REVIEWS

THE SUNDAY MAIL, ADELAIDE

by Matt Byrne, 24 February 2019

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

There are already some terrific shows on the must-see list and one is The Worst Little Warehouse In London, which earns a five-star for energy and ingenuity. 

by Celeste Villani, 19 February 2019

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

In the Worst Little Warehouse in London, there is the best little show.

In this musical parody, Lala Barlow and Robbie Smith move to North London and find themselves living in a converted warehouse with 12 other people – and each person has their own quirks. It is inspired by the real-life experiences of the duo who went to England in search of new experiences and, it is safe to say, those they got.

 

Armed with a piano, Barlow and Smith jump from character to character and keep their audience laughing.

They are a tight duo who sing witty, original songs, giving their audience a playful little show.

by Fran Edwards, 25 February 2019

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Two young people move into a converted warehouse to rent an apartment; an interesting concept for an hilarious 60 minute show. The pace is fast: we get to meet all twelve residents with their assorted foibles, all played by Lala Barlow and Robbie Smith. They step from one character to another with barely a breath, sharing the keyboard, swapping sides and never (well hardly ever) putting a foot wrong.

Much of the amusing content of this production is set to music and if you are a lover of musicals you will find several melodies that you recognise from so many different shows. My particular favourites were the use of Tradition (Fiddler on the Roof) and Somewhere That’s Green (Little Shop of Horrors) well adapted, but there were many more.

The use of hats, beards, glasses, towels and yoga mats to denote the characters meant changes were fast and funny. Their characterisations were magic. These people are close to comic genius, the pace is so fast it seems to end too quickly. This is one worth braving the heat for!

by Fiona Orr, 17 August 2018

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The title gives the first clue that this is a parody show. But like none you will have ever seen before. Staging shows in containers isn’t a new idea, but this is THE most appropriate venue for this extraordinary romp.

Looking at a pre-set stage can suggest what’s ahead. In this instance, the assorted jumble includes: poo-emoji sunglasses, Princess Leia-style buns in blonde, an artist’s easel, a Spiderman towel and a fully festooned clothesline surrounding a keyboard. Not a clue!

Opening with a David Attenborough voiceover describing koalas venturing forth, Lala Barlow and Robbie Smith arrive in London from Australia, where ‘the time is Maggie Smith’. After a few touristy weeks in a succession of Airbnbs, the time comes to find somewhere more permanent to call home. Easier said than done: cost and geography force them into shared accommodation at Unit 1, Daisy Mill. A converted warehouse.

One by one, we meet a series of room-mates, engagingly performed by our feisty Aussie duo. The range of characters is absolutely hilarious: the struggling performer who once played Macavity in Cats and is now working on his audition for The Great British Bake Off; the spoken-word poet; the modern suffragette with an unfortunate lisp when urging support for ‘sit-ins’; the lothario that practices yoga; are just a few of the 12 fully-fledged characters conveyed in an instant.

The pace is utterly mind-blowing – never letting up for a second, the comedy is top class. Sarah Redmond’s direction is assured and detailed whilst keeping the touch light as a feather. Both Barlow and Smith’s singing and musicianship are pitch perfect: the original songs are excellent and sit very happily alongside some of great parodies from the likes of Chicago, Urinetown and Into the Woods. Their keyboard skills are mightily impressive: relay-playing and some foxy four-hand playing are superbly entertaining.

The Aussie point of view of London is unreservedly hilarious – sending up so many quirks in contrast to the more direct, yet forgiving approach favoured down under.

A must-see for musical fans and hugely enjoyable for mere mortals! This would be a great production for touring and deserves to be seen. Catch it while you can!

by Tim Macurthur, 22 August 2018

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

“For anyone who’s ever shared accommodation, this will certainly bring back memories! Original, witty, beautifully constructed, and with stellar performances, Warehouse is a highlight of the Fringe! Move in now!”

by Alexander Ewers, 19 February 2019 

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Worst Little Warehouse in London. Two Australians who moved to London play two Australians moving to London. There, in the cavernous and labyrinthine bowels of a converted warehouse-cum-warzone, they find a home amongst a heady and impossible milieu of the personably pleasant, the interpersonally challenged and the downright personality disordered. Little imagination is needed to predict hilarity ensuing. But what distinguishes this show as a noteworthy Adelaide Fringe act, is the manner in which the comedic potential inherent to the scenario is harnessed and forged into a rich and multifaceted torrent of solid theatrical and entertainment value. And torrent is perhaps the best descriptor for the veritable deluge of references, both sardonic and jocose, that are woven into the fabric of this piece.

