The culture: Summer Shorts series, Borough Market. Part of IMMERGE, a series of events leading up to Southbank’s MERGE Festival
The cheap seats: £3 for 15 minutes perched on a bench in a chic cream caravan
I love me a pop-up so when I spotted a gorgeous pastel-painted vintage caravan being wheeled into the Market Hall at Borough Market earlier this week I was very excited. Now that the sun’s out and we’re enjoying a bit of a heatwave, all bets were on a new trendy spot for zeitgeist treats. Maybe cold brew coffee or some whacky gelato flavours. Instead, Robin Linde productions brings us CARAVAN THEATRE. Theatre. In a caravan.
As a culture vulture and a girl with fond memories of childhood holidays in a one-axle, four-bed wobble box, this news was genuinely just as thrilling as the thought of that chilled espresso. The Summer Shorts series runs for six weeks, with a different new 15 minute play each week, cramming two performances per hour into the miniature moveable theatre. First up is ‘Sea View’ written by Claire Wilson and performed by Maya Wasowicz and Robin Steegman. We climb into the ‘van to find our heroine, Angela, penning a suicide letter she’s drafted so many times that she knows it by heart. But instead of drowning herself Virginia Woolf-style she decides to run away to a caravan site with her life in a Tesco’s carrier bag.
Finally living in a ‘room’ with a view, away from the disturbances of the modern world, Angela has finished her novel and eagerly awaits news from her publisher. However her idyllic life is about to be shattered by campsite politics and the great tyranny of the new toilet block plans. Enter Angela’s neighbour, a fellow caravanner and general busy body. The pair bicker about the positioning of the loos, Angela fiercely guarding her view of the ocean and her opponent defending its proposed cliff-top spot in the name of the site’s goats. As a childless writer and a mum of four, the pair seem like polar opposites but, of course, they soon find they are strikingly similar.
There’s only so much you can do in fifteen minutes in a caravan. The back stories are inevitably brief and the glimmer of sisterhood it seems to be building up to is quickly extinguished by an abrupt ending. But ‘Sea View’ is a good story enthusiastically told and this cosy, gimmicky theatre is really quite fun.
Find more information and the full programme over at mergefestival.co.uk/summer-shorts