An interview by edward Gosling, published on Run Riot
Eastend Cabaret have been making a bit of a stir, touring internationally and winning the odd award to boot. Now coming to the Southbank as part of the Festival of Neighbourhood and London Wonderground, new show Silencio promises to be ‘an extraordinary multi-sensory journey painstakingly created from a treasure trove of b-movie film footage and populated by a curious collection of live acts.’
Run Riot’s Ed Gosling caught up with the debauched duo Victor Victoria & Bernadette Byrne to find out just what they’ve got in store.
EG: What are your favourite films? Are you big horror and b-movie fans?
VV: Yes! I’m a little bit of a wimp when it comes to horror, but I love the old Kung Fu b-movies of the 70s. “Master of the Flying Guillotine” is completely brilliant, and even “The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension”: seriously silly, and utterly bonkers.
BB: I am definitely a fan. I love ‘Plan 9 from Outer Space’- Vampira is amazing, also ‘Attack of the 50 foot woman’ is pretty good too, it’s like King Kong but sexy.
EG: So where did the idea for this show come about and what was the process from conception up till now? Just how painstaking has it been?
BB: Victy and I were drinking late night gin and came across some clips from 50s B movies on YouTube.
VV: A proper geeky dude had collated all these scenes, then we started delving deeper, into archived films that didn’t get a DVD release. The idea of creating a new, strange world from it all, combining live performance and film came upon us … we were intrigued.
EG: How closely have you been working with Triple A Films, Time out Live and 33 Events? What has each group brought to the show?
BB: it has been a very collaborative process, with everyone coming together and bring their own expertise to such a diverse project.
VV: Plus its an unwritten agreement that we take it in turns to bring snacks when we meet up.
EG: This show seems to be purposely trying to take a different approach to traditional cabaret by mixing live action cinema and circus acts all in an immersive space. Did you feel like doing something ambitious from the start or is that just the way it’s turned out? VV: Yes. We were thinking big from the very beginning, and incorporating so many artistic disciplines was always the plan. And the Wonderground is a wonderful place to bring slightly unconventional ideas. But this is only phase one!
BB: We do like a challenge, but sometimes you just have to let the show guide you.
EG: Do you feel this is a new approach for you or is it something you’ve been building up to for a while?
BB: It is something totally different for us. It is amazing what gin can do!
VV: And we’re glad to be working with people who will happily entertain our most outlandish ideas! Although the life-sized lazer-shooting robot was not given the go-ahead, sadly…
EG: Without giving too much away can you tell us one thing in this show you’re particularly proud of or pleased with one thing for audiences to look out for?
BB: Well the sexy zombie nurses are pretty amazing.
VV: And make sure you get there early. The eccentric Silencio ushers have to be seen to be believed.
EG:There are some great circus and cabaret shows on at the Southbank over the summer, have you managed to see any of them? Who in the cabaret world do you most admire? BB: Limbo is absolutely amazing. The cast are so supremely talented, the things that they can do with their bodies are absolutely amazing.
VV: There are so many wonderful performers in the cabaret world (who we are now very humbled to count as colleagues and friends!) but you should definitely not miss Le Gateau Chocolat’s new show. He is possessed of a voice that will melt you completely – and a wardrobe of which we’re all incredibly jealous!
EG: If this show goes well will you be doing anything similar in the future? Or is each show you do something new and different?
BB: We would love to take ‘Silencio’ onwards if the first version goes well, to different spaces and perhaps even on tour around the world.
VV: Definitely. There are still some unexplored regions of this parallel universe left to explore!