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Machines for Living at the Blue Elephant Theatre

Published by: Carolin Kopplin on 25th May 2012 | View all blogs by Carolin Kopplin
India Banks, Nicole Pschetz, Frode Gjerlow and David Ralfe. 
Photographer: Christina Hardinge.

Reclaim the heavens! Cities in the sky! Concrete solutions!

Inspired by the theories of the Swiss architect Le Corbusier who considered the house “a machine for living in,” the architects who created the infamous tower blocks in the 1960s had a bold vision of simple concrete buildings that would encourage kinship and social harmony. Walkways would connect the buildings and the residents would all meet in communal rooms. However, this specific architectural style came to be known as “Brutalism.”

Britain is in dire need of housing. The Government introduces a subsidy to encourage new high-rise developments, seen as the most efficient way to re-house people. Architects Roger, a disciple of Le Corbusier, and Wendy, author of “Concrete Solutions,” in which she discusses her three favourite kinds of concrete, hit if off immediately. During a romantic concrete walking tour they start discussing their common project to support the community – “Graceful Towers.” Unfortunately, their building does not turn out quite the way they had expected it to be.  

Combining dance with drama, Let Slip’s darkly humorous play explores the legacy of Britain’s tower blocks. This inspired production contains more thought provoking ideas and images in its one-hour performance than many productions do in three. It is highly satirical but at the same time truthful and of tragic beauty. As the tower is being built, the actors turn into machines lifting and heaving the blocks while the soundtrack of the film Vertigo is played providing a majestic but eerie atmosphere. With the completion of the building Frode Gjerlow slowly unfolds his body to become the finished tower. This scene is visually stunning and truly beautiful. The dialogue is intelligent and witty and the cast is outstanding. The actors effortlessly slip into their various characters, changing from satire to straight drama within seconds.

Let Slip was founded at the Jacques Lecoq Theatre School in Paris. Machines for Living is the company’s second show, after its debut Hamster Town was staged at Camden People’s Theatre in August 2011.

Please make your way to Camberwell and see this unique show!

By Carolin Kopplin 


Tuesday 22 May - Saturday 16 June


8:00 pm

Days of the week

Tuesday - Saturday

Ticket price

£10.00 (concessions) 
£8.00 (Southwark residents) 
£8.00 (Previews Tuesday 22 and Wednesday 23 May)


Available online from Ticketweb

Post-show discussions: Tuesdays 29 May, 5 & 12 June

Blue Elephant Theatre, 59a Bethwin Rd, 
(entrance in Thompson's Ave), 



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