The area between Tower Bridge and London Bridge is not only a place full of office buildings and business, but a rather popular tourist area, with people from all over the world taking interests in our beautiful Tower Bridge, HMS Belfast, the scare attractions and now the unavoidable eyesore they call the Shard. However, in the summertime for a whole 11 years now, this area has attracted not only the locals and tourists but many people from all over London, thanks to The Scoop at More London putting on shows for free in the open air.
This year, to celebrate its tenth birthday, the Scoop has gone back to Sophocles’s drama of Oedipus. At 6pm they start off with a children’s musical rendition of The Prince Of Thebes, which tells the story of the young Prince Oedipus who has been warned by an Oracle never to go back home, he meets Prince Arcas who has been turned into a bear and a young girl called Pandora who has let all the evils out of a box into the world, they all head out on a mission to help each other and eventually come to a fight with an evil Sphinx. At 8pm, once most of the children have gone to bed, the cast put on a traditional story of Oedipus and Antigone, which tells the brutal story of how Oedipus’s life unfolds when he lives as the new king of Thebes and realises he has killed his own father and married his mother.
If these productions were not free, there is not doubt that people would pay for them, as the acting in both was of top quality, and the music and choreography were an absolute joy to watch in the children’s The Prince of Thebes. During that show, not only were the kids filled with joy, but even the teenagers pretending to be too cool cracked a smile and the adults were practically on the floor with laughter. Other than being a show that is humorous for all ages, it also is educating for the younger ones (and perhaps some adults), teaching about equality among the genders. A line that rather stood out for me was: “Where there is love, there is family”.
As the night moves on from an uplifting light-hearted show to the more serious Greek drama, you are not sure you are quite in the mood for such a deep and cold story. With the gripping acting, enchanting scenery and a great atmosphere, your mood is in fact altered to enjoy this as much as the first one, and it is definitely worth waiting the extra hour to watch it.
This free theatre brings the community together and makes such a worthwhile night out sitting by the river (hoping that it does not rain) and shows just how vibrant our theatre culture is. These companies are doing a brilliant job for London, and donations can be made on the More London website or at one of their brilliant shows. It really is an evening you don’t want to miss.
The Thebans Season will be playing at The Scoop until 1 September 2013. For more information and tickets see The More London Website. Photo by Sheila Burnett.