Review: Tarantino Live

Review: Tarantino Live

Marvelous mash-up of the director’s iconic films


The worlds created by Quentin Tarantino are famously blood-spattered, graphic and both compellingly real and surreal, with scenes, dialogue and soundtracks that stay indelibly burned in your brain. So, how do you take all of this and turn it into a piece of theatre? Created by Off The Record over 10 years ago in a bar in Hollywood, Tarantino Live is a total mash-up of the director’s work – and even has the seal of approval from the man himself. Over the years, it has evolved and been updated to include his latest films…. and it’s now in London, featuring everything from Reservoir Dogs right up to Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. For the latest incarnation, For The Record worked with the team at Riverside Studios in Hammersmith and a mainly UK-based cast and crew.

Riverside Studios is the perfect place for it with an intimate space creating a cabaret vibe with the audience seated around the stage. And you’re plunged right in. Music, gunfire, torture scenes and the famous lines that everyone with even the slightest awareness of Tarantino will know – Royale with Cheese, of course it’s in there.

The ‘Pulp Rock Experience’, as it (Kill) bills itself, is divided into four chapters – a vague structure under which characters and scenes mingle together into a delightful messy whole. There are sword fights, drugs, dancing, and the actors tear around both stage and auditorium, and for the most part it really works. There are some caveats though – some scenes just don’t land well. Taken out of the context of the films to which they belong, they are really uncomfortable: the Nazi rant from Inglourious Basterds and a slave scene from Django Unchained, for example.

It rollocks on through a back catalogue of Tarantino’s work like there is no tomorrow. It’s relentless. But it is also incredible to watch. You are drawn in through the high-energy dance routines and some amazing songs. All the classics are included – Son of A Preacher Man, Let’s Stay Together. Bang Bang is powerfully done – goosebumpingly brilliant.

Like the director himself, the show defies genres. It’s one of the most fun nights out you’ll have in London right now. And will have you digging out the Tarantino classics to watch all over again…

Riverside Studios, Hammersmith, until 13 August

Image: Julie Edwards