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30 June 2011
Surreal sleepover the perfect Lullaby at the Barbican

Jon Dean: Tottenham and Wood Green Journal

Toothbrush? Check. Pyjamas? Check. Shower Gel? Check. Not, perhaps, a classic checklist for a Tuesday night visit to the theatre, but absolutely essential if you’re off to see Lullaby, the new show from interactive theatre specialists Duckie.

The idea behind this unusual performance is to transform the Pit of the Barbican into a massive bedroom, in which an audience of 50 people lay in beds and are lulled into a peaceful nights sleep by a series of soothing songs and stories.

A cup of cocoa is provided before the show and no mobile phones are allowed into the auditorium to disturb your reverie. After seven deep, restful hours sleep, you are gently woken and breakfast is served before you shower and change and go on your merry way. Or, at least, that’s the plan.

As you might expect, I was slightly nervous en route to this grown-up slumber party, with literally no idea what to expect. The theatre staff, specially clad in striped PJ’s for the occasion, were quick to put me at my ease and serve up a much-needed night cap.

Once everyone was settled into their beds the entertainment began - a series of surreal images swirling about the dimly lit theatre. Flying white elephants, singing octopi and strange, tall-headed magicians pranced about like dreams made manifest as I drifted in and out of consciousness.

After a brief pause, the second half was a more thoughtful, introspective affair, designed to send you up the wooden hills. Familiar faces from the first act returned in mutated form, and the soft voiced narrator told various confusing tales. As these descended into weird, whispered passages, there was barely an open eye in the house.

In the morning, the relaxing wake-up call planned by Duckie was marred somewhat by some thoughtless chap’s alarm going off at half seven. Can’t grumble too about this, and despite the fact I didn’t sleep remarkably well, the whole experience was very pleasant, if a little odd. Not one for the cautious theatre goer, but if you fancy something a bit different, well worth a go.

Lullaby by Duckie is at the Barbican, every night at 10.30pm except Monday, until July 24. Tickets £42 including breakfast. Over 16s only.

Hotline: +44 (0)20 7737 4043

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