As a performance, Worst Little Warehouse is less theatre than it is adapted cabaret. Captivating and talented duo, Lala Barlow and Robbie Smith, segue between vignettes sung and spoken with an ease that belies the complexity of their achievement. Both vehicles are used effectively to furnish vivid constructs of each of the human menagerie responsible for putting the worst into warehouse. Whilst unapologetically caricatured, these depictions do retain something beyond the one dimensional. Perhaps herein lies the most notable feat of this performance, as the audience’s imagination is recruited to complete and flesh out each character with their own experience of like personalities. Barlow and Smith’s performance, as much about the insinuated and the unsaid as it is about the stated obvious, demands and rewards personal engagement with an ever-burgeoning kaleidoscope of the comical. The result is convincing, commendable, and truly comedic.

It is refreshing to see humour drawn from and levelled at a broad diversity of demographic sources and subjects. Tube jokes, and Thatcher, and flossing (of the Katy Perry kind) and environmentalism and Fiddler on the Roof all tumble blithely about in that truly funny mishmash of the improbable and the surprising. It is testament to both the calibre of production and performance (Sarah Redmond  and Barlow/Smith respectively) that the audience find themselves so convincingly swept along and so consistently amused throughout the hour-long show. But perhaps one should not be so surprised. Take the best of droll, dry British witticisms and mix it with the irony and irreverence of Aussie acerbity, and one is playing with humour of a particularly delicious variety.

One must note somewhat of a lag in momentum as the show draws towards its close. Whether due to growing viewer familiarity with the slew of characters, or a thinning in the density of word-play and comedic references, audience energy falters as the emphasis transitions a little maladroitly from character building to the finale. However, this was short-lived, and Barlow and Smith close strongly with a frenetic number as the diverse inhabitants of the Worst Little Warehouse in London erupt in the sort of climactic clash that occurs when familiarity intersects dissimilarity. It is a successfully crafted high-note finish to a thoroughly enjoyable hour.

One leaves this performance satisfied, and not just with the afterglow of genuine pleasure shared but also with comfortable reflections on the unlikeliness (necessitated or chosen) of places and people we call home. One appreciates too, a fresh attention to the inane details of ordinary life that make the believable comedic and the comedic believable. Perhaps through a lens like this, even the most ordinary inanity becomes warehouse worthy too.

by Jenny Fewster, 19 February 2019

Almost like a rite of passage, our young Australian artists make the pilgrimage to the United Kingdom to see if they can make a break into the theatrical tapestry that is London.  That was the case for Lala Barlow and partner Robbie Smith as they departed Australia, survived the long-haul flight and arrived at Heathrow with a sense of adventure and excitement, ready to embrace all that old Blighty has to offer.

After becoming accustomed to the London dampness and visiting the top ten sites, from Big Ben to the Jack the Ripper tour (‘that was crap”), the couple found a share house to call home.

It was One Daisy Mill, a north London warehouse housing 12 inhabitants, who we now see here before us. Most are characters that will be familiar to anyone. There’s the hardcore PT, the failed actor, the womanising yoga instructor, the hipsters, the activist, the Americans and the poet, all portrayed by Barlow and Smith while using a vast and amusing cache of props and hair pieces.

The small Cupola stage gives a sense of the stifling closeness one can experience in shared living, even when it is in a warehouse. Barlow and Smith chronicle their year through a number of witty and fast-paced songs and dances interspersed with those familiar peculiarities of shared domesticity.   

The keyboard is played variously by one, other or both of the performers, which initially might seem impressive. However as the character and prop changes reach an almost manic crescendo it’s obvious that multi-tasking comes as second nature to this pair.

 

This is a show for anyone who’s ever spent any time in a share house, or in London. Get along to this funny, fast-paced and very cleverly crafted offering from Barlow and Smith.

by Matthew Hayhow, 4 August 2018

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

At some point in most people’s lives, they’ll find themselves playing the crap shoot of living with complete strangers. You hope they’ll be tidy, respectful and ordinary, but somehow you find yourself sharing a kitchen and a bathroom with people you wouldn’t even choose to sit next to on a bus.

Directed by Sarah Redmond, The Worst Little Warehouse in London is a two-person cabaret playing at the Assembly George Square Theatre that deals with this very thing – the delights and despairs of shared accommodation.


Based on a true story, the show stars Lala Barlow and Robbie Smith, a couple who have left their native Australia, reliving through songs, skits and silly voices their experiences of living in a converted warehouse in North London.

