Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The Basement Tapes

We haven’t been to BATS to see a theatre show in a long while, so I thought I’d check out what was on. There were a couple of things that caught my eye, one of which was The Basement Tapes. This has nothing to do with Bob Dylan, and everything to do with a cassette player.

But first, dinner. It’s a new year in the world of Entertainment, and we decided to revisit The Tasting Room, as they have, on their menu, beef Wellington. And you can’t beat eating beef Wellington in Wellington. We should probably have worn wellingtons to complete the experience. The Wellingtons come as individually baked servings and are pretty well executed. We also started with another Seventies classic, cheese fondue, to share. How retro are we?

We walked around the corner to the theatre. I’d left the tickets behind in my desk drawer (again) but fortunately had the email on my phone, which proved sufficient. BATS need to get with the program and do electronic ticketing!

The Basement Tapes is effectively a solo performance, augmented with an uncredited delivery guy and the disembodied voice from the tape recorder. The show starts ordinarily enough, with a telephoned pizza order for a vegan pizza. Then the scene is set as a young woman appears in the junk in the basement of her deceased grandmother’s home, and it is apparent that she’s there to sort out the junk, and dispose of it how she sees fit. A lot of it is being thrown out until she finds an old-fashioned tape recorder of the variety that we used to have in the 1970s, and also a box of old tapes. Selecting one at random, she starts to play it, and her grandmother’s voice comes out. Naturally, this scares the shit out of her. What follows is a quasi-dialogue between the unnamed protagonist and her grandmother/the tape recorder. The pizza delivery person makes his delivery but it turns out that he, too, is not what he appears. How much is real, and how many of the people involved in the story are alive, or dead, or fictional, is not made clear. It is all very spooky and atmospheric, and the final revelation makes it all very weird. I need to watch it again to figure out what it was all about!

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