Theatre Review: Surviving a Terrorist Attack

Written by: Victoria Highfield

BU21 is a bare, brutal and beautifully honest London terror drama.

What would you do if you witnessed a terrorist attack and lived to tell the tale? Stuart Slade brings its audience into direct contact with a survivors group of 6 Londoners each affected by the plane crash of fated flight BU21 in Fulham.

This daring new play is a darkly comic insight into how we cope when tragedy strikes in the most unlikely of places.

North Four, North London magazine, BU21, Theatre review, terrorist attacks London

“Every night on the news there’s literally always some sort of massively catastrophic end-of-the-world shit going down: genocide, earthquake, terrorism, school shooting – it’s endless, you know? And I always wonder ‘how would I cope, if that happened to me?”

I looked around the room at furrowed brows. Amidst a political climate of Trump, Brexit and the war on terror this couldn’t have been more topical albeit rather grim. Paris, Brussels, Berlin… Slade shows London as the next target. The audience shift slightly in their chairs. We were about to witness our very own 911 (yes, it really is that hard hitting) sprawled out and bloody on the Kings Road. 

Sitting in a circle, heads down underneath a harsh strip lighting we meet our characters. All undergoing PSTD therapy, taking turns to come up and speak, almost guiltily, like some awkward AA meeting. Think of a really maimed version of Friends.

North Four, North London magazine, BU21, Theatre review, terrorist attacks London

At first they are lone voices yet as the 90 minutes unravel these become interlocking monologues; they share (surprising) bonds which ‘blossom’ into relationships, some of which more compromising than others.

Our current obsession with social media is presented in the opening scene through PR exec Izzy, who rather shockingly discovers that her mum is dead via Twitter. Her reaction at knowing the news is revulsion – out of all of the people on the Kings Road that day it was her mum that was torn apart by the burning fuselage. We’re introduced to pretty uni student Floss who witnessed a falling man plummet from the plane and land in her back garden, all whilst locking eyes for a brief moment, her cheese sandwich still in hand. There’s Ana, a Romanian waitress wheelchair bound and suicidal after suffering from severe burns. Followed by Clive, a young Muslim, scared forever by the crash yet falsely portrayed as a terrorist conspirator. There’s Graham, the eye witness who also happens to be a bigoted racist.

North Four, North London magazine, BU21, Theatre review, terrorist attacks London

And finally there’s Alex, a coked up city banker who sees the survivors group as ‘a perfect place to pull’. We know he’s in mourning but to be honest he’s a bit of a dick.

However it’s Alex that steals the show by breaking the forth wall in this verbatim play. His voice drips with scathing and bitter sarcasm as he baits his audience, asking why we’ve come to watch a play with such strong subject matter. He says the things we all secretly think but are not allowed to say. Are we all furtively into tragedy porn? As Graham says, why do we all slow down to watch the wreckage of a car crash on the motorway? Terrible as it may seem is it human nature?  It seems we have a fascination in stories surrounding disaster. Alex brazenly accuses his audience of racism for thinking that the only Muslim character is a terrorist. However this was actually a deliberate move by Slade’s narrative which was brave in its discussion of Islam extremism and the sensitive subject of race.

North Four, North London magazine, BU21, Theatre review, terrorist attacks London

Aside from a tea trolley and a set of plastic chairs, Director Dan Pick creates an intimate setting of a vertically bare stage. This only heightened the intensity of this provocative drama and exposed the actors’ emotional cabling for all to see. I loved the pure realness of the performance and its ability to laugh in the face of death.

Despite its depressing subject nature, the audience left uplifted. We’re Londoners who pull together in the face of adversity as we always do. Rich vs poor, North vs South we’re in it together and for the long haul.  We love the characters – as shitty and twisted as they are – because there’s a little part of us in each of them.

Brave Sir Robin Opening 14th December 2017
Eat & Drink

Local Thinking, Craft Beer Drinking: Brave Sir Robin Launches in Crouch Hill

Carouse founders Chris, Theo and Ben – the charming folk behind Kentish Town’s Rose and Crown – have a new venture afoot and we couldn’t be more bloody excited to see it. We’ve been creeping in their windows, peering through the paint and sneaking glimpses at builders’ bums for a few months now (okay, maybe not the last one), watching these guys transform this cosy corner of Crouch Hill into a rather cool little boozer. Now they’re opening and everyone is invited. Come one, come all, and try all 20 of their beers on tap with us.

Read More...
Back of persons head with cigarette tucked over ear
Events

Body Hammer: Clubbing, but not how you know it

Last month I decided to try clubbing again. I don’t quite know what came over me, but I actually (brace yourselves) enjoyed it. I went to Body Hammer’s monthly party in Manor House and I’m here to tell you to go too, whether you love clubbing, hate clubbing, or really couldn’t care either way. #notspon

Read More...
Close up of person shoving a stuffed potato skin into her mount at Skins in The Magic Roundabout for North Four Magazine
Eat & Drink Events

Go Your Own Way at Skins' Fleetwood Mac & Cheese Night

Rich, fried, buttery, potato-y vessels loaded with flavor combinations that go down rather well with craft beer, late nights and good times. Ha, who am I kidding, EVERYTHING goes down well with beer. You heard that right buddy, loaded potato skins are back with a bang (and a generous portion of bacon) and are currently being served at Old Street's The Magic Roundabout by street food pop-up Skins and we could not be any happier. Well, unless they were to stuff it with, say, Mac and Cheese or risotto. Oh, that's exactly what they do? Well paint me green and call me a cucumber.

