Cabaret Interview Caro Meets Musicals & Opera Interview

Wind-Up Collective: Black Pudding, Anyone?

By | Published on Tuesday 5 March 2013


Wind-Up Collective’s cabaret musical ‘Black Pudding’ makes its way to The Bussey Building this week, and, given that Gay Times called the piece “fresh and incredibly funny”, as well as “intrinsically beautiful”, well, it sounds like we’re in for a good show. We put some questions to this clearly-very-talented group, and they all got involved with answering them, which is lovely. Read on, for more info about the show, the company, and cake.

TW: What is ‘Black Pudding’ about? Does it have actual black pudding in it?
Rebecca: ‘Black Pudding’ is a party in which the guests are invited to both observe and take part in the surreal antics of some memorable – and some obscure – fairy tale characters.
Samuel: They all have their own social commentary to spin; ultimately challenging the norms, attitudes, and values society places on people, and in particular children, in a playful, sometimes silly, and ultimately dark way.
Daniel: Behind the glitz and glamour of the cabaret musical, the show tackles social issues and has a strong message. Definitely an immersive experience with a twist.
Chris: Whilst there isn’t any actual black pudding in the show, there is cake… and what kind of party would it be without cake?

TW: It’s a devised piece, involving all sorts of stuff – physical theatre, clowning, music – can you tell us something about the process of bringing it all together? And does it have a continuous plot (as opposed to say, being a series of vignettes)?
Samuel: Each of us brings something different to the company, whether it’s music, live art, cabaret, physical theatre, and so on, and we take pleasure in mixing these together by sharing ideas, improvising scenes, and responding in our own ways to each other’s work.
Daniel: We created these twisted versions of fairytale characters, threw them all together in an immersive party and thought we’d see what would happen.
Rebecca: We separately wrote and devised scenes and songs and helped one another to develop these and combine them within the overall story.
Chris: There is a continuous plot, formed from a series of cross narratives and character interactions.

TW: Which is your favourite fairy tale character?
Samuel: I feel for the Ugly Duckling, the Little Mermaid, and the Steadfast Tin Soldier, due to their vulnerable outsider statuses.
Billy: Peter Pan is heartbreaking. “The boy who can never grow up” – at first you think, wow, awesome! And then you realise the implications.
Rebecca: Growing up it was always Belle from ‘Beauty and the Beast’. She was the first Disney princess with some actual balls.
Katrina: Tinkerbell was always a favourite of mine growing up. She was a feisty little thing.
Chris: It has to be the beast from ‘Beauty and the Beast.’ I’m mainly referencing the Disney version, but I like how his flaws as a person were then accentuated and manifested in his beast form, which ultimately forced him to face them.

TW: How did Wind-Up Collective come together?
Samuel: We met at Battersea Arts Centre two years ago, and with the opportunity to perform some work, we devised a scratch of our first piece ‘Box Junction’. It was well-received, and we’ve had the continuous pleasure of working and playing together ever since.

TW: Your blurb says you like to “push boundaries” – how do you see yourselves as doing that, and why do you think it is important to do so?
Samuel: We do so by creating narratives on issues that we feel need addressing, and by overtly interacting with our audiences.
Rebecca: We push boundaries by not allowing ourselves to have any! We will devise a scene and see how we can push it even further.
Chris: The contrast between the audio and visuals and the issues explored creates an undercurrent of humour which makes stronger and more exciting work.
Daniel: We want to make shows that are accessible too, with strong messages underneath – ‘Black Pudding’ is especially exciting in this regard.
Billy: How boring would it be if no one took risks? You’d have a British theatre scene stuck in Shakespeare and restoration comedy, no new ideas coming to the table.
Katrina: It’s brilliant to be part of a company where you can push your own abilities as an actor.

TW: Why did you choose to stage the show at The Bussey Building?
Samuel: The venue is simply magical and suitably quirky for us as a company as well as the show.
Rebecca: The adaptability of the space really appealed because it means we can really push our piece to its limits.
Billy: There’s something very cool about using non-traditional theatre spaces.
Chris: It’s also great to perform in an up and coming cultural hotspot which has already played host to some brilliant shows and companies.
Katrina: We instantly knew when we walked into the space that it was an ideal venue for ‘Black Pudding’.

TW: Will ‘Black Pudding’ go on elsewhere? What plans do you have for it?
Samuel: After The Bussey Building, ‘Black Pudding’ will so far move on to Oxford House, The Accidental Festival at the Roundhouse, and Rich Mix. We have plans for a summer run, to go to the Edinburgh Fringe, and to tour festivals across the country, before world domination of course.
Daniel: Ideally, following tours (including abroad) we’d love to turn this into a major-scale audience-immersive promenade production – we’ll definitely be looking into this when the time’s right!

TW: Do you have any other shows in the pipeline?
Katrina: We’re pretty busy with ‘Black Pudding’ at the moment, but there are always new ideas bubbling away in the Wind-Up pot so you’ll just have to wait and see!

‘Black Pudding’ is on at the Bussey Building from 7-9 Mar – book tickets here or here – and then at Oxford House, Bethnal Green on 15 Mar.  

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