Theatre Review: Babel - Caledonian Park, London

 Directed by Bill Mitchell

Wednesday 10th May: BABEL is a site specific performance that will happen come rain or shine, so sporting some rather attractive wellies, the audience of over 300 start queuing outside Caledonian park; conversation is that of intrigue as we all wonder what is in store. 

Upon entering the park the audience members are ushered down a pathway, along which there is a community living amongst the shrubbery. We are guided through this magical yet seemingly poverty stricken neighbourhood and observe the people go about their daily lives, sleeping, eating, reciting poetry, even lifting weights.  All this happens under the ever watchful eye of stern security guards that strike fear in the people and in some cases even the audience members.

There is a scurry of activity & excitement as a woman announces that ‘it is time’ and the community and audience are led into the main park where the iconic tower stands. The festival type atmosphere is electric, with so much going on you are left with the dilemma of what to see and do first. There is so much for the audience to get involved with and observe, including, music, monologues, martial arts, dance and crafts. As the story unfolds the audience is absorbed deeper within the performance and care more and more about the outcome of the people.

The roots of BABEL go far back, beyond memory, to one of our first stories – ‘in the beginning the people was one’. These people felt compelled to gather, to create something extraordinary together, and so they built a city and the Tower. Over time both were abandoned, the people fled to the far corners of the earth and the first tribes were formed. Not only is the park a magical setting for the performance it is also a relevant location historically, Caledonian Park was chosen as the site for BABEL, because it so closely mirrors the story itself, with its very own clock tower and a multi-layered history.

BABEL is a fable about the things that matter. The things that bind us together and keep us apart. It’s about the incredible things we can do together, the power of memory and our common humanity. The production involved within this performance is superb; in particular the use of art projection is absolutely fantastic; Babel really is a theatrical experience like no other and is not to be missed!
Performances of BABEL will be running from the 8th to the 20th of May 2012.

By Rachel Toye