Adrian Berry travels to Wales to see Crashmat Collective
Thu 7 Mar 12PM
On 1 March, our Artistic Director Adrian Berry travelled to Wales to see Crashmat Collective perform Façade before it comes to Jacksons Lane on 21 & 22 March. He blogs about the experience below:
"Ashlie. What are you doing on Friday?"
“Dunno Ade. Why?”
“Fancy a trip to Wales? Brecon, to be precise.”
“What’s in Brecon?”
“Apart from some beacons, Crashmat Collective performing Façade.”
“Oh. Ok. Let’s do it.”
So Friday morning, Paddington station, and Ashlie (Marketing Manager) and I hop on the train bound for Abergevenny. On St David’s Day. What beautiful symmetry. A few hours later and we’re in a taxi driving through Powys, mid-Wales and we eventually reach the charming little town of Brecon and check into the Wellington Hotel.
“Hi, what is there to do in Brecon? We have a few hours to kill.”
“Sleep, sleep…and sleep.”
“Oh. Anything else?”
“There’s a leisure centre if you’ve brought your trunks.”
But what they do have a is a gorgeous canalside theatre, Theatr Brycheiniog.
Crashmat Collective are touring Welsh towns with their circus dining show Façade which is visiting Jacksons Lane with its only London – actually only English dates - on 21 and 22 March. To accommodate it we need to convert our theatre into a circus space and a restaurant - no mean feat. Circus we can do blindfolded. But food? Well Koula in our café is taking charge on this one but we still needed evidence of how the two combine. So the best way to see how it’s done was to see it first-hand.
Theatr Brycheiniog is a newish theatre space that manages to achieve a timeless and almost historic look, a beautifully designed and well lit building and really inviting on the inside. We were quickly seated at a table of eight or so people, all local, including a couple of lively characters from the venue, amidst a genuine buzz of anticipation as the performers/waiting staff mingled with us, taking drink orders and pouring wine. The space was also modern and bright with the seating totally retracted – we genuinely felt as though we were in a busy gastro-joint with the sounds and the smells and the hubbub of conversation and clinking of glasses.
Suddenly the waiters sprang into action and the performance proper started. Chinese pole, trapeze, aerial hoop, silks, above us, around us, performers dancing on tables, waiters sat next to us, on our laps, flirting, giggling, serving…the food came out promptly, the wine flowed freely, as the stories of the waiting staff unfolded. Their desires, fears, laughs, loves, affairs…inner monologues were there for us to hear, the circus integrated effortlessy as we laughed, gasped, chatted, gawped and fell in love with this troupe of seven. Two hours whizzed by and we felt truly fed and nourished – creatively, gastronomically and emotionally.
We left feeling massively enriched by the evening. It has everything you’d want from a night out – cutting edge circus, comedy, pathos, a Dirty Dancing routine (honest!) and, most importantly, gorgeous food and lots to drink. We can’t wait to bring it to North London for you all to experience. Crashmat Collective have created a gem of show. We’re thrilled to be a part of it.
For more information about Façade please click here.