This bohemian living arrangement attracts some of society’s more ‘pastel colours’, as Lala puts it, and they end up living with ten colourful other people, all of whom you’ll be introduced to throughout the show. All the characters are played by Barlow and Smith, all whilst accompanying each other on keyboard.

The Worst Little Warehouse in London is a frenetic snapshot of a year in a couple’s lives. The jokes come at you very fast; what works is very funny, especially the affectionately playful outsider perspective on British culture, and anything that doesn’t stick to the wall is easily forgiven by the dynamism and chemistry of the two performers. It’s not easy to keep an audience’s interest in an interrogation into which housemate is responsible for a faecal Jackson Pollock in the bathroom, but the show finds entertainment within the minutiae of flatsharing.

The music may be familiar to you, coming from sources as diverse as Billy Joel and the South Park movie, but the lyrics dazzle with wit. The use of silly props to represent each character is done inventively and reflects the untidy eclectic nature of what I imagine their warehouse was like.

The relationship between the two performers is very sweet and I wish this was explored further; there are a couple of really nice quiet little moments between Lala and Robbie, but there was room for more of an emotional core and I didn’t get to know the two characters as well as I wanted to. Nevertheless, The Worst Little Warehouse in London is a show that, like its inhabitants, is quirky, funny, and stays with you long after you’ve gone.

by Charlie Ralph, 9 August 2018

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Worst Little Warehouse In London is crammed into The Box, which appears to be an actual shipping crate housed in Assembly Gardens. Such a location could not be more appropriate a place to house Lala Barlow and Robbie Smith, the real life couple that tell the audience the story of their first year in London and the roommates they lived with in a manner that packs a lot of weight onto their shoulders.

They leap from character to character and throw themselves from song to song in a manner that is exhausting to watch, let alone perform. Whilst the show occasionally falters with moments that feel out of place and feels occasionally a little childish for a cabaret that also features a song about being a pornstar, the overarching, if slightly inconsistent, tone is one of love and warmth which creates a thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining hour.

Placed in the cabaret section of the Fringe guide, one may expect to be enlisted to play any number of characters in Lala and Robbie's cabaret, but thankfully The Worst Little Warehouse In London refrains itself entirely from audience interaction which ends up making the production very refreshing and a relief to cabaret fans who hate becoming part of the show. Instead the audience is free here to sit back and enjoy some playful songs and endearing banter between the two performers.

The Worst Little Warehouse In London is imperfect but endlessly charming and while it would most likely wilt in the spotlights of a primetime slot it works as a perfect afternoon treat at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Whilst the show occasionally feels thrown together from a few disparate elements, including a completely egregious but admittedly great cover of The Cranberries' classic Dreams, the show is a little slice of cabaret delight that takes the attention off the cheap thrills of audience interaction and instead places it squarely on two talented, likeable performers.

by Katie Stephen, 10 August 2018

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Suitcases packed to bursting point with hysterical characters, sharp-witted lyrics and possibly the world’s tightest duet sequence, Australian couple, Lala and Robbie, have moved into The Worst Little Warehouse in London.

This dynamic duo from down under are here at Edinburgh’s Festival Fringe to share their unbelievable skills and even more unbelievable tales from their time in a shared loft in London Town.

There’s a vegan, a sexually addicted yogi, a fitness freak and that’s just for starters. With the simplest of props, Lala Barlow and Robbie Smith embody each of their flatmates in turn regaling the audience with tales of unsanitary toilets, passive aggressive notes on the fridge and the noises that a closed door simply cannot hide.

Featuring a reimagined version of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown ‘s ‘Book Report’ (which in this case is about Bill & Nelly, told with on stage lyrics, created with emojis), and a new rendition of Little Shop Of Horrors hit about a roomie’s toilet habits that gives new meaning to Skid Row, Barlow and Smith have adapted the lyrics from many familiar musicals, such as Wicked, Legally Blonde and many others. Along with these ingenious recreatations, the couple duet spectacularly- and not just vocally. Their pianist skills are incomparable. Carefully choreographed to the second, these musical marvels play as if they are one pulsing being - completely in sync.

Director Sarah Redmond’s attention to detail prevents the prop heavy production from sliding into chaos. The production climaxes with the couple attending the “family” dinner with every flatmate on hand to have their say about something or other. The conception and execution of this scene alone is a triumph in multi-role performance.

