Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Red Like Our Room Used To Feel - review

Written by: Lily Grouse (@LilyKG)

Battersea Arts Centre, London

In a room crammed with personality and the debris of his life, Ryan Van Winkle invites you to listen to his poetry whilst having a cup of tea, biscuits and a brief lie down; it’s half an hour wonderfully spent. The one to one with the poet is a therapeutic and beautiful escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Whilst waiting in the foyer of Battersea Arts Centre, after having devoured one of their delicious butternut squash and goats’ cheese tarts, I found myself anxiously anticipating what lay in store for me. The concept of a one to one performance always alarms me slightly because you, as the audience member, are on show just as much as the performer themselves. However, my anxiety turned out to be totally unnecessary and this was realised as soon as Ryan introduced himself with a lovely, welcoming smile and oodles of enthusiasm.

After a brief explanation of what would be expected of me, I was led up the grand staircase and to an inconspicuous door. As it opened, a wash of red spilled out and I walked into a space brimful with character, memories and nostalgia. An open suitcase with snippets alluding to cities travelled, posters and book sleeves plastered on the walls, a Christmas tree adding to the red wash with its tinted fairy lights; every detail had obviously been carefully designed to create personality. It was so busy with intriguing nooks and crannies.

Depending on which one of the four envelopes you choose, you will then be read a set of poems – but only after Ryan has made you a cup of tea (to your liking) or a glass of port. His delivery of the poetry, accompanied by the music of ‘Ragland’, makes for spellbinding listening. There was something hypnotic about the aural combination and the poetry itself was deeply personal and disarming; I totally forgot about the jammy dodger in my hand until the reading had finished, which is definitely the marker of a captivating performance.

Before leaving the room, I was left alone for a few minutes. Although I had been offered a bed to lie down on, I found myself wanting to explore whilst listening to the pre-recorded poetry. Make sure you do take the time to examine the room and all of its knick-knacks, because there is so much to absorb. In fact, my only criticism is that I wanted to spend more time in his world, but was aware of my time running out – the thirty minutes seemed to fly by.

Take a trip to BAC: have some dinner, a drink at the bar and then take the time to get to know Ryan Van Winkle. You will have an enchanting evening.

This production runs until 22 December 2012. 
@battersea_arts @rvwable 

Follow us on Twitter / Like us on Facebook  

No comments: