Tag Archives: Gareth Balai


Secret Location



Secret London Location

Reviewed – 23rd July 2019



“a charmingly chaotic chimera of styles; as if Lewis Carroll had been aboard the Dr Who scriptwriting team”


The first, and most important, rule is: “You must keep all you see inside our worlds a secret”. Which kind of lets me off the hook. It gives me license to end the review here and take my coffee into the garden to enjoy the sunshine. It wouldn’t make my editor happy. But nor me, come to think of it. This is one of those events that leave you aching to tell everybody about.

Somewhere in Hoxton, Gingerline, the acclaimed group of dining adventurers, embark on another of their immersive dining experiences. The nomadic theatrical supper club, previously popping up in various secret locations along the East London Line (The ‘ginger’ line on the Tube map) specialise in surprise. I was lucky enough to journey on their ‘Grand Expedition’ back in February – but even that familiarity doesn’t prepare you for the next course.

So, what can I say about this palette twisting, interactive, multi-dimensional dining adventure? There are five chambers (as the title suggests) which represent five different dimensions. These are not so much dimensions as alcoves of the imagination. Recesses that you didn’t know existed, or you’d forgotten were there all along. Chambers, in fact, full of all those colourful thoughts, ideas and perceptions you thought you’d grown out of. And to match this, a cacophony of flavours is served up to tease and then satisfy the palate.

We are told to leave our belongings in the cloakroom before entering this alien world. It is a good idea, too, to leave your mind. Oh – and your expectations, preconceptions, rationality, common sense and reason. You do get your belongings back when you leave. As for the rest – that’s up to you. But what you do take away is a lasting memory of a very different and exhilarating night out. I can’t really tell you more. And you shouldn’t try to find out either.

The experience has a style all of its own. Or rather, it is a charmingly chaotic chimera of styles; as if Lewis Carroll had been aboard the Dr Who scriptwriting team, or Christmas and Easter had a baby. The latter was one of the hosts’ observations – so don’t ask me to explain that particular metaphor. Which is the crux of the evening. It defies explanation. It rejects categorisation, disobeys the rules of entertainment and abandons dining etiquette. All in all, an irresistible recipe.


Reviewed by Jonathan Evans

Photography by David Greig


Gingerline Proudly Presents


Secret London Location 


Previous Gingerline experience:
The Grand Expedition | ★★★★★ | Secret Location | February 2019


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Review of Taming of the Shrew – 5 Stars


Taming of the Shrew

Jack Studio Theatre

Reviewed – 20th July 2017





“strong encapsulating performances from all”



The festival vibe that Lazarus Theatre has created at Brockley Jack Theatre works fantastically well for this vibrant adaptation. Fake grass, bunting, coolboxes, crates of beer, and a festival trolley  all displayed a convincing scene.

With the cast donning ripped t-shirts, summer hats, much glitter (Rachel Dingle) and an enthusiasm all round, the audience immediately embraced the relaxed vibe and were willing to play along. A simple set and familiar modern costumes throughout immediately made this production feel accessible to all.

Luckily this proved important as the cast encouraged waving of flags, shouts and cheers and blowing of bubbles from the audience in various scenes. They seemed willing to participate and comply with the cast, and several asides/seemingly off-script interactions with the audience only added to this fun production.

A strong cast punctuated this adapted script with humour at every opportunity and this approach in direction (Sara Reimers) sat well. Keeping Shakespeare light and relevant. Of note Matthew Foster (Petruchio) and Gareth Balai (Sly) held the stage; interacting with the audience, maintaining strong characters and captivating cast and visitors alike.

Reimers’ adaptation is a fluid, modern version of a well-known play. Combined with superb direction, and a strong cast she is reinventing Shakespeare for a younger audience. This piece works particularly well in this small theatre and in the round. The Brockley Jack pub which is adjoined to the theatre compliments the relaxed festival vibe.

It was clear the audience enjoyed the production throughout and this was embellished by the relaxed environment and strong encapsulating performances from all.


Reviewed by Lucy Marsh

Photography by Adam Trigg




is at Jack Studio Theatre until 5th August



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