Brave reader Lolly Jones put herself at our mercy. So we sent her to a bike-powered play ‘set in a giant cheese’.
Generally, I find exercising midweek (or, indeed, at the weekend) as appealing as scraping at my eyeballs with a chickpea-encrusted spork. But throw an incentive in – a free beer, a date with a hairy chubster with commitment issues (what can I say? I have my type) or in this case, a money-off voucher for a play set inside a giant cheese – and you have my attention.
The idea behind ‘Cheese: bicycle powered site-specific theatre’ is that people charge batteries by riding exercise bikes in the day. The energy then powers the show in the evening.
So I find myself in a community library at the arse end of Shoreditch. Bang in the middle of the modern classics section are three exercise bikes attached to a big battery. (Yep. Shit got technical).
‘The faster you pedal, the more electricity you generate to light the show,’ says the lady in charge. ‘No problem,’ I reassure her. ‘These limbs move with Olympic dexterity.’ ‘Great! Well, cycling at an average speed, it’d take five minutes to charge an iPhone, or 90 minutes to boil a kettle.’ How long? I keep schtum about today’s 17 cuppas and set to work.
Four minutes later, I am slumped over the handlebars, light reflecting off the sweaty podgy bits where my cheekbones should be. I’m handeda card saying that I have created 128 watts, giving me £1 off my ticket.
So I trundle off to the Oxford Street-based ‘theatre’ wedged between a noodle house and a shop selling Jessie J wife-beaters. I’m led upstairs to an office space and sat on a filing cabinet. As a temp, I feel like I’m about to be offered minimum wage to sign off on my soul for a few hours. Then the play begins. My few minutes of bike-powered lighting look particularly incandescent. There is something arrestingabout the location: the drum of the double deckers, a splatter of a blue flashing police light, the heart of Zone 1 throbbing one floor below me. But – *SPOILER ALERT* –there is no cheese. Just polystyrene ceiling tiles where the giant fromage should be. I feel used (although there have been no hairy chubsters in sight). Consoling myself with a Babybel, I head home. And, content with having administered a small tourniquet to our bleeding planet, I switch on the lights, boil the kettle and have a well-deserved cuppa.
When Mon-Sat 7.30pm Sat Sep 28.
Where 29-31 Oxford St, W1D 2DR.
How much £10-£15.
For more info check out fanshen.org.uk.
Lolly Jones, 31, is a Crouch End resident and actor/temp/blogger at lollyjones.blogspot.com