When 12 people live under the same roof in a converted warehouse in North London, what could possibly go wrong?
In this funny and off the wall cabaret, Lala Barlow and Robbie Smith are two wide eyed koalas fresh off the boat, looking for the perfect place to call home. Over 60 minutes, relive their year living at Daisy Mill as they discover high ceilings, bathroom baskets and very thin bedroom walls.
Directed by Sarah Redmond and starring every housemate you’ve ever lived with, is a celebration of the joys of share housing and the people you meet along the way.
TP: What is the show about?
Lala: Two years ago, Robbie and I decided to pack up our lives here in Melbourne and move everything over to London for a two year adventure. In a nutshell, the cabaret is essentially our first year living in London, but more specifically, our year living inside a converted warehouse in the northern London borough of Harringey and the 10 characters from all corners of the world that we lived with during that time. It’s musical theatre, camp character comedy heaven, particularly for those of us that have share-house in the past and are all too aware of all of those intrusive housemate scenarios that undoubtedly arise when living with people that you didn’t choose to live with who you don’t really know that well. And hell, when there’s ten of them!
TP: How did you come up with the concept for the show?
Robbie: During our year living at Daisy Mill, there would so often be things that would happen in the warehouse, dramas that would occur or conversations taking place and Robbie and I would look at each other and think ‘dear god is this actually happening?’. Things that you think are so outrageous, so farcical and yet, here they were, playing out in real time in our shared kitchen area! We couldn’t suppress these stories, and any theatre person will testify how much we all love a good story! We had a bank of tales here, ready and raring to go so we made something of them. If I remember correctly, it was actually the night before we were moving out of the warehouse (into a lovely and private studio apartment) when Lala and I grabbed a bottle of wine, some markers and a few sheets of butcher’s paper and sat down on the floor of our bedroom and started mapping out what all of this could potentially look like. We moved out. And The Worst Little Warehouse started to gain momentum and start taking shape.
TP: So are all the characters in the show real life people?
Robbie: In short, yes. We’ve changed names and fiddled around with some particles of the storytelling but most of the dramas that unfold during the course of the cabaret are based very closely on real warehouse events. Same as the characters, we’re exacerbated their personality traits ‘slightly’ but what you see is so close to what we got when we lived there. Anyone that’s been to London will tell you, you are never too weird or wacky in that city! It’s where the weird and wonderful gather and boy does it make for some great stage material!
TP: What can audiences expect to see during a performance of The Worst Little Warehouse in London?
Lala: Firstly, music. Robbie and I essentially play the whole thing on our digital keyboard. She’s our favourite housemate. There’s some nifty little ‘piano-ography’ in there too for those of you who like to hang on the edge of your seat waiting for an actor to go wrong ha! There’s plenty of musical theatre references in there for the die-hards, but pop-culture also has quite a strong presence within our show and we have deliberately aimed to keep the show vibrant, current and relevant to the on-goings of society, politics and the world around us. And of course, a plethora of relatable, shame-able and completely tangible share housing stories that will make your skin crawl and your belly ache. The whole premise of our show relies on the actor-audience commonality of everyone’s progression into adulthood via route of share-housing. You’d be hard pressed to find someone in this day and age that hasn’t lived with people other than their parents, be it during college or between jobs. It’s such a universally shared past-time that lends itself to so much hilarity and we honestly thing that almost anyone can relate to our show.
Robbie: If you’ve ever lived in a share-house, you’ll find plenty of common ground to laugh at. If you love musical theatre, you’ll get your fair share of show references, toe tapping tunes and camp choreography. If you love the unpredictability of cabaret, it’s a legitimate riot because Lala and I not only play ourselves for 55 minutes, we also don a plethora of props and each play over 6 additional roles. It’s a beard swapping, keyboard jumping catastrophical tightrope of tyranny. And finally, if you have been to London or done some world travelling of your own, you’ll appreciate the comedic allusions to tourists, the tube, selfie sticks, Instagram, keeping to the right, hostile oversized backpacks, you name it!
TP: And after your season at The MC Showroom, you are off to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August, is that right?
Robbie: Yes, indeed we are! We’re both so pumped to spend a month over there, performing every day and spreading the good warehouse word. We have an incredible team with Joe Brown as our producer and the incredible Sarah Redmond our director (both working currently with us from London) so we’re looking forward to seeing them again in August when we bump this baby into George Square.
Lala: Edinburgh Fringe has been on my hit list for over half my life so I am beyond excited to be there this year, performing a show that we have written in such an incredible city buzzing and fizzing with theatrical energies from all over the world.
Thursday 21 June – Sunday 24 June
1/48 Clifton St, Prahran VIC 3181, Australia
Box Office: worstlitlewarehouse.com/melbourne