A mind-bogglingly funny story of companionship, shared accommodation, and how to grit your teeth and bare it - this is a tale that must be told. Yet, it is the musical talent of this production and the intricacy of its staging that add the wow factor.

by Siri Hedreen, 12 August 2018

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Both a celebration and a satire of hipsterdom, The Worst Little Warehouse in London is a high-energy treat for anyone who has ever had to endure a less-than-deal living situation.
Even better that it’s inspired by the real experiences of Aussie couple Lala Barlow and Robbie Smith.

The cabaret kicks off with Robbie and Lala’s exuberant arrival in London, where they learn that the “local time is Maggie Smith” and the weather forecast is dismal for the next 10 months. What ensues is a lot of London landmark name dropping in a classic welcome-to-the-city-montage put to song.

 


This small indulgence in cliché is made up for, however, when the storyline takes the pair to Unit One Daisy Mill, a North London warehouse re-appropriated into a shared living space. The audience is regaled with a tune explaining the institution of bathroom baskets, a physical re-enactment of a passive-aggressive note, and a dramatisation of Callum from Croyden’s daily shimmy into boxers beneath a Spiderman towel.  

Perhaps most impressive was the way in which the duo flawlessly incorporated so many props into such a small space (about 8×15 feet with no backstage). This feat of execution was a form of entertainment in itself as Robbie and Lala moved about picking up and discarding bits of costume, all without missing a Wizard-of-Oz-style skip.

 

Worst Little Warehouse resembles more of a musical than your typical cabaret, with the focus more on storyline and less on showy costume and audience interaction. However, the latter was not missed—the intimate wrap-around venue was interaction enough. What the audience did receive was an amusing satire of insufferable hipster culture, a sphere that, despite all their mockery, Robbie and Lala just as much inhabit as young tattooed cabaret artists.

by Sarah McPartlan, 15 August 2018

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Worst Little Warehouse in London follows Lala Barlow and Robbie Smith as they arrive in London from Australia looking for somewhere to live. They end up living, with 10 other people, in a converted warehouse called Daisy Mill in north London. In this cabaret we meet all 10 of the housemates in all of their glory!

Cast picture of the Worst Little Warehouse in London
 

The show is highly original and paced brilliantly. We meet Lala and Robbie as they arrival in London and later at their new home, gradually meeting each new housemate and the quirks that come with them until you have all 12 of the housemates on stage at once with (hilarious) chaos ensuing. The show is cleverly crafted as it moves easily between characters.

Lala and Robbie’s energy is infectious and the mind boggles as to how they manage to sustain it throughout the show. They throw themselves into the various characters from the philandering yoga instructor to the vegan leaseholders who ensure everyone knows it! Each of the housemates are a huge parody of people we have all come across, making the jokes all that more relevant and relatable. Despite the numerous characters played by the two of them, through the extensive use of props and clever characterisation it is always clear who Lala and Robbie are playing at that particular moment.

There is a mixture of original songs and parodies of musical theatre favourites, such as Into The Woods and Legally Blonde. The original songs are well written and stuffed full of gags and the musical theatre references have the musical theatre lovers in the audience cracking up. That being said even if you are not a musical theatre buff, you would still enjoy the show! Both Lala and Robbie play the piano and sing, switching between the two easily and even switching who is providing the accompaniment mid-song and they never miss a beat.

The Worst Little Warehouse in London is a great example of how Cabaret can be done well, with two extremely talented performers, a witty script, clever music and slick direction this is a must see fun filled show.

by Cath Renton, 24 August 2018

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Worst Little Warehouse in London is a high-energy cabaret extravaganza which will resonate with anyone who’s ever lived in shared accommodation and make those who live alone feel validated in their choice. Inspired by the real experiences of Australian couple Lala Barlow and Robbie Smith, the show follows the duo’s adventures as they arrive in London and try to embrace the new culture, while navigating a flatshare with every annoying archetype known to man.

The couple move into One Daisy Mill, a north-London warehouse repackaged as a bohemian living space. Barlow and Smith play all 12 inhabitants of the accommodation, morphing between characters with skill, all whilst singing, dancing and playing the keyboard in an exhausting looking performance. The show makes for a frenetic viewing experience with incredibly catchy and funny tunes to keep the audience entertained throughout.

The archetypal hipsters the couple share a home with – the yoga teacher, the activist, the space cadet, the beardy bloke and the fitness instructor – may be played broadly but we’ve all met these people. Some of us have even lived or worked with these people and that relatability makes the show so hilarious to watch. The minutiae of shared living including bathroom baskets, faecal explosions and passive-aggressive note exchanges are all exploited to comic effect during the fast-paced show.

