The Gate Takes a Trip
With his scholarly specs and air of enthusiastic innocence, Lou Stein seems a highly unlikely Master of Ceremonies for a drug-crazed orgy of fear and loathing. That, however, is his current task and he is approaching it with evident relish.
Over the past three years this young American has established the Gate Theatre in Notting Hill as one of the most adventurous of London’s fringe houses despite scant support from the Arts Council.
Based above a pub in a space not much larger than the average front room, the Gate regularly attracts uncomfortably crushed crowds for an unusually catholic choice of plays which have ranged from neglected East European works to gripping adaptations of Orwell and Nathaniel West.
But now the Gate is on the move, crossing the river to the Latchmere pub in Battersea Park Road to take possession of a new custom-built theatre that will be positively luxurious by fringe standards. It has cost £100,000 and been achieved with the support- and hard cash- of a record company and the brewery.
The old Gate will stay open - and the new theatre opens on January 28 with his adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
Quite what the unhip residents will make of Thompson’s “savage journey to the heart of the American Dream” remains to be seen… but theatrical risks have paid off handsomely for the Gate in the past.
Charles Spencer The Evening Standard.
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