It’s incredible, the number of ‘pop-up’ theatres that are springing up all over London. I love them – they’re generally found in interesting locations, making innovative use of spaces which you wouldn’t necessarily associate with theatre or the arts in general. They also tend to be better at promoting new writing and new talent than some of the more established theatres – probably because, with fewer overheads, they can afford to take more risks.
The Bunker Theatre is one such pop-up. Located between London Bridge and Bermondsey, an area which was once a cultural wilderness but into which all the beautiful people are now moving, the venue is actually a former underground parking garage (see what I mean about innovative use of space?). I was here to see ‘Tonight with Donny Stixx’, a new piece of writing by Philip Ridley which was a sell-out success at the Edinburgh Festival.
I enjoyed the play – it was an intense 80 minutes well-suited to the claustrophobic environment of The Bunker. Following the fortunes of wannabe-magician Donny, whose aim is to become the world’s greatest-ever entertainer, it’s a clever observance of modern-day society’s obsession with celebrity and the lengths that people will go to become famous. Sean Michael Verey is phenomenal as Donny – you can’t take your eyes off him as he paces the stage, his mood veering from vulnerable to enraged to downright delusional. I saw him on stage last year in ‘Radiant Vermin’ and was impressed then – and I’m sure that there are many, many more good things to come from him – and, likewise, from The Bunker Theatre.