After an indulgent, record-breaking summer, if we ever needed a reason to look forward to warm, cosy autumn evenings in London, Shangri-La Hotel has just awarded it to us. From 9th October 2018 – 31st January 2019 the hotel will offer performances of short plays in the privacy of its exclusive suites. As such, the aptly named Theatre in the Clouds, raises the bar in luxurious escapism. Theatre, arts and entertainment in London, as we know them, have thus been restored to the pinnacle of its beginnings.
I was thrilled to be invited to an evening preview at Shangri-La Hotel’s most exclusive signature suite the Shangri-La Suite. Spellbound by the view, through floor to ceiling windows, of River Thames curving its way around London’s treasured icons St. Paul’s Cathedral, Tower of London and Tower Bridge, I took my seat. Champagne and canapés flowed freely setting the scene for a double bill of unforgettable performances.
Hands Across the Sea
The comedy Hands Across the Sea, one of ten short plays of the Tonight at 8.30 series, written by English playwright Noël Coward, was first. This slightly adapted version was a pitch perfect choice for the lavish setting. The plot, spun around the characters’ valiant attempt to mask absent mindedness with British politeness, floated effortlessly to the end. I was so gripped that I hardly blinked. Melanie Fullbrook thrilled as giddy Lady Gilpin. In the absence of a traditional setting I was mesmerised by a riveting performance of an exceptional cast.
Ways and Means
Ways and Means, set in 1930s French Riviera, was second on the bill. The audience was ushered to the bedroom and we took our seats around the bed. Lucy Eaton and Freddie Hutchins were an heiress and her gambling husband, on the verge of overstaying their welcome, at a friend’s villa. This delightful comedy was a fitting finale presenting a cycle of unfortunate events with a gleeful ending. Lucy Eaton and Freddie Hutchins simply owned dysfunctional marital bliss.
Revels in Hand
Private theatre company Revels in Hand provided the entertainment for the evening. Lucy Eaton, Melanie Fullbrook and Freddie Hutchins set up the bespoke theatre company after meeting at Cambridge University. Proving that immense risks are the only ones that ever pay off, the three actors set about reviving a practice which had died out since Shakespearean times; performing to intimate gatherings in private homes. A pastime favoured by 16th – early 17th century aristocracy there was little guarantee that it would work in modern times. Bringing the theatre to one’s home may seem extravagant an idea. However, unadulterated entertainment has proved to have universal appeal as Revels in Hand have so far performed in drawing rooms, polo fields and even private yachts around the world. How fortunate for us that Shangri-La Hotel has collaborated with the company to bring this unparalelled experience to London. It’s an autumn event not to be missed.
Performance schedule for Shangri-La at The Shard: 9th October 2018 – Hands Across the Sea and Ways and Means (Nöel Coward), 8thNovember 2018 – Bell, Book and Candle (John Van Druten), 6th December 2018 – Voice of the Turtle (John Van Druten), 31st January 2019 – Voice of the Turtle (John Van Druten)
Tickets, including two glasses of Champagne and canapés, priced £85 can be purchased here: https://www.designmynight.com/london/whats-on/theatre/theatre-in-the-clouds
An overnight stay including breakfast and show package based on two people sharing at £685 per person can be purchased here: shangri-la.com
Shangri-La Suite is located at: Shangri-La Hotel, The Shard, London SE1 9QU