Lift off at Curve Part 2: Oh how bad it was let me count the ways.

I was also unlucky enough to attend the opening event at Curve, the new performing arts venue here in sunny Leicester.

The building itself needs no introduction as Mr Morgan has already done it for me.

Now we dont mean to berrate this building or feel as though in some ways we are bullying it. But from the get go it has been a constant let down and has meant that the wonderful Digital Media Centre will no longer open in the old Astoria cinema and wont be with us for another year or so because the building of Curve was so badly managed and researched that there is just not enough money.

Lift off is a dazzling example of not kowing the voice of the product you are trying to market. A promenade performance is an awesome idea for a building that is trying to market itself as unique and is also a little bit hidden and out of the way to let people walk around the space and see what has been done in a little corner of Leicester says fantastic to me. Its a shame that they took this idea and pissed on it from a height.

After a little bit of shabby organization and a touch of dangling on wires in the main foyer we were ushered into the first enclosure/performance room. To start of the evening there was the god awful film which looked as though a bunch of media students who couldn’t get their work experience on Hollyoaks were handed a camera and allowed to do what ever they were allowed. What could have been fantastic and full of glamour and showing people reading lines from the plays to come or singing songs from well known productions in various places around the building (im imagining Baz Luhrmann style high gloss with lots of reds) we were punished with a grey video, filmed on shakey cam with alienating music and people walking backwards. In short it wasn’t aimed the theatre going audience that were attending this week long event and didnt tell me anything new about Curve.

What followed this was the most god awful siloloquoy I have ever heard when you compare a building to Optimus Prime you know your in trouble. I still can’t decide if having a very ethinc start to the evening was bold or not, the point of Curve is to try and be all things to all people and connect the various ethnic groups in Leicester but once black man did his speach (which he did very well, its not his fault the words were aweful) Sharon D. Clarke sang her song (ruined by a casio keyboard) and a team of very talented dancers did their thing the night became a little bit white. With a troup of sudo French circus folk went on and on for 40 minutes.

I didnt feel as though the community of Leicester was represented, unless their is a large French circus community I am unaware of. And the groups involved seemed tacked on or shoe horned in, the childrens groups were the worst victims of this, a gymnastics troup which could have looked amazing on the huge stage were given enough space to summersault over a motorbike a couple of times when you could tell they were capable of doing so much more and the poor dancers at the end who were revealed after the final speach and the fireworks had gone off as though they were some poor mans after thought.

The idea of promenade was completely lost as well as we were chaperoned from the performance studio to the main stage (which was so badly done that people were completely unaware that they were standing on the main stage) and then moved from place to place as Sudo French people (they are actually Welsh) dangled from roped for the best part of an hour as though we were in the way and an inconvenience to all concerned.

Also whos wonderful and wise idea was it to place a hundered or so people on a stage close off all access to the outside world and then shine stage lights on them whilst giving them no where to sit down. And then to rub salt into the wound show the auditorium with its few seats (but seats non the less) and make us look longingly at the seats whilst we are sung at and encourage to dance?

So after an hour and half in the building and an promanade performance which I thought would show me the building I am left being completely un aware of what makes Curve special. I thought I would have been treated to a tour with random moments of music, poetry, famous lines and a big mish mash of performaces whilst a tour guide boasted every thing that is wonderful about Curve. I just feel cheated and as though the people running Curve have no idea who there audience is or what they are doing.