Faust @ The Young Vic

The all too familiar story of Faust gets a makeover in this new production at the Young Vic theater in London. Based on Goethe’s ‘Faust’,  Vesturport and the Reykjavík City Theater kick the London stage doors open and bring you a production very different from anything you’ve seen before. With music by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, the audience enters a dream like state, never knowing what will happen next….

It’s difficult to describe what the show is like to be honest…. comedy meets acrobatics, which meets theater, which in turn meets musical, and finally meets a horror film. It was the first time I’d ever seen an Icelandic theater group, and I must say, I was quite impressed.

At first the show started out a bit slow… and I almost fell asleep. I knew there were acrobatics involved, but while I was watching the opening scene, I couldn’t imagine how they would fit in…at all. Finally, something happened…and most people in the audience jumped as a reaction to what they were watching. Without giving too much away, there is of course a devil involved in this show….this can be deduced if you’ve ever read the story of Dr. Faust, or seen any play on the topic. The devil in this production had two minions, and all three of them look like they really were from a world down under.

The auditorium was ideally set up for this kind of entertainment where a net was positioned above the audiences’ heads and was often used by the actors to jump around, or fall out of the sky.  Actually, an entire scene took place on the net above us, and it was funny to see everyone with their necks tilted up, watching to see what would happen next… The consistency of everything was refreshing, and its a great achievement that the effect of the acrobatics was successfully enhanced by lighting and music.

The nightmare-ish performance played on a lot of themes regarding faith and human temptation. Smack in the middle of the stage, nailed to the set was a wreath which alternated from Christmas decoration to an inverted pentagram. So, if you are one of those people that go to church every Sunday, believe in no sex before marriage, read the bible before going to bed and have protested outside a cinema when they were showing Mel Gibson’s ‘Passion of the Christ’….. I don’t think this show is for you. The truth is  that watching certain things played out in front of you gets you thinking about yourself. Throughout the entire show I thought “what would I do if I had this opportunity?” and the answer is “I really don’t know”. It’s easy to claim we believe… but when our belief is put to the test, how well do we score?

Aside from religion however, which is the obvious topic to stress, there are a lot of other underlying facts of life that were dealt with on stage. The relationship between a man and a woman….the difference between men and women….the way old people are treated once they are put in a home…the real bond between a brother and sister, and if there is one at all…

To wrap up, the point of this post is to suggest to whoever reads it that going to see this production is well worth it. I tried my best not to give away too much, but if you know the subject its hard not to know the story, only this time, you don’t know how it will be played out. It is definitely unconventional, and my suggestion, to really get you into the mood, is to have a couple of drinks before and during the show…. trust me, it makes the experience much better.

For more info on the production and how to get tickets Click Here

For more info on Vesturport (the cast) Click Here

Busaba Eathai

A Busaba is a Thai flower , and Eathai is a fusion of the word eat + thai. Busaba Eathai is the brain child of Alan Yau, the man behind Wagamama, Hakkasan and Yauatcha.

The restaurant boasts a casual dining experience for its customers. There are 5 branches in total, 4 in the west end, and 1 in Shoreditch. I have been to the one on Wardour Street, and to the one on Store Street (where I was last night and the inspiration behind this  very post)

When I got there, the person that I was meeting had not arrived yet, but I was pleasantly greeted at the door by a lovely Portuguese guy who promised me a table in only a few minutes, and chatted with me while I waited. When I got seated, the manager sent over a glass of Prosecco as a thank you for waiting. My dinner companion was running late, and the waitress was coming around and checking to see if I was ok quite frequently. When he finally arrived, she came to take our order.

When I’m out, I have a tendency to ask the waitresses/waiters to suggest things from the menu for me. This is a sort of test to see how much they know about the place they work in. A good employee in the restaurant/bar world, should know the entire menu off by heart and be able to suggest an array of dishes and drinks to their customers. Our waitress passed the test, and was eager and able to give her opinion, and explain why she suggested what she did. Very good start.

Our order was :

Som tam – green papaya salad with dried shrimp and cherry tomato : we were promised that the salad wouldn’t be too spicy, and that our dried shrimps would come on the side. Neither of the two happened, which was disappointing because I had a lot of faith in the girl. Nevertheless, the salad was OK, maybe a little too much liquid at the bottom, but all in all good

Cod fillet stir-fry with Thai garlic, krachai, kaffir lime and chilli : The cod was great. Even though it was quite spicy, it was very enjoyable. The only downside to the dish was that the portion wasn’t too big

Char-grilled duck in tamarind sauce with Chinese broccoli : There was a lot of debate about this dish. The waitress told us it was her personal favorite, and I told her that I am extremely picky with duck, but that I would trust her. The order was a good portion, and the duck was cooked well, and tasted good. I think it would have been great if it was cooked about 1 minute less, but it was fine overall

Jasmine rice : not much to say about the rice other than, it was normal

Nam polamai carrot, apple, celery, dandelion and nettle extract – Juice : this was my juice, which I hated, and didn’t drink at all. All I could taste was the celery, but that’s probably my fault for ordering it, since I don’t like celery!

Nam polamai carrot, apple, celery, dandelion and nettle extract – Juice : didn’t try it but my friend drank it all, so good sign.

When you think about it, all this seems like a lot, but it really isn’t. We could have ordered more but were weren’t that hungry. My prior experience from the last time at the Wardour Street branch didn’t impress me, so I was hesitant to go again, however it wasn’t that bad. I think Busaba does a great job in terms of ambiance. The lighting is nice & dim, the burning incense gives off a sense of balanced ease, and the wood rests your eyes with its earthiness. On the downside, the place can get really noisy since most tables are communal (they would have done a better job utilizing the space) and sometimes you have to shout to be heard.

[Insert Typical Welcome Message Here]

This is my first post ever. I hope that many more will follow. For now, all i can say is Welcome to my Blog, and hopefully it will grow into a great community where people can stop by and share their thoughts and feelings. For me, this is a way to reach out to people all over the world that I’d never get a chance to interact with otherwise.

Please feel free to share anything that comes to mind.

– C