Theatre Review: PENNY ARCADE B!D!F!W! - Old Vic Tunnels, Waterloo ✭✭✭


Old Vic Tunnels, Waterloo 

Penny Arcade (Susana Ventura) is the performance artist behind this cabaret of empowerment, sexualism and politics. The entire piece consists of lengthy monologues that explore the topics of homesexuality and sex, with interludes of erotic dancing by some talented young dancers. Audience members also had the opportunity to embrace themselves in dancing on stage if they wanted to.

Whilst most parts of the show were parallel to watching a liberated soul expressing themselves on a soap-box, Arcade’s opening monologue was contrasting and in my opinion the most successful. During this monologue, Penny Arcade played the role of a brothel receptionist, answering calls from some brainless clients. Arcade’s telephone manner must be commended as there was not a hint of the dialogue being scripted and it felt really natural.

A few ‘whoops’ from audience members supported Arcade’s views on homosexuality and the evolution of lesbianism. A particularly poignant moment was where she talked about how she had lost so many friends to HIV in the 80’s. With a change of outfits throughout the show, Arcade’s words were the most important feature here, so much so that we forgot she was completely naked at one point!

Although this show was not my usual choice of theatre, I found it informative and interesting to watch an artist such as Penny Arcade delivering her messages in such a passionate way. If you are interested in sexual politics, I am sure you will want to hear what Penny Arcade has to say, but if not, you might well learn something!

3 stars out of 5 ✭✭✭

Review by Philippa Bellis


Jeremy Goldstein, Time Out Live and The Old Vic Tunnels presents
Created, Written and Performed by Penny Arcade
Co-Directed with Steve Zehentner

8 August – 1 September 2012, 7pm
Wednesdays – Sundays only
Pre-show erotic dancing and drinks from 7.00pm for 7:30pm start

The Old Vic Tunnels,
Leake Street

Tickets: £15 (includes £1 restoration levy)
VIPS: £25 (includes £1 restoration levy) – includes table seating by the stage and complimentary drink
Available at / 0844 871 7628