Theatre in a shopping centre

Yesterday I went shopping. OK, it was mainly window shopping.  All I bought was a sandwich …and a theatre ticket. I was in the Elephant & Castle shopping centre, and one of the shops (Unit 215) has been turned into a theatre by the Royal Court Theatre. What a good idea.

‘The play was called ‘Spur Of The Moment’ by Anya Reiss, who was only 17 when she wrote it. She’s one of the writers nurtured by the Royal Court’s Young Writers’ Programme.

And what a wonderful play she’s written. The 95 minutes (no interval) sped by in no time. It’s about a dysfunctional family – Mum, Dad and 13-year-old daughter (called Delilah) – and the effect a 21-year-old male lodger has on them. Add to the mix the lodger’s girlfriend, and Delilah’s three teenage friends. Anya Reiss has a great ear for dialogue; the play is witty and the story is well told. Its plot reminded me a little of Peter Shaffer’s ‘Five Finger Exercise’, but the ending’s a lot happier. There’s some terrific acting including a scintillating professional debut from Shannon Tarbet as Delilah.

Tickets were only £8 (£5 concessions). And if you couldn’t afford that, you were invited to ‘pay what you like’.

Yesterday was the last night at ‘Theatre Local’ as the shopping centre venue is called.  But I’ve a feeling this play is going to be revived often during the next few years which is why I haven’t told you too much about the plot.


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