Taking place on the evening of 27 April, I had every intention of writing a post regarding this performance piece before I left for my annual trip back to America, but at the last I found my time compromised by final errands and packing. As both the extraordinary venue which hosted the event and the collective of artists who performed with such sweeping brio and energy continue with regular programming, I would be remiss not to mention the experience, the place and the people. Cementing Canada Water’s reputation as a rapidly developing cultural quarter (along with the trendy street food market Hawker House), the former mammoth site of the press halls that at one time delivered both the Metro and Evening Standard newspapers has now been repurposed as London’s newest (and possibly biggest) nightclub, called, rather appropriately, Printworks. The staggering stats are such: 15 acres of land, 119,200 square feet of interior space (comprising 6 event areas) with capacity for 6,000 guests, and 40,000 square feet of exterior space. Much of the original machinery and industrial features have been retained, and your first steps into the vast, long halls, ramparts overhead, sound and light extravaganzas in full immersive flourish, really knock your senses sideways. Some Voices, a 500-strong choral group with a wildly ambitious bent (welcoming voices from across the range of styles and abilities) decided to recreate the disco deliciousness and wild hedonism of the legendary Studio 54 for one-night-only in the massive halls. Upon entrance, many clubgoers in their era-finest vestments, you walk a gauntlet of paparazzi calling out names of the infamously celebrated (Jeri! Liza! Andy!, the usual suspects), to then encounter half-clad boys and girls on stilts offering trays of glitter and adornments. Of course, exceedingly harder substances would have been proffered in the corridors and shadows of the real Studio 54, but it’s left to the creative reflexes of individual imagination to fill in the blanks (this is polite hedonism, after all). Others on roller skates, sporting light bracelets and necklaces, run a circuitous route along the balconies above the crowds. Soon the chorus gathers along the upper walkways, voluminously (and impressively) spilling out across all available space, and the show proper commences, a set list of disco classics as you’ve never heard them delivered before. Occasionally they cede to individual performers who assume the identity of a classic artist (David Bowie, Stevie Wonder), some quite questionably or bafflingly (Diana Ross, represented, or misrepresented, by a white woman, in addition so vocally distant from her, quite a misfire-a sight only less startling than the clutch of Centennials in the room who clamoured on their phones to Google search Diana Ross!), and a mid-show catwalk session (hosted by a full-throttle, pitch-perfect, endlessly amusing master of ceremonies, the audience choosing the member of the public who flaunts themselves most fashionably and fiercely) possibly just overstays its welcome. Bits of the show are subject to drag and longeuer, an issue of structure-I believe the focus should have remained on the chorus, but too many times the evening left them stranded and in darkness. The show snapped back into place in the final stage, when the choral group was again allowed the floor, their spirit and joy expansive and eruptive, a true crescendo of liberating energy, which is, after all, the soul of dance music. You felt the true transportive meaning of this in the swell and rise of those closing moments. Printworks regularly hosts sets from internationally acclaimed djs, and you can imagine the force and power this environment  provides.





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s