Babel

Wildworks & BAC

Babel

BABEL is an immersive theatrical experience of truly epic proportions created especially for Caledonian Park. This spectacular outdoor production, with a cast of 300, combines storytelling, live music, massed choirs and state-of-the-art visual effects to celebrate what it means to be part of a truly global community, and the world city that is London. 2.3 out of 5 based on 10 reviews
Babel

Omniscore:

Location London
Venue Caledonian Park
Director Bill Mitchell
Cast .
From May 2012
Until May 2012
Box Office 020-7223 2223
 

BABEL is an immersive theatrical experience of truly epic proportions created especially for Caledonian Park. This spectacular outdoor production, with a cast of 300, combines storytelling, live music, massed choirs and state-of-the-art visual effects to celebrate what it means to be part of a truly global community, and the world city that is London.

Reviews

The Sunday Times

David Jays

The ensuing narrative is portentous and simplistic, but also an argument about cities: the creative team proposes a vision of the city as an endearing ragbag, rather than zoned and ordered. People are messy; so is Babel.

20/05/2012

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The Independent on Sunday

Kate Bassett

Unfortunately, the storyline is a shambles. It's the prologue that's inspiring. Touchingly greeted at the park gates by angels – who say it's time to build a new city – the audience enter the woods to find lamplit, eerie and funny domestic scenes among the trees. A woman vacuums in the bushes, students sketch in the boughs, a blind jazzman improvises on a battered piano. Before the dictatorship drama, you're free to potter around a communal fair too, with bars, a rocking band and a swaying choir. Here you can playfully contribute to model paradises: mould flora and fauna for a Plasticine landscape; knit the fringe of an all-wool London. The teenage participants were jiving in wellies as I headed home.

13/05/2012

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The Observer

Susannah Clapp

It has the Wildworks hallmarks of imaginative location and a large subject, but the detail is smudged, the morale-boosting thumpingly explicit: it is as if the company had caught Olympic gung ho.

13/05/2012

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The Stage

Natasha Tripney

Part of the problem with the production is that it never defines its terms of engagement. Are the audience being invited to resist, to fight back, to riot? It doesn’t seem so. A bigger sticking point is the writing - the flimsy fable-like narrative on which the production hangs is incredibly simplistic and it’s hard to feel invested in anything that happens. There’s some impressive projection work but the potency of the crowd never really comes into play and most people just end up milling around in the mud, awkward and uncertain.

11/05/2012

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The Daily Telegraph

Charles Spencer

The show ... struck me as a pathetically tame response to one of the most potent of biblical stories. There are some clever projections on the clock tower and for a couple of exciting moments it looks as though one of the evicted homemakers was going to be chucked from its 150 ft summit. But the show dwindles into anticlimax and tiresome platitudes in which we are instructed to “cherish the child that holds your hand.” At this point I thought I might throw up.

11/05/2012

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Time Out

Andrzej Lukowski

It's essentially a riff on the Arab Spring delivered with the sanitised élan of a propaganda video or Disney theme-park ride.

11/05/2012

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The Times

Libby Purves

Yearning to feel something, I did warm to the gentle final procession of singers carrying lanterns shaped like houses, but then got irritated by a bossy instruction to live for the day, love people who love me, and cherish the little child who holds my hand. Aaagh. It’s rained a lot lately, and the lay cast members are absolute heroes to go through with it. But they deserved better from theatre professionals than a facile, preachy, smug script, iced with expensive son et lumière. Having your heart in the right place and a big budget is not enough.

12/05/2012

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The Evening Standard

Henry Hitchings

The star of the show is the tower itself, an ornate Victorian structure. It’s worth recognizing, too, the commitment of the non-professional actors. Yet the end product is a damp squib, whether or not the rain falls.

11/05/2012

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The Guardian

Lyn Gardner

At a time when the Occupy movement is examining new social structures created by and for the people most failed by the old ones, and when millions are displaced around the world because of the whims of the market, there has rarely been a more urgent need for a project such as Babel. But it fails Londoners and theatregoers. It is too politically naive, too lacking in complexity and texture; it never connects the stories of the city in a meaningful way. It may have brought its participants and performers together, but it doesn't involve its audience.

11/05/2012

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The Independent

Holly Williams

After 45 minutes, standing around on waterlogged grass is losing its charm. Sadly, when the play proper gets going, it’s just as muddy. The tower “calls” the people, but security guards want us removed. House-shaped wicker structures are forcibly moved, evoking the struggles at Occupy camps or Dale Farm. But these resonances aren’t really explored; instead the crowd is half-heartedly encouraged to bay at the nasty coppers. The whole thing lacks any real nuance or bite, as the struggles between the good people and ‘the man’ are rather limply played out.

12/05/2012

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