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2014 Spring Cook Up Season - Battersea Arts Centre

Ballad of the Burning Star

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

THIS spring, Battersea Arts Centre is presenting an eclectic season of cabaret, interactive theatre, spoken word, work in progress and beauty pageants.

Highlights include:

Ballad of the Burning Star, a multi award-winning tale from Theatre Ad Infinitum – from February 17 to March 8.

Armed with music, killer heels and a lethal troop of divas, an enraged Israeli executes a story of victimhood, persecution, aggression and love. With shrapnel-sharp voices and moves as smooth as an oiled tank chain, this cabaret troop invites audiences on a journey into the core of a conflicted Jewish state.

This provocative production took the Edinburgh Festival Fringe by storm and won a clutch of awards.

Recommended for ages 14+.

I Wish I Was Lonely – from February 24 to March 15.

From Hannah Jane Walker and Chris Thorpe – the duo behind 2011’s The Oh F*ck Moment – comes this participatory show about contactability, and remarkably, a show in which the audience commit to leaving their phones on.

The pair ask what it means to participate in communication – or not, through poems, stories and conversation, and question how much of ourselves we’ve given up to the new Gods in our pockets.

Recommended for ages 14+.

33, by The Wardrobe Ensemble (RIOT, The Shed, National Theatre) – March 3 and 4.

The company use soulful stories, macho choreography and original music to present their take on the Chilean miner crisis of 2010. 33 tells the tale of the thirty three men stuck half a mile under the ground, the journalists in the desert above them and the world that watched them from afar.

A tale of friendship, hope and Elvis Presley, 33 takes audiences beyond the newsrooms, past the cameras and leaves them 2000 feet under the ground.

Recommended for ages 14+.

Major Tom by Victoria Melody – from March 10 to March 15.

Major Tom is the true story of how an average 34 year-old and her unruly Basset Hound, Major Tom, became a beauty queen and a champion show dog.

Major Tom and Victoria immerse themselves in the obsessive and confusing realm of personal scrutiny as they participate as genuine contestants with a determination to win. Featuring documentary film footage and accompanied on stage by her dog, Victoria explores the British fascination with celebrities, beauty and winning.

Recommended for ages 14+.

Mouth Open, Story Jump Out by Polarbear, a story about how a master maker-upper started out as a boy with a talent for telling tales – from February 20 to February 22.

Polarbear makes things up: stories, jokes, adventures – a master maker-upper. But where did it all begin? Mouth Open, Story Jump Out is about the moment that started it all, and how one little decision set off a chain reaction that changed his life forever.

International assassins, secret codes, dog eating boa constrictors and much more fill the hole left when a father disappears and a boy discovers a talent for telling tales.

Recommended for ages 8+.

Glasshouse by Cardboard Citizens – from March 11 to March 15.

Glasshouse is about family and how hard it can be to keep loving. Three interwoven stories take audiences into the lives of members of a single family – fragile as any of us, tested by the times in modern Britain, they struggle to stay together yet fail to survive apart.

Interwoven with Kate Tempest’s haunting poetry, the play draws audiences into a dark and gritty city illuminated by moments of unexpected tenderness.

This is not theatre as you know it. Forum Theatre invites the audience to stop the action in the second part of the evening, come on stage and rehearse alternative scenarios that lead to positive changes.

Recommended for ages 14+.

Karaoke by Sleepwalk Collective – from February 24 to February 26.

Catatonically deadpan, gratuitously vapid and gleefully strung out, Karaoke is a performance about love and rockets for two performers and an autocue.

Playing out as an actual karaoke, the text and action on screen and projected for the audience to see, the show is an exercise in anti-theatricality that’s either brazenly cynical or pathetically honest depending on how you want to look at it.

Karaoke follows the critically acclaimed Amusements as the second part of Lost in the Funhouse, a trilogy about pleasure and boredom in the 21st century.

Recommended for ages 14+.

For more information and the full 2014 Spring Cook Up schedule, visit