It broke many hearts to see flames violently licking the beautiful Battersea Arts Centre building in March 2015. Astonishingly and luckily the stunning, listed glass dome roof survived and Battersea Arts Centre is rising like Phoenix from the flames.
I went to watch ‘heads up’ by Kieran Hurley, and produced by Show and Tell, on Monday night. Heads up is playing until 1st April and tickets are £10/ £12.50.
The Battersea Arts Centre, although still being rebuilt, is just beautiful and has a wonderful atmosphere. As you walk in there is an amazing tiled floor and an ornate stairwell. On the ground floor there is the Scratch Bar that was busy with theatre goers, people working and friends excitedly chatting. The Scratch Bar is a great, creative space to sit and work from.
At 8pm we were called in to watch ‘Heads Up’. We were led past the obvious signs of reconstruction and debris from the rebuilding works, but this was perfectly apt for the theatre piece we were about to witness.
‘Heads up’ Is about the end of the world, this world, our world, right now. It is the story of 4 people and their last day on earth, interspersed with a little of the narrator.
‘Heads Up’ is a one person show, but this person not only acts all the parts but also plays the soundtrack and controls special effects.
The lights come up on Kieran sitting at a desk with a microphone. The action is fast paced and it jumps from character to character. Setting up their story then summarising their actions and feelings on the last day of their existence.
Kieran Hurley is a huge talent, skilfully jumping from playing a teenage girl ,a drug addled rock star, a preaching office worker, and a disobedient shop worker, as well as himself as the narrator where he talks directly to the audience.
Kieran must also press correct buttons at the tight time to create the soundtrack whilst delivering a beautifully written, but daunting script. A high pitch note effectively signifies the destruction that’s heading our way, and makes you squirm, in the same way it does in horror films.
Kieran’s performance is faultless. I’m an actor and I know it’s your job to learn lines, but what Kieran does over this hour and so sincerely with nothing to hide behind, is astonishing and very exposing.
‘Heads Up’ is uncomfortable and thought-provoking but there is humour also. You find yourself laughing more at the stupidness of some of the new traits of our society, for example if there was an apocalypse would people stop and take selfies?
What would you do if it’s the end of the world? Watch, wait and cry? Or sing, dance and love?
‘Heads Up’ is an interesting and intense piece of theatre, it makes you think about your life and puts things into perspective.
The show has been reviewed by loads of big publications and Kieran deserves all the praise, you can witness a huge talent in an intimate space.
You can support the Battersea Arts Centre by making a donation, visiting and buying tickets and even visiting the bar or purchasing from the online shop with items including parts of the burnt arts centre! Every little helps and this space is so unique and wonderful. So many amazing shows were born and cultivated here and will continue to do so.