There is little theatre you can see in London for £1. There are also few, if
any, evenings you can get that will give you so much variety and value for
The Cockpit Theatre has put in place a series of evenings called "Theatre in
the £1", and audience members pay just £1 to get in. For that, they get four to
seven individual productions over the course of the evening. These productions
are mostly professional as the exercise has been promoted as a chance to show, or try out, new works in any format. In fact, the only rules are that there are
no stand-up comedy acts and no bands. Apart from that, you get the black-box
acting space for any performance of up to 20 minutes that is legal in the
On the evening we attended, we saw six shows featuring a wide variety of styles.
Firstly a short sketch by Glenn Wilcox, very well acted by Clare Hannan
and Shelley Wilcox. It's amazing how much characterisation you can pack
into such a short piece and how much effort a creative team will go to to put a set
on stage for so short a scene.
The second act was an example of Raqs Sharqi dance to the music of Oum
Kalthoum. The performance by Lisa Wedgewood was fluid and assured though
it made me feel life I should be sitting at a table drinking small, strong
coffees and clicking my fingers for a fan to brush away the flies.
The third was a devised work based on the folk tale of "The Seal Bride" and exploring longing and belonging. Anna Egseth's strong
presence on stage and the strong staging itself provided a powerful piece of
For a complete change of pace, Raquel Torres offered a performance piece of
movement, words and interaction. Staged against a large transparent screen
using a stepladder, some shoes and a toilet as the only props, four people
told stories of relationships and reactions to modern life with humour and
The last event of the evening was Christopher Durang's "Beyond Therapy". Sadly, this one was the low point of the evening for me as it lacked drive both in the
writing and acting. However, as it only effectively cost me 20p and 15
minutes of my life, I won't hold that against it.
There is a brief interval between each mini-production and a mid-evening interval
that's a bit longer. In the future, the Cockpit hopes to mount additional solo
works in the bar during these periods. Check out future dates, it's a good way
to spend an evening - and a pound.