Theatre review: Babel at Caledonian Park

16:47 21 May 2012

Babel. Photo by Steve Tanner

Babel. Photo by Steve Tanner

Archant

Large-scale outdoor project makes for an entertaining evening – but not great theatre

»Babel is a large-scale project with hundreds of volunteer performers, billed as the theatrical event of the year and a celebration of the “exhilarating diversity” of London for the Olympic year.

But it starts in rather more mundane fashion than the lofty PR talk would suggest – with a great stonking queue around the block, as around a thousand wait to be funnelled into the outdoor setting, Caledonian Park.

Eventually we enter a bizarre realm where people iron perched up a tree and wander up and down in white cloaks hauntingly muttering “it’s time to build a new city”. There is a buzzing atmosphere as groups crowd around the different areas: some make plasticine figurines, a gazebo is filled with knitting, a fantastic jazz band plays.

After a while, attention is drawn to the impressively-lit clock tower and the play unfolds. It centres on a clash between police authority figures and the settlers camped outside the tower. The leader rails against these people, ordering them to be searched, apprehended, their homes moved or knocked down, until eventually even his own officers turn against him and side with the beleaguered masses.

It starts well and there are moments of humour and excitement, but the audience is never fully swept up into the story, which has little plot movement and few ideas in play. It’s a fun experience, but not great theatre.

* Babel, produced by WildWorks and the Battersea Arts Centre, was at Caledonian Park, N7, between May 8 and May 20.

Latest Stories

Yesterday, 12:17
Kim Kalkowski, owner of Cakes 'n' Treats in Camden Town, says she has been unfairly targeted by anti-fascist groups

The owner of a vegan cake shop fears for her business after anti-fascist activists launched a “mistaken” campaign to stop people visiting her store.

Read more
Yesterday, 15:39
Dr Dhanuson Dharmasena (front) leaves Westminster Magistrates Court earlier this year.

A Whittington doctor facing the UK’s first prosecution linked to alleged female genital mutilation has denied any wrongdoing.

Read more
Yesterday, 14:39
The vehicle on fire in Prince of Wales Road.

A bus carrying pensioners was left stranded and full of smoke after a camper van in Kentish Town caught fire.

Read more

Top Stories

Promotions

Renault-Zoe

The Renault ZOE follows on from the introduction of the electric Fluence ZE and Twizy, but unlike the former, the Zoe was designed from the ground up as an electric vehicle.

When no simple way to find Real Ale was at hand, 4 Ale enthusiasts got together to allow anyone with a smart phone to find Real Ale no matter where they happened to be, this was the birth of the Perfect Pint app.

London24 have partnered up with The Week magazine to offer you a complimentary issue – delivered free to your door.

Quizzes

But which London?! [Photo courtesy of Basher Eyre]

Yoou might know London like the back of your hand, but how well do you know the other Londons - and London landmarks - across the world?

Read more
The prize is glory (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

It used to be Manhattan that was famous for its majestic skyline, but now our fair city is catching up. Do you know your Shard from your Heron Tower?

Read more
Test your London musical knowledge with our album quiz (Images via Getty)

Does your music knowledge stretch from The Rolling Stones to Rudimental, Spandau Ballet to Siouxsie and the Banshees? If so then test it out with our London bands quiz:

Read more