Written and performed by Harry Melling and directed by Steven Atkinson, Peddling is an incredibly intimate piece of theatre that will draw you right in, despite the thin piece of gauze that separates the life of the ‘Boy’ from you. Going door to door and attempting to sell his wares under the guise of a Boris Johnson scheme for young offenders, Peddling is about youth lost in modern London. We see a multitude of people answer their doors, endless streets, parks, the city, all seeming to appear before our eyes through Melling’s wonderful and flowing command of language.

With the feel of performance poetry but never too much of a gimmick in its style, the blend of south London dialect and poetic imagery meshes well together, enveloping the increasingly frantic young man we see on stage. Melling appears unrecognisable from his Harry Potter days, a boring cliché about anyone from the franchise but true all the same. His command of the space is impressive, for an actor so young and with such pace being maintained throughout.

A lone telegraph pole stands centre stage, strung up with lights which act as the people answering the door to him as he performs his spiel, using a portable PA system to distinguish his voice from theirs, a simple but clever device.

A piece of theatre that never feels too caught up in its depth and knows perfectly when to stop, peddling showcases an interesting talent in Harry Melling. One to watch, as he continues to peddle his wares.

Peddling is at Arcola Theatre until 28th March. Get tickets here


Venus in Fur at Whirled Cinema

The way you watch a film often has an impact on the viewing experience. If people are talking through a film you’re watching or if you’re on your phone then you’re going to enjoy it infinitely less than if you can give it your whole attention. If you’re in a location that matches the film, the world you’re being transported to will feel all the more real – for instance if you see Breakfast at Tiffany’s at an outdoor cinema in the pouring rain then the end scene will leap off the screen.

A few weeks ago I went to go and check out Whirled Cinema in Loughborough Junction (I can do that because I live in London now which is no big deal whatsoever). Situated under the railway arches of the train station and tucked away next to a gym, Whirled Cinema uses its unique location to offer the cinemagoer something different. With a bar, balcony, and pizzas ordered if you get there before eight, it not only shows the very best art house films from the past few months but does so in a way that shows a true dedication to the art of cinema. As the trains whizz over, full of commuters heading home or people starting their nights out, the rattling noise becomes a part of the atmosphere in the room, punctuating the scenes taking place in front of the audience’s eyes. Occasionally the picture wobbles, and it feels as if the whole room is shaking with the importance of the on screen story.

The film I was lucky enough to get to see whilst there was Venus in Fur from 2013, based on the play by David Ives and directed by Roman Polanski. It follows the audition of Vanda for director and writer Thomas, for his adaptation of the book by Leopold van Sacher-Masoch. Soon the relationship between them and the barriers between audition and reality begin to blur, until what is performance and what is not becomes not only unintelligible but also an unnecessary distinction to make.

When I watch a film what I’m after most of all is to be taken completely out of my own head and to be transported. Venus in Fur not only did this in an interesting way, but where I saw the film also allowed me to venture further into the escapism. Watching a film with an engaged audience that truly connects with a film changes the whole cinema going experience, and at Whirled Cinema it’s clear that, first and foremost, the film’s the thing.

Sian’s radio recommendation of the week: Chain Reaction

I was on my way home from London last week looking desperately for something to listen to on iPlayer radio when I stumbled across Chain Reaction, and what’s more, Caitlin Moran on Chain Reaction.

In case you’re unaware, Caitlin Moran is a journalist for The Times who writes about feminism, loves Sherlock, fancies Paul McCartney, heavily endorses backcombing and eyeliner and has the best twitter going – including all of her twitter conversations with her husband. She is my all time hero, and I found a whole hour of her on the radio, first being interviewed by Tim Minchin (of Matilda the musical song writing fame) and then interviewing Jennifer Saunders (of being bloody amazing fame).

They are both incredibly fun. It’s a pretty special idea, having people interview other people they like and then having those people interview other people on and on like.. a well a chain reaction.

You can listen to Tim Minchin interview Caitlin Moran here

and Caitlin interview Jennifer Saunders here 

I also recommend Chris Addison interviewing Derren Brown and David Tennant interviewing Catherine Tate 


Sian’s radio recommendation of the week: Neverwhere

Radio 4 are repeating their adaptation of the Neil Gaiman TV series and novel Neverwhere, starring James McAvoy, David Harewood and Benedict Cumberbatch, to name just a few of the actors who have lent their voice to the story. Richard Mayhew (McAvoy) helps a lost looking girl and becomes inextricably involved in the magical world of London Below, changing his life forever.

It’s got a fabulous cast, it’s funny and whimsical at the same time and it all makes rather lovely listening. All the episodes are online but you only have one day left to listen to episode one. Get going!