“The Lost Souls of Soho” review

Just before the show Lost Souls of Soho at the Intervention Gallery

Last Friday evening, we made our way to the Intervention Gallery in Kensal Green Cemetery for a performance of “The Lost Souls of Soho”.

The Intervention Gallery, brainchild of artist Kate Pelen, opened this summer at the Anglican Chapel, an unusual yet beautiful Grade 1 listed chapel with a partially derelict interior. Kate quit her previous job to dedicate more time to the gallery, which she runs with the help of her husband Kerim Aytac (himself an established photographer), as well a number of volunteers and collaborators.

Crew from the Lost Souls of Soho pose by the Anglican Chapel

The Anglican Chapel is the central feature of Kensal Green Cemetery, itself the final resting place of many past luminaries including Charles Blondin, Anthony Trollope, Harold Pinter, Marc Brunel and (temporarily) Marcus Garvey, as well as that of many more ordinary London folk.

Having entered the cemetery through a seldom-used gate opposite the junction of Wakeman Rd and Harrow Rd, we followed a track that led us through candlelit graves to the chapel itself. People were gathered at the entrance for a drink. Inside there were no fancy lights or backdrops, just a box in the middle (possibly the catafalque) that served as a prop for all the performers.

“The Lost Souls of Soho”, co-produced by Ziella Bryars and Charlotte Coy, consisted of a series of specially commissioned monologues (including a music one), each inspired by a different street in Soho.

The results were simply stunning. Not only was the quality of writing very high, but the talented actors delivered their performances with great character and poise, holding the audience’s attention with humour, emotion and even moments of silence.... when it seemed we could hear the passage of time and comprehend our own mortality. A silence fell, but it was never a heavy one. That alone indicated the quality of the writing and acting.

Every performance had as reference points shared parts of our human existence - love, relationships, parenthood, drunkenness, shame, self-deception, pain, sorrow, fragmented memories and even mysticism) . The very structure of the stories naturally flowed from points of witty humour to highlighting the emotional complexities of the characters. Yet the friction of life was palpably ever-present....

By putting on a show of this style and quality, the Intervention Gallery has made it clear yet again that it's here to stay and make a difference. Having already shown us their commitment and clarity of purpose, we congratulate them for the work done thus far whilst eagerly anticipating future shows.

We strongly recommend that you visit this gallery, it's a local asset that we ought to support and keep, surrounded as it is by the fascinating mausoleum-stuffed Kensal Rise Cemetery, the oldest of the Victorian ‘Magnificent Seven’ London cemeteries.

Lessons in Walker's Court by Craig Donaghy
Silver Place Porcini by Richard Ommanney
All's Golden Square in Love and War by Jolyon Coy
On Frith Street, Music by James Cave & Libretto by Bethan Ellis
Diadem Court by Chris Brandon
Kingly Street Cool by Lisa Ommanney
A Room on Greek Street by Ziella Bryars
The Life Man of Portland Mews by Tom Mison

 Intervention Gallery

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