0 12 mins 11 mths

This summer, the Riverside Studios in London is home to the European debut of “Tarantino Live: Fox Force Five & The Tyranny of Evil Men.” Presented by the award-winning theatrical team For The Record, the show promises to be a one-of-a-kind, adrenaline-fueled, genre-bending theatrical performance. Combining Tarantino’s most iconic film scenes with live rock ‘n’ roll renditions of songs from his legendary film soundtracks, the show creates a unique 360-degree live-concert experience. Running from June 6 to August 13 the production boasts a star-studded cast and an experienced creative team.

TARANTINO LIVE: FOX FORCE FIVE & THE TYRANNY OF EVIL MEN on 13/06/2023 at Riverside Studios, London.

Joining the cast are two-time Olivier Award-winner George Maguire, West End’s Dreamgirls Karen Mav, X Factor UK favorite Anton Stephans, chart-topping singer Lifford Shillingford of the group Artful Dodger, West End’s Jersey Boys and Mamma Mia! star Mark Isherwood, and actress and singer/songwriter Tara Lee, among many other sensational performers.

Tarantino Live : Karen Mav as Jackie Brown
Tarantino Live : Karen Mav as Jackie Brown
Anton Stephans in Tarantino Live
Anton Stephans in Tarantino Live
George Maguire in Tarantino Live
George Maguire in Tarantino Live

Tarantino Live: the gist

In “Tarantino Live,” the audience follows the adventures of the “Fox Force Five,” a group of fierce female superwomen popularized by Pulp Fiction, as they come together to fight the Tyranny of Evil Men. The show takes the audience on a cinematic, rock ‘n’ roll journey, led by Tara Lee as “Mia” from Pulp Fiction and her alter ego “Beatrix Kiddo” from Kill Bill. George Maguire takes on the role of “Vincent,” a mashup of characters from various Tarantino films, while Karen Mav portrays the iconic “Jackie Brown.” Anton Stephans channels the character “Jules” from Pulp Fiction, and Lifford Shillingford embodies “Marsellus” from Pulp Fiction and “Django” from Django Unchained. Mark Isherwood portrays “Bill,” merging characters from Kill Bill, Inglourious Basterds, Death Proof, and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

The production features a talented ensemble cast, including Maeva Feitelson as “Fabienne” from Pulp Fiction and her alter ego “Shosanna Dreyfus” from Inglourious Basterds, Cleo Caetano as “Butterfly” from Death Proof and her alter ego “Santanico Pandemonium” from From Dusk Till Dawn, Sha Dessi as “O-ren Ishii” from Kill Bill and Pussycat from Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Katie Tonkinson as “Sadie” from Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and Samara Casteallo as “Nikki,” inspired by Vernita Green’s daughter in Kill Bill. Supporting the “FOXES” are dynamos Ben Mabberley as “Tex” from Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Samuel Nicholas as “Marvin” from Pulp Fiction. The vintage rock band of Reservoir Dogs is led by Alexander Zane as “Clarence,” drawing inspiration from QT’s earlier works.

“Tarantino Live” is adapted by Anderson Davis and Sumie Maeda and directed by Anderson Davis. Sumie Maeda serves as the associate director and choreographer, while Jesse Vargas oversees the musical supervision and arrangements. Tony Nominee AnnMarie Milazzo handles vocal design, and Emmy Award winner Matthew Steinbrenner is responsible for scenic design. Other key members of the creative team include Chris Davey (lighting design), Ben Harrison (sound design), Steve Mazurek (costume design), Perry Freeze (video design).

“In case of Tarantino’s flicks there are actually “2” universes. One universe. There’s the realer-than-real universe, alright, and all the characters inhabit that one. Universe two. It’s this movie universe.”jgvfgjchc Tells us the narrator of the show. It’s actually a direct quote by Tarantino himself in an interview to The Project where the filmmakers explained.

“There is actually two separate universes. There is the realer than real universe, alright, and all the characters inhabit that one. But then there’s this movie universe. So From Dusk Till DawnKill Bill, they all take place in this special movie universe. So when all the characters of Reservoir Dogs or Pulp Fiction, when they go to the movies, Kill Bill is what they go to see. From Dusk Till Dawn is what they see.”

Take Pulp Fiction’s Mia Wallace, when she was describing her pilot episode of Fox Force Five. The description she gives to Vincent Vega is basically exactly the same as Kill Bill – which means that this pilot she filmed probably went on to be a film, and that Mia secured the leading role. Make sense?

Interview with writer and director Anderson Davis

We sat down with writer – director of the show Anderson Davis to talk about his creative process. Known for his commitment to staying true to Tarantino’s words and script, Davis shared his admiration for the filmmaker’s unique style.”

