Singer-songwriter joined by string quartet as immersive theatre run begins
Laura Marling continued her run of “immersive” Secret Cinema dates last night (June 14) with a stripped-back set at a secret location in east London.
The venue was transformed into the The Grand Eagle Hotel for the event, which saw Marling play a set largely drawing upon songs from her latest album ‘Once I Was An Eagle’.
With the singer alternating between being joined by a string quartet and accompanying herself on the acoustic guitar, she opened with the four-song suite ‘Take The Night Off’, ‘I Was An Eagle’, ‘You Know’ and ‘Breathe’ from her new LP. Responding to the applause from the crowd, she said: “Hello, I’m Laura. That was a long opening song, wasn’t it?”
The gig was staffed by Secret Cinema actors and performers, with guests told the event was set in 1927 and to dress in “vintage black tie”. They were also asked to bring several items with them: a photograph of an old lover, a secret gift for a stranger, flowers for Lady Undine, the mistress of the house, and a choice of an old record, a satchel full of unwanted books or a case unwanted clothes.
Period cocktails were served in the upstairs bar – some of which were named after Marling songs – while food was served in the billiard room in the downstairs of the house. There was also a croquet lawn and various other interactive installations in and around the house.
Marling had appeared earlier in the evening unprompted on the venue’s upstairs balcony to perform a slowed-down duet of Bruce Springsteen’s 1984 hit ‘Dancing In The Dark’ with Eddie Berman. She also performed the likes of ‘Master Hunter’, ‘What He Wrote’, ‘Love Be Brave’, ‘Little Bird’ and ‘Saved These Words’ from her new record.
At one point, as she struggled with tuning between songs, Marling laughingly said: “I’m sorry, I struggle to come up with decent stage patter at normal gigs, so please excuse me.” Other than that, chat was minimal although she did thank the crowd for “being brave” and getting into the spirit of the evening so thoroughly.
She also played ‘Sophia’ from third album ‘A Creature I Don’t Know’ and the title song and ‘Rambling Man’ from her 2010 album ‘I Speak Because I Can’ although, as with all Marling shows, there was no encore.
Last month, Marling announced that she had added a batch of shows to her run of Secret Cinema gigs. The first batch of shows from June 13-21 sold out in record time, so she will now be playing eight more events in a secret east London location from June 22-23, 25-30.