New writing theatre company Paines Plough are presenting an absolutely cracking new way to see plays this autumn and making us think that there should be more theatre programmed like this. New writing, an exciting theatre space, a sensible time slot, a hot snack and a drink are all included in the ticket price and you can be on your way having had your culture fix by 8pm when other theatres are raising the curtain for their evening shows.
A Play, A Pie and a Pint is a season of four brand new plays never performed before, presented in the Shunt Vaults at 6pm each evening. Tickets are £10 each which includes a drink (beer, wine or soft drink), a hot pie by the lovely Pieminister company, entry to Shunt Vaults afterwards and the chance to see some very good new work.
Currently playing until Saturday 10 November is Crazy Love by Che Walker who has already established his talent as a writer at the Royal Court where he scooped two awards for Flesh Wound. Crazy Love is a breakneck re-telling of a very unexpected romance between Billie, a privileged Holland Park princess and Dougie, a gun-carrying drug dealer from the wrong bit of Notting Hill. Billie played by Phoebe Whyte stalks around the stage in her bridal wear, telling her tale with breathless speed, supported by her two mismatched bridesmaids Shiv (Suzie McGrath) and Cordelia (played by Julia Sandiford).
What sounds like a crazed Bridezilla recounting the events leading up to her nuptials turns out to be something far more intriguing and passionate than the standard wedding disaster story. The journey from posh private school to a bullet-strewn car chase finale is quite breath-taking, taking in lecherous teachers, grand pianos on fire, unlikely friendships formed at unsuitable ightclubs, GBH, lots of cocaine and love. This is a love story about love that is so true, so deep and passionate, it defies class, race, law and even death.
It’s a laugh out loud, wild sprint through Billie’s tale, with interjections and observations by the bridesmaids from either end of the social spectrum. Keep your napkin handy because extremely funny and sharp observations, reflections and descriptions come flying thick and fast, causing quite a lot of spluttering over the food and drink. There was plenty of that when Billie recalls the rough nightclub Shiv takes her to, where she falls catastrophically in love: “The potential for violence… compelling! I loved that everyone was so angry!” Shiv observes how the film Notting Hill looked to her like the area had been “ethnically cleansed.” Crazy Love seems to be putting to rights the “snow job” Richard Curtis did on his London love story. Walker has told a tale of true urban romance, as tasty and moreish as the pies. Get a ticket and tuck in.
A Play, A Pie And A Pint, a Paines Plough season at the Shunt Vaults. Currently playing: Crazy Love until Saturday 10 November, Between Dog and Wolf opens Wednesday 14 November. For more information go to the website here.
Image by The Sizemore McCabe Project from the Londonist Flickr pool