“Hi! I’m Mr Pink. How you doin’?” says the character from Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Reservoir Dogs’ as he shakes our hands vigorously. “Hey! Have you guys got your code names yet? You, sir, are Mr White and you, young lady, shall be Miss Orange and I’m sorry to say that things don’t end well for you.”
Meanwhile, the girl next to me is being held at gunpoint by Jackie Brown in a silk dressing gown, while ‘Pulp Fiction’s’ Mia Wallace dances by. I ask Gogo Yubari from ‘Kill Bill’ if I can take a photo of her and she just starts laughing manically, her face contorting and then turning into an icy cold stare. I spend the rest of the drinks reception hiding from her, nervously laughing when I see that she is still giving me the death stare.
Welcome to Tarantism, the rambunctious Quentin Tarantino inspired cabaret experience taking place on rotation in the heart of Camden at FEST. This new immersive experience combines classic soundtracks with circus, cabaret, live music and iconic scenes from Tarantino’s films.
We had the silver package, so when we arrived at the Party Stables we were handed a drinks token for five drinks each. We opted for a fruity cocktail served in a disco ball and a vodka and pomegranate punch served in a light bulb and took a seat in one of the themed rooms, which looked like a sitting room from the 1960s. Canapes were then served such as posh mushrooms on toast, smoked salmon Tobiko lollipops and cheese and jalapeno croquettes.
We were seated right at the front which I was really excited about. This, however, was followed by the apprehension that you get when you are sitting near the front of a comedy show and there is the chance that you will be involved in the show in some way. Luckily there is nothing to worry about and there is no improvisation involved (my worst fear) on the audience’s part as they are guided through everything if they are involved.
Given that ‘Tarantism’ is defined as ‘a psychological illness characterised by an extreme impulse to dance’ (supposedly prevalent in southern Italy from the 15th to the 17th century, and widely believed at the time to be caused by the bite of a tarantula, apparently) this was actually rather fitting as at the beginning of the show the whole audience is invited by Mia Wallace and Vincent Vega to take part in the Jack Rabbit Slim’s Twist Contest, which ends in members of the audience being crowned the winners. I also still have ‘You Never Can Tell’, the ‘Woo Hoo’ song and the whistling ‘Twisted Nerve’ song in my head and have had it for days, which has driven me insane! But in a good way – it left an impression.
The different movie characters come in and out of the production and interact with the audience. The production starts with a bang, with a scene from ‘Pulp Fiction’: “Any of you f**king pricks move, and I’ll execute every motherf **kin’ last one of you!” One of the characters comes up to me and, pointing his gun in my face, demands my wallet. I grab my wallet and give it to him and he rifles through it. “I don’t want your f**king Boots card!” he shouts and throws my wallet back to me in disgust. I almost feel as if I have let him down.
From thereon out we meet characters such as The Bride, O-Ren Ishii, Mr Blonde, Mia Wallace, Elle driver (hello boys), Santanico Pandemonium and Jackie Brown to name just a few. Just be careful ladies and hold on to your man when Jackie Brown arrives because she is one sexy mumma and one helluva singer – you will know what I mean when you see it.
Tarantism is funny, lively and you never know what is coming next. It is a roller coaster from start to finish and I recommend that you get yourself down there to experience it as it’s a great night and the cast are very talented. Great night and thank you to Grounded London and FEST Camden for having me at the press preview!
Book tickets here.