Read More...
Christmas Gift Guide by Pretty Shiny Shop in Stroud Green North London
Lifestyle List

A Very Pretty Shiny Christmas Gift Guide

Magical gifts, wonderful gifts, marvellous gifts, beautiful gifts, gifts, glorious gifts glo-ri-ous giiiiiifts. Please Sir, I want some more. It’s that time of year again and whether you love it or loath it gifts will be purchased and presented into expectant hands. Stroud Green's very own Pretty Shiny Shop have compiled a gift guide to help ease the shopping shock. Imagine only having to trot to your local gift shop and tick off your entire shopping list in one fell swoop. Done, finito, terminado! To make it that little sweeter, it's also all very affordable... so you won't even have to pick a pocket or two.

Read More...
Three people clinking plastic glasses in the air in a tent with people in the background at Thor's Tipi Bar in Regent's Place
Eat & Drink Events

Drink, Feast, Conquer, Repeat. Thor's Tipi Bar Has Arrived.

Alright guys, it’s happening. The frosty charm of December is, once again, being beaten to a pulp by the capitalists’ wet dream: Christmas. The hideous twinkling of artificial outdoor lighting is starting to appear, with tourists flocking from far and wide to watch D-list celebrities press a button. Invitations to Christmas parties flood in from your multiple part-time jobs, ensuring you make bad decisions bi-weekly til next year. Supermarkets are selling 12-day advent calendars containing confetti, cookie cutters and candles for a flawless £50. And oh, how the mulled wine flows.

Read More...
Girl peeking through gold and pink balloons at Top Balloon in Shop Stroud Green for North Four Magazine
Eat & Drink Events

Shop Stroud Green Christmas Trail 2017

Who doesn’t love a cheeky statistic, correctly sourced? You know we do. Well, did you know that for every £1 spent with a small business, 63p is re-spent in the local area, as opposed to a measly 40p in every £1 re-spent locally with larger businesses? An absolute travesty, am I right? That 23p has to mean something, right, guys?! Guys? Guys, where are you going? Wait, there’s freebies involved too!

Read More...
Eat & Drink Events Lifestyle List

Top 4 'Christmas is just a bad excuse for a' Winter Markets

By gum there are a lot of winter markets this year. Fueled by sickly sweet mulled wine and overpriced pulled pork sliders, we’ve managed to wade our way through the murky waters of winter markets and find some decent looking ones round this here part of town. Don’t let our Grinch-esq vibes put you off (I’m more of a Pancake Day person myself) because, if you’re into markets, you’ll probably like these. Read on, if you’re merrier than us.

Read More...
The Vinteriors team and Mary le Comte at Moseyhome in Finsbury Park, North London for 'Style My Shop'.
Lifestyle

Style My Shop: Vinterior x Moseyhome

Take a short walk along Finsbury Park’s own sunset strip and you’ll find MoseyHome, an interiors retailer and styling consultancy who have invited us to collaborate with them on an exciting new series titled 'Style My Shop', in which they invite some of London's most talented interiors experts to quite literally style their shop. Interiors porn at it's finest.

Read More...
Eat & Drink Events List

Top Five "It's That Time Of Year Again" Things To Do This Winter

Why was the snowman sad? Because he had a meltdown. Much like us, every year, when winter comes. It’s cold, it’s dark, and we know Christmas is on its way. But hey, it’s not all bad – the events round this time of year can be pretty swell. So don your scarf-shawl-blanket and get your frolic on, it’s time for fairy lights, scarfing mulled wine and stuffing your face!

Read More...
Hand feeling colourful splashes of artwork at Smith and Sinclair Flavour Gallery
Culture Eat & Drink Events

Suck it at The Flavour Gallery

Touch, taste, smell, hear and create art. Smith & Sinclair, purveyors of the Edible Cocktail, presents The Flavour Gallery: a multi-sensory adventure that’ll seduce your senses and tickle your taste buds beyond all imagination. Ooh matron!

Read More...
Hodgepodge on Crouch Hill, North London. New restaurant opening November 2017
Eat & Drink

New Opening: Hodgepodge Crouch Hill

Offering modern British cuisine with a smokey twist, Crouch Hill's newest contender to its foodie scene, Hodge Podge, is all minimal styling and hearty yet inventive dishes.

Read More...
Cartoon of vampires standing in tunnel for London Horror Festival
Events List

Top 4 ‘Eat, drink and be scary’ All Hallows haunts

Brush the cobwebs off your sexy banana costume; it’s that time of year to make a tit of yourself in fancy dress again. We’ve rounded up the most spine-chilling Halloween happenings in North London and, trust us, they sound horrendous. Be afraid, be very afraid.

Read More...
Eat & Drink Events

The Moroccan Medina at The Queen of Hoxton Rooftop

God bless the Queen... of Hoxton. Or, more specifically, their rooftop - which happens to be one of our favourites in this here city of London. These guys are well known for creating beautiful, seasonal pop-ups which have included the Nordic Viking themed 'Skye Halla' and the Neverland inspired 'Bangarang'. This winter make way for 'The Moroccan Medina', a sky high hideaway inspired by the romanticism of the beguiling ancient city of Marrakesh.

Read More...
Mento, floristry cafe in finsbury park, North London
Eat & Drink

Mento: Flowers and Coffee

Next time you need a caffeine hit why not take it from a cup brewed from Jamaican beans grown under a canopy of rainforest-preserving trees, whilst eating a home made vegan banana bread as you sit among an array of sweetly scented blooms. Welcome to Mento, Finsbury Park.

Read More...
Eat & Drink

Pilgrim: A Unique Spanish Pop-up Dining Experience

Pilgrim, the newest kid to Hackney's pop-up scene, is a unique dining experience inspired by the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage. This six course tasting menu includes regional dishes with a contemporary twist not yet seen before in London.

Read More...