Speaking about how the idea of the show came about Davis said it started as a cabaret act many years ago. When you think about the pop soundtracks, Tarantino is one of the first names that comes to mind. So, the Tarantino was first For The Record show really. At this point it was a celebration of the soundtracks. And occasionally, a performer would throw in a phrase from a film to tie the scenes together as just a little bit of context.”

The Tarantino Live is not the only show performed by For The Record. The writer-director continues: “When I joined [the team], the series of shows started to have themes. So, the Martin Scorsese show was called American Crime Requiem. The Baz Lurhmann show is called Star Cross Love. When I think about Quentin Tarantino’s body of work, for me it was quite clear from early on that the theme would be Quentin Tarantino Cinematic Universe.” His movies exist in cohesive world clarifies Davis. “Some of these overlaps are intentional. i.e there was meant to be a film ‘Double V Vega’ about Vince and Vic Vega which was meant to be a prequel to Pulp Fiction.”

Double V Vega Quentin Tarantino vega Brothers
Double V Vega Quentin Tarantino vega Brothers

The Tarantino Live show goes through different vignettes of Tarantino work but there is a journey to follow – the Quentin Tarantino Cinematic Universe. “The core of this universe and the way I’ve built the show is Pulp Fiction,”confided the creator. “Even though it’s not his first written and directed film. When Pulp Fiction came out, not only it was a genre defining film, but it also pointed out that his films are not going to stand alone but will co-exist in his universe. With Vince Vega and Fox Force Five stories, Pulp Fiction reaches both back to reservoir Dogs and in the future to Kill Bill.”

How do you map this universe and make connections, we ask. In each chapter of the story, Davis takes some core piece of Pulp Fiction and uses this story to expand into other parts o this cinematic universe. “For example in chapter three that we call War Time Relations, we take Fabienne, the French girls character of the Bruce Willis character in Pulp Fiction. When I thought about that scene – they are in a motel room, hiding from he gangsters… She has to wait there in a motel while Willis’s character has to go and find his gold watch. ‘How does she feel sitting there all day long?’

One particular scene has proven to be very helpful. “There is one scene where she is in a motel watching a WW II film. And it  triggered an idea: ‘couldn’t she be watching a very specific WW II history movie – Ingrloirous Basterds. Could she be watching her own character – a French woman Shosanna who starts as a victim and ends up as a revenge hero. So, I imagined that in Fabienne’s paranoia waiting for her boyfriend she is watching this war film and by the end of it she feels empowered. We used Fabienne as a code character and connected it to another French girl character in the Quentin Tarantino Cinematic Universe.

The music connects those scenes perfectly. “In that connection between Fabianne and Shosanne we use a different soundtrack from Tarantino movie Kill Bill ‘Good Night Moon’.

There’s a nail in the door
And there’s glass on the lawn
Tracks on the floor
And the TV is on
And I always sleep with my gun
When you’re gone.

“It also links to Fox Force Five where there is a French Fox who is a connection to both Fabianne and Shosanna.” Explaining such complex process so effortlessly, Davis adds: “That’s what we do all the way through the entire show. Music Is a very important connective tissue int his show.”

Just one more example would be Marsellus and Butch relations. The racism that Marsellus encounters in the basement of that shop in Pulp Fiction is part of the legacy of racism in America. So it links in that way it also connects to Django Unchained. It’s a bout a white man and a black man and their friendship and how the black man gets his revenge against people who he’s suffered from. Then I thought that Butch and Marsellus start as adversaries and then they help each other in the end. That’s when I thought they are both knocked out unconscious is the Pulp Fiction. Wouldn’t that be a perfect time to launch back in time into the history of American racism and jump into the story of Django and their journey trying to rescue Django’s wife.”

He continues: “There is also their connection with the car. And of course the stunt man that appears not just in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood but way way back in Death Proof. There is again connection the Pulp Fiction when Marvin gets killed in the car and they are trying to clean up their mess.”

All these hidden Easter eggs ensure that the show is more than just a tribute act, it’s an exploration of the hidden connections and themes in Tarantino’s mind, no less. So, what did Tarantino think about all this interlinked cornucopia? “A couple of years ago, he came to watch the show and he sat next to me. It was a very tense experience. I remember him saying ‘it shouldn’t work but somehow it does”.

And of course, being Tarantino, he’s has a kick ass advise for the creator: “Don’t fuck with my words”, says Davis. “So I always stay true to Tarantino’s words and make sure that if I use any of the quotes from he film, these are the direct quotes and nothing is changed because they have a certain beat to them, certain musicality. And if the words are changed around, then the entire phrase loses its musicality.”

The show runs until the 13th of August and the tickets can be purchased here: https://www.londontheatre.co.uk/show/29833-tarantino-live.

Editor in Chief | Website | + posts

Editor in Chief of Ikon London Magazine, journalist, film producer and founder of The DAFTA Film Awards (The DAFTAs).