One of the most impressive aspects of the cabaret is the way that the actors and director Sarah Redmond have managed to stage a visually stunning song-and-dance performance in a venue that is effectively a shipping container (the venue is not called The Box for nothing). The stage is small but every inch is used wisely with props in boxes, on a washing line behind the actors’ heads and scattered around the keyboard. At times the changing between characters and the use of props become farcical and manic but this only adds to the enjoyment of the performance.

The Worst Little Warehouse in London is a jubilant show which highlights the impressive singing and performance skills of Barlow and Smith, who take their musical theatre and life experience and turn it into an original, highly entertaining frenzy of a show.

by Chris Omaweng, 17 August 2018

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Had it not been for the press release, I wouldn’t have been any the wiser: the narrative in The Worst Little Warehouse in London is ‘based on a true story’. Based? It’s so convincing that it might as well have been a verbatim piece of theatre. On second thoughts, that might be more than a little creepy, as there were no recorded interviews or invited comments from the characters portrayed, and if what the comedy acts at the Edinburgh Fringe say about not giving real names when recounting certain stories for legal reasons is true (and it probably is), ‘based on a true story’ should get this production out of any potential lawsuits. I’m going one step further, and not including any off-stage character names: better safe than sorry.

It’s all remarkably realistic, if zany. Lala Barlow and Robbie Smith, who hail from Australia (I don’t think they ever got any more specific than that) had both newly arrived in London, and although so many place names are referenced, the show works well whatever someone’s level of knowledge of the capital is. Assume, for instance, an audience member has never been to London – neither had Lala and Robbie. So, there’s much to learn about things like etiquette on the London Underground, and a need to get over the Piccadilly line automated announcement about the train terminating at Cockfosters. (Incidentally, the one on the Northern line, where trains terminate at Morden, is sometimes misinterpreted by visitors to London as ‘Mordor’, one of the locations in JRR Tolkien’s ‘The Lord of the Rings’ series.)

Because of the ongoing property crisis, what passes for affordable housing for our duo is a former warehouse in Manor House. The housemates that come and go are representative of the cosmopolitan nature of the capital, and each have their unique eccentricities (goodness me, this pair are observant). A line about someone who moved to this north London location having ‘escaped’ Croydon went down particularly well with fellow Londoners in the audience at the performance I attended, while there is much to both laugh and shudder at with regards to shared accommodation.

Take, for instance, the state of a shared toilet. There are those who use a toilet brush, and then there are those who don’t. And there are ways of pointing out someone isn’t pulling their weight when it comes to personal hygiene and general housekeeping – the Australian way is more direct, Smith points out, giving an example, but the British way is more entertaining. It is not, in the end, the warehouse itself that makes it so bad to be dubbed the worst in London, but its inhabitants. One housemate, a teacher, doesn’t like her job but rather than find a new vocation, she sticks it out, even though she has now reached the point of describing her working day as “babysitting the broken condoms of London”.

There are some very good musical numbers in the show, with seamless transitions between the two as one plays a keyboard situated upstage whilst the other acts out a character. Only rarely is the accompanying music pre-recorded. Much of the music is familiar to those with an interest in musical theatre, with sources as diverse as Fiddler on the Roof to Legally Blonde The Musical. Look out for a hilarious on-stage costume change – I’d be surprised if anyone misses it. A fellow theatregoer had it right when he told me he was exhausted just watching it. A genuinely amusing and joyous production.

by Ellen Burgin, 22 June 2018

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

As someone who is also looking to emigrate to London in the coming years, LaLa Barlow and Robbie Smith’s cabaret on share house horrors is an amusing and witty night of stuff you just can’t make up. A laugh out loud mash up of songs from Shaggy, Eminem, and Adele to Chicago, Little Shop of Horrors and Legally Blonde, woven in with original numbers and ridiculous anecdotes.

 

In 2016, Barlow and Smith moved to London, and lived in a warehouse, with ten other people. So they wrote a show about all the things that happened there and the interesting characters they met along the way. Direction by Sarah Redmond is sharp and effective, keeping the show light and exciting, and Smith and Barlow are a dream team together. The two’s chemistry shows how they survived their time abroad together, as well as put together this adorable show. You can clearly see their trust as performances and how in sync they are with each other, both playing the keyboard, singing and portraying six other characters each, while racing around the stage, navigating props and costume items with ease. Simple props are used incredibly well to help the two transform into the wild range of characters, from British bake off contestant wannabe to gym junkie to a ‘yoga gigolo’ and more.

