We are so excited about ‘Victorian and Gay’ at The Hope Theatre. Perhaps you could start of by telling us a little bit of what audiences can expect?
The show centres around two aristocratic ladies, ‘sisters’, who invite the local populace, the townsfolk, shopkeepers, and window cleaners of Islington into their townhouse for a Christmassy evening of tales and hilarity. Based on the historical tradition of aristocratic pageantry over the festive season, these two ladies are on a course to bring you a show full of riotous fun. Victorian & Gay promises to be bawdy, loud, and immersive in the best sense of the word. Carols will be sung, drinks will be drunk, and secrets may out!
Where did the idea come from?
The writers, Bethany Greenwood and Steffi Walker, are two of Another Soup’s associate artists. They also star, and the characters they play, Ladies Ermintrude and Griselda, are based on two characters that emerged as a response to the immersive site-specific aspect of earlier Another Soup plays. Their characters have evolved largely out of improvisation and audience interaction, which makes them great hosts for an evening such as this!
We all decided that there weren’t enough shows that celebrate Christmas happening in London this year. We found that productions advocating Christmas tended to be few and far between, or pantos. There are only so many of those that you can endure. This show is a rip-roaring tour-de-force of Victorian debauchery and characters, one sure to delight and discomfort, as well as challenge and invigorate.
Describe the event in six words…
Victorian farce filled with festive frivols.
What are you most excited about?
I’m so excited about finally getting audiences into the room with us all. I’m sure you can imagine how difficult it is to rehearse a play that interacts with and immerses the audience. Trying out interactive jokes is no mean feat when the only person in the rehearsal room not acting is the director. I have made a conscious attempt to avoid the actors using me as a prop and audience stand-in. So I’m very excited that they will shortly have real-life people to play with.
It’s being created by ‘Another Soup’, could you tell us just a little about the history of the company?
Another Soup was formed in 2010 whilst we were all still at Durham University. Bethany and Steffi were in the first production we put on. Since then, Another Soup has produced 11 shows, in Durham, Edinburgh, Sussex, and London. We pride ourselves on our collaborative, open-ended approach, and it is exactly this sort of show that we absolutely love putting on. In the past, we have performed new musicals in indoor markets, puppetry pieces in gallery spaces, dance-theatre in Art Deco chapels, and so much more. The Hope Theatre will be transformed into Ermintrude and Griselda’s Victorian parlour and we hope audiences will feel as at home in it as we do.
And what is the main ethos behind the work?
Basically, we want everyone to have a really good time at Christmas. The festive season is about family (and drinking) and we want audiences to come and feel at home, to feel part of this weird mish-mash of a family, as well as getting a good few drinks down their throats. The writers, Bethany and Steffi, are great fans of Horrible Histories, and they see this as one of the main influences behind their work. They love the idea that they’ve created a piece that is full of idiotic banter, whilst also offering choice historical nuggets. Basically, if Horrible Histories is history with all the gory bits left in, Victorian & Gay is a live homage to Horrible Histories with drinking encouraged – for adults only.
Where can we find out more online?
If you head over to our website (www.anothersoup.co.uk) we have so much more information on the production, our past shows, and our company members. There are also links to reviews for previous productions, which you can read. And there are also links through which you can book tickets. There is also a Twitter page run by Ermintrude and Griselda themselves (VAG_Christmas) and tweets from the company can be found at @Another_Soup.
And where can we book tickets for Victorian and Gay?
Go to http://www.thehopetheatre.com/productions/victorian-and-gay/ and get booking! They’re selling fast!