Come to bed with Duckie. Lullaby – Barbican theatre

For the most part on the Winning Review, i post things that i will be doing.  Every now and then there is an event on in London that i won’t be doing, because nothing about it sounds appealing.  Although I haven’t seen it, nor has anyone that i know- Lullaby at the Barbican falls into this category.  Here is how it is described:

Lullaby is a gentle, slumber show designed to send you to sleep. Bring your pyjamas and toothbrush and pile up the zzz’s at this romantic rock-a-bye nocturne. Book a single, a double or a triple bed and sleep with us on a summer night in the city. Enjoy your reveries as sister songstresses H. Plewis, Harriet Plewis and domestic dreamers Matthew Robins and Tim Spooner create a nod-off narrative of soothing storytelling and choral cradle song.

Lullaby is a moonlit soporific serenade followed by seven hours of slow-wave sleep rounded-off by
breakfast to send you on your way.

Come to bed with Duckie.

Charles Spencer’s review in this Telegraph confirmed my suspicions:

Normally when you find yourself dreading something for weeks it turns out to be not nearly as bad as you expected.

The twist with Lullaby at the Barbican, presented by “immersive” theatre specialists Duckie, is that it actually proved even worse than I imagined.

The prospect of bedding down in the subterranean Barbican Pit theatre with colleagues and complete strangers wasn’t enticing anyway, but, on the hottest night of the year, it proved damned near unendurable.

The show, which was meant to lull the 50-strong audience occupying single, double and even a triple beds into blissful slumbers with stories and song was pathetic. After getting into our pyjamas in communal changing rooms – there was a great deal about this show that took me back to my days at prep school – we were ushered into the theatre and took our place in the numbered beds. If you had a partner with you, this might have been pleasant.

On your own it felt horribly lonely but at least as the long night’s journey into day dragged on it was marginally cooler than sharing your duvet with another hot and sticky body.

The company then paraded round a rostrum in animal costumes. There was a goose, some bunnies and then four sparkly octopi came on and sang a little song that went “Join our little family as we circle in the sea.”

There were also some pathetic conjuring tricks, a story about a bereaved man with a family of imaginary children, and after a brief interval, a long lecture on the Pythagorean theory of the universe and the music of the spheres. It was accompanied by crummy projections on a screen above our heads and music that sounded like a cross between night-club chill-out and Erik Satie. The producer had told me that if I wasn’t lulled into sleep during this second half of the show before they brought proceedings to an end at 1am, Duckie would have failed in its task. I stayed awake.

At about 2am, I drifted off but that was when a dire night became downright humiliating. The woman lying in the bed next to me woke me up and told me I was snoring. I apologised, went back to sleep and she woke me up and told me I was snoring again. I said the company had provided ear plugs and perhaps they would help. She said she was wearing the ear plugs and was still being kept awake by my snores. I felt guilty and exhausted and drifted off and she woke me a third time. I tried to stay awake but eventually fell back into swinish slumber.

This time exhaustion had evidently overcome her too because I wasn’t woken again. At 7.30 am the lights came on and some cute little baby chickens were chirping in the middle of the room. Sweet and fluffy though they were, they failed to cheer me up.

I went out onto the street in my dressing gown and had a fag. The City workers passing the stage door looked at me with deep suspicion. I then gobbled down a croissant and a cup of coffee, dressed and got the hell out of the place. I’ve spent worse nights – but not many. I’m sorry about the snores, though.

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