New Opening: The Screening Room Society @ Old Vic Tunnels

Franco Milazzo
By Franco Milazzo Last edited 78 months ago
New Opening: The Screening Room Society @ Old Vic Tunnels

For a night, the tunnels were transformed into a forest.
For a night, the tunnels were transformed into a forest.
Robin Tynan
Robin Tynan
Charlie Partridge
Charlie Partridge
Phil Kay
Phil Kay
Knights, goblins, explorers and tax inspectors competed for the night's prize.
Knights, goblins, explorers and tax inspectors competed for the night's prize.
Rachel Parris
Rachel Parris

There are few things more certain than death, taxes or becoming top banana at FIFA, the face of Next or (allegedly) the winner of this year's BGT but it's fairly good bet that most events at hip venue Old Vic Tunnels have an appreciable volume of quirk. Last year, kinky tarot readers used Uno cards to predict our future*, a vision of hell was unleashed and we went on the ultimate ghost train.

The latest rabbit out of the OVT hat is new comedy night The Screening Room Society. The name gives nothing away but those old enough to remember the Secret Cinema back when it was still a relative secret will enjoy the concept here. Tonight, the tunnels were turned into a forest with ticketholders asked to swear allegiance to one of four tribes: knights, gnomes, explorers or tax inspectors and to bring a relevant suggested prop (sword, beard, map or packed lunch respectively).

Proceedings over the evening are evenly split between the two main acts and the hosts Robin Partridge. Veteran improv star Phil Kay keeps his clothes on this time but entertains us with his rambling stream-of-amusing-observations-and-charming-bullshit comedy including a lesson in making his own cocktail of Red Stripe (half a can) and whiskey ("not too much...but not too little").

Dressed like a fairytale princess, Rachel Parris pops up from behind a keyboard to play us pink-tinged black-humoured songs filled with saccharine sarcasm. After a couple of numbers, you know to expect bittersweet girly-to-gory lyrics but the biting leftfield wit still makes us laugh like loons. If the idea of Tim Minchin in a frock rocks your boat, seek out Ms Parris at the earliest opportunity.

The evening, though, belongs to the hosts. Using their trademark combination of improv, cheap props and shadowplay, Robin & Partridge turned the four tribes against each other in a series of interactive games while also doing their own routines, some of which they honed at their show earlier this year. Like the Old Vic Tunnels, their charm goes deeper than the quirkiness and we look forward to see  what they come up with next.

We don't know what wizard wheezes the next SRS show will hold but we're guessing that there will only be one way to find out...

* "Three mediocre days and a great night which will feature no sex." And they were right, dammit.

All photos (c) Guilherme Zühlke O'Connor
Tickets to this event were footed by management.

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Last Updated 06 June 2011