Private Theatre Review: Revels in Hand at Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard in London
Words by James Wong
Perched on the 39th floor of the Shangri-La, at The Shard, inside the most lavish suite, with champagne and canapes, I couldn’t imagine a better setting for the launch of the world’s most luxurious private theatre company, Revels in Hand.
It’s not everyday you get to experience private theatre, so intimate that you’re so close you can see the sweat on their brows and glint in their eyes, let alone be hosted in the signature Shangri-La suite. With the average performance by Revels in Hand priced at £5,000, the evening only deserved to have the best room in town to officially launch, at £10,000 a night.
Revels in Hand is a luxury theatre service designed for avid theatre goers who want something unique to splash out on for friends and family, through to high net worth individuals who want to wow, and can take place in any location around the world whether it be a garden party in The Hampton, a unique way to to charm guests in a wedding marquee, or a drawing room in a gorgeous home. I was intrigued to see what was in store.
Sitting comfortably in the lounge, with upbeat authentic 1930s music playing in the background the last thing I expected was the show to start abruptly, and on time according to my Briston timepiece. What an entrance; three characters burst into the room in character and the performance was away. With champers in hand it was like watching TV, but live and in the comfort of my Facil Blancos. Even though I was up close to the actors, it wasn’t awkward to drink from my flute; I was very much a spectator. The performance of Hands Across The Sea by Noël Coward, part of Tonight at 8:30, suited the lounge perfectly.
Refreshments were served during the intermission, before we were ushered in the grand bedroom. Our seats surrounding the bed with two actors cosied up upon it, and I was fascinated to see what and how this next play would pan out. I mean, it’s not usual for any guest to visit the bedroom, let along a theatre group and an audience.
Coward’s Ways and Means was more upbeat and comical. Again, up so close to the action I could smell the coffee in the prop cups on the bed. Glancing across the room, I could see that I wasn’t the only member of the audience to crack a laugh nor the only one completely absorbed into the scene.
After another mind-blowing performance, I was drawn into this concept and was thinking of the numerous ways I could convince family and friends to book Revels in Hand – from birthday parties, to work events and even a private yacht (maybe I could convince my friends to buy one of these as well).
I was lucky enough to catch up with the Revels in Hand founders afterwards – Lucy Eaton, Mel Fullbrook and Freddie Hutchins. Despite being quite a novel concept in modern times Lucy Eaton explained how private theatre is far from new: “This is theatre in its purest form. Inviting actors to one’s home or to a private gathering was the thing to do in Shakespearean times and it’s our ambition to revive this definitive form of entertainment, so loved by the aristocracy and royalty. You and your guests are so up close and personal with the actors, you can see the laughter lines.”
This is the ultimate theatrical experience for any social gathering and will have guests bragging about it for weeks. Although it’s intimate and inclusive, the audience is there to be dazzled rather than be picked on. The actors are also happy to stay and talk to guests after the performance, however they will depart if needed. Now you have the entertainment, the hardest decision is who to invite.
For more information on Revels in Hand, visit revelsinhand.com.