 

The show is kooky, fun and light hearted, with stand out numbers like Chicago’s ‘We Both Reached For The Gun’ rewritten to be about a particularly explosive and anonymous bathroom incident, and peppering the show with references to British comedy, many accents and the advice to skip the Jack the Ripper tour when you get to the UK. The pair alternates playing the keyboard, leapfrogging over each other with ease and often playing together, while also being completely in sync with the cute and boppy choreography that complimented their songs and tunes.

 

It’s sometimes a little hard to hear their lovely voices over the keyboard and sound effects at times, which has often been an issue with not using microphones at the MC Showroom. The venue is warm on these brisk winter nights (not unlike the UK really) and perfectly set up for a show like this. Barlow and Smith are great sports throughout the show and despite a technical hiccup, where the prerecorded backing track for their most impressive song dropped out, they reset and soldiered through the song and performance unaccompanied and didn’t let it phase them. Most of all, they seemed to have true fun performing it, which made it a joy for the audience to watch.

 

You’ve only got a few chances to see this witty little ditty at the MC Showroom before it heads off to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, so let’s hope it makes a return season at Melbourne Fringe Festival later this year! 

Reviewed 27 August 2018

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

If you’ve ever lived with strangers then you will know the subtle joys and aggravating yet endearing quirks that come along with moving in with a bunch of new personalities. Here’s a show that packages up these highs and lows into comedy and eccentricity!

On the surface this two person cabaret may seem a bit niche – I know no-one who has lived in a warehouse and there are stagey references to boot! But within minutes you know this is a show that anyone can enjoy.

You are quickly introduced to a whole host of characters, all played by the energetic pairing of LaLa Barlow and Robbie Smith. You come to love and loathe thanks to their outside the box portrayals (a particular favourite has to be the cat-like Florian). It’s set to a soundtrack of parody theatrical tunes, expertly played between the two on a keyboard featuring some superb key-sharing skills. Anyone who can create a toilet-related satire of Chicago’s We Both Reached for the Gun deserves endless praise in my opinion!

At times the pair could be a bit more aware of the audience – with a pacy cabaret some plot references deliberately shown to the audience can be lost at the wrong angle – but this hardly detracts from the quick-witted hilarity of the show. The Worst Little Warehouse in London is incredibly creative and refreshing, excellently brought to life by Lala and Robbie in a personal piece that can bring joy to the stagey masses.

By Alex First, 23 June 2018

Funny, risqué and frenzied comes this ode to a year of experiences with housemates in London starting in 2016. Here was a couple of Aussies looking for the perfect place to call home in one of the world’s most populated cities.

 

Based upon a true story, the cabaret’s inspiration was what went down for real-life couple – writer/performers Lala Barlow and Robbie Smith – while living in a converted warehouse in North London. Struggling with exorbitant rents and the city’s ongoing housing crisis, the pair lived in close quarters with 10 others for 12 months, unearthing so many tales that were too good not to share.

 

Barlow and Smith play a dozen different characters between them whilst accompanying themselves on a keyboard, which takes centre stage. They transport us into the zany world they inhabited – an environment which, at times, they loved and, at other times, they loathed – through song and dialogue.

 

Musically, you’ll find many of the tunes are familiar, but the words are their own and they have a beaut turn of phrase – bold, brazen and, on occasions, blue. We get to know the personalities they endured during their warehouse year … and let’s just say what they found wasn’t always pretty.

Barlow and Smith – equally adept on their shared instrument – with a few props elicit laughs aplenty for the full hour that the production runs. Their “sabbatical” is a time they – and now we – will never forget. Clearly the adage “fact is stranger than fiction” has enabled them to tell tall tales but true of what they discovered about their fellow man.

 

In Barlow and Smith’s steady hands even the odd dropped word or forgotten line is merely another opportunity to give the appreciative crowd another reason to smile. Quite the hoot, if non-stop, fast-paced banter appeals then head to the MC Showroom in Prahran.

 

Directed by Sarah Redmond, The Worst Little Warehouse In London is a celebration of the joys of share housing and the people you meet along the way.  Barlow and Smith workshopped it in London’s West End before bringing it to their hometown of Melbourne, where it is only playing until 24th June, 2018. Next the couple heads to Edinburgh to present this show at the Fringe Festival there.

©2019 The Worst Little Warehouse In London.

Hero photography by Helen Murray. Artwork designed by Rachel Vella.

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