When a press release landed in my inbox this morning with the title; “First ‘theatre in a car’ comes to the West End from Olivier Award winning playwright,” I knew I had to share it.
As a Yorkshire lass, I’ve always wanted to ‘get my fancy on’ and have an evening out in the West End. I haven’t quite gotten around to it yet, but I’m hoping this show comes on the road – quite literally – and we get treated to a spot of theatre excitement in the North.
So, what’s it all about? Well, there’s a minibus parked on the iconic Drury Lane, and it’s playing host to ‘Auto Play’, a brand new play from Olivier Award-winning playwright Bola Agbaje.
Due to the uniqueness of the venue, there is a maximum audience of just six people per performance, with the performers sitting in the font, and the audience in the back. Don’t worry though, it’s not a two-hour car journey with the driver not letting you stop for a pit stop, it’s all over in 20 minutes. Just make sure you nip to the loo before it starts.
The performance titled ‘Papa Don’t Preach’ focuses on the relationship between a father and daughter. The play unfolds while daughter Laura, 24 (played by Lekhani Chirwa) and her embarrassing but fun-loving dad David, 50 (played by Tony Timberlake) are parked and waiting for an estate agent to arrive outside a prospective flat.
The play explores the familiar theme of a yearning for independence by young adults, and the conflicting emotions this can cause for their parents. MORE TH>N commissioned Bola to write the play after its research with parents revealed the prominent role the car can play in facilitating positive family interactions.
Indeed, 45% of those surveyed view the car as the one of the most important places when it comes to getting the family talking, while over half (51%) of parents believe that candid car conversations are particularly beneficial to their family’s mental health and wellbeing.
On arrival, car theatregoers will be directed to their seats in the rear of the car (‘stalls’ for those in the middle row, ‘dress circle’ for those furthest back), all of which have been reupholstered in red to mirror traditional theatre seating. Once seated, the cast will appear on ‘stage’ (the front seats) before the performance commences.
Parking up on London’s Drury Lane, the car theatre will stage free preview performances of Papa Don’t Preach over four days on Wednesday 22nd (at 5:30pm, 6:15pm and 7pm), Thursday 23rd (at 5:30pm, 6:15pm and 7pm), Friday 24th (5:30pm, 6:15pm and 7pm) and Saturday 25th August 2018 (2:00pm, 2:45pm and 3:30pm).
Depending on its success and audience feedback, MORE TH>N will explore the possibility of adding further dates and taking the Auto Play car theatre on a tour of other UK theatre districts.
This Yorkshire lass says; “Yes please!”