Thursday, April 25, 2024

London’s Battersea Area is an Urban Oasis With Theatre, Food and Views

A theatre excursion to London must include a show at the Turbine Theatre.

Not only because they introduce us to new works and re-energized classics, but it’s truly a fun experience whether you like the show or not.

Turbine Theatre is on the banks of the Thames, with a picturesque view of the Chelsea Bridge. Housed in an area called Battersea Power Station, there is a wonderful, cool, hip, vibilicious area that makes its own community of restaurants and attractions and Turbine is sandwiched right in there.

This area was such a welcome surprise to me that I had to invent the word “vibilicious” as there is no word in the dictionary that describe the feeling of this secret surprise – complete with a rooftop garden! Delicious, vibe, cool, hip, communal – all good words, but they are not enough for Battersea. It needs its own word – hence, vibilicious.

Turbine itself is the leader of the community’s cool vibe: it creates theatre magic in a relatively small theatre and makes it okay to hear the faint sound of the Tube traveling over this structure.

I happen to go there towards the end of the run of the musical “High Fidelity.” I knew I’d like it as the Cat in the Hat who checked me was fun and welcoming. It turns out he isn’t there all of the time, he was mostly promoting the theatre’s next show from the Dr. Seuss novel.

“High Fidelity,” which just ended, was based upon the Nick Hornby novel which then became a hit John Cusack film and a less successful musical that only lasted 13 days on Broadway.

But the great Turbine team knew it was a good production and throw aside the mixed reviews and poor reception in New York and re-invented it for their intimate stage, making it a fun and worthy trip to the theatre.

Since the show has closed, I won’t give a full review here of the show – but it was amazing to see how creatively director/choreographer Tom Jackson Greaves used the space and was able to elevate the show. Stars Oliver Ormson and Shanay Holmes were magic but the real surprise here was Joshua Dever who played a few different roles and was completely different in all of them.

Battersea also has several varied restaurants but I must mention Mother. We happen to be there on their three year anniversary. Not only did they treat the community to free pizza and wine, they invited others in the area as well. Plus, they had terrific music from Julian Joseph Jazz Academy.

The pizza was very Italian – I suppose that the host (maybe owner) Italian Lara saw to that. That is worthy making a journey back for sure. Would love to try their brunch and other menu items.

The whole area is worth exploring. You have many food options and progressive and exciting theatre. Turbine Theatre is also home to a geeky-theatre-loving-fans dream: the MT Fest UK. Missed it
last year – and it looks like again in 2020 – but definitely will think about it for a 2021 visit.

The Fest brings together new works from writers and sort of workshops them in front of an eager and receptive audience. So you gay theatre nerds: just think you will get to see loads of emerging shows in a short period of time. At it’s inaugural festival last year, audiences were treated to “But I’m A Cheerleader: The Musical” and “Porn: The Musical.” Why didn’t someone call me?

From food to views to theatre, the Battersea community of London is a must see – especially if you include tickets to the Turbine.

For more information:

#TurbineTheatre #BatterseaPowerStation #EmergingTheatreWorks #FringeFestival #MTFestUK


Kevin M. Thomas

Kevin M. Thomas, or @ReelKev, is an arts blogger and entertainment reporter. In addition to his own website, and ReelKev YouTube channel, Kevin used to be the LGBT arts writer for and contributes to as well as a semi-regular on San Francisco's cable TV show, "10 Percent."

Kevin M. Thomas has 156 posts and counting. See all posts by Kevin M. Thomas

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