Latitude 2019 – Thursday Highlights

Latitude 2019 got off to a spectacular start with unmissable live music, thrilling theatre performances, stunning dance shows and much more.

In the first of our daily highlights we reviews the National Theatre Live’s screening of War Horse, Frank Turner‘s secret set, Marcus Brigstocke’s Princefest and much more.

National Theatre Live: War Horse

As families gather in the magical Faraway Forest to witness a special screening of the National Theatre’s moving production of War Horse a special visitor appears – Joey, the groundbreaking puppet horse from the play. Pricking his ears and swishing his tail, blink and Joey could be a real horse as he is petted adoringly by the crowd.

Shortly after inside the Theatre Arena the National Theatre Live screening of War Horse begins. The orchestral arrangements are grandiose enough to transport the audience from a field in Suffolk to London’s finest theatre. The deep but vibrant colour palette of the staging has children visibly on the edges of their seats; their mouths open in excitement.

The sheer elegance of the mechanical horses that are used in the live stage production are nothing short of miraculous. All of the movements flow gently against the rugged backdrop of the war-time setting.

As exciting as going to the theatre can be, not much can compare to one of the greatest stage shows viewed in the magical forest of Henham Park.

Frank Turner – Secret Set

Can you get more Latitude than a secret set in the woods? The bar’s set pretty high today when Frank Turner pops up unannounced (save for a tweet here or there) on the SOLAS stage for an acoustic masterclass.

Fans begin to trickle in through the trees as word gets out that Frank, after first playing at Latitude in 2016, is about to play gig number 2,368 in Henham Park this afternoon. Frank’s amiable charm and a classic like ‘Don’t Worry’ quickly shake off the cobwebs of the amassed crowd after a year away from Henham Park.

For such a brief set he crams in the crowd pleasers, ending on a euphoric high with ‘I Still Believe’ via a diversion through the annals of rock ‘n’ roll. He also fits in a tribute to Sister Rosetta Tharpe – the Godmother of the genre.

With a podcast recording on Friday at The Listening Post, Frank is keeping busy over the weekend. The more the merrier we say.

Frank Turner

The Elders

As has become tradition at Latitude on Thursday an opening procession starts walking through the fields of Henham Park, but this is no normal procession as it’s led by Tundra –  a gigantic, ancient earth beast! The procession is called The Elders and they’re walking in search of Tundra’s sister, The Cold, who has gone missing.

Children and adults stare up in amazement as the Tundra’s piercing blue eyes survey the crowd as she is led onwards by mysterious animals and devils past the Theatre Arena and through the Kids Area. Supported by Latitude Festival and the Arts Council, The Elders marches onwards into the night to raise awareness of climate change, extinction and unity.

The Elders

Table Talk with Tracey Macleod

Table Talk has the honour of filming its first ever live episode at Latitude, hosting the illustrious food critic Tracey Macleod for a conversation about her life through the medium of food.

You will no doubt have seen Tracey passing judgement on Masterchef, a job that surprisingly is not entirely fun and games. She tells the audience it makes her feel like, ‘a foie gras goose’ – incapable of eating yet another deconstructed dish.

Growing up, Tracey details how her meals were much less sophisticated; mostly made up of instant mashed potato and tinned chicken from M&S. But, Tracey paints a very archetypal portrait of growing up in the 60s and 70s, where food was going through some… interesting… renaissances.

We’re given an insight into how Tracey’s friendship with Bridget Jones author, Helen Fielding formed during restaurant reviews and dinner parties – the infamous blue soup based on a real life dish cooked by Helen!

In the final Q&A Tracey is asked about her own skills as a chef, what she would cook for a Masterchef round and the resounding theme seems to be that simplicity is often the most effective way to find joy within food.

Exit productions: Fight Night

If you go down to the woods today, as they say, there’s sure to be a surprise. None more so than for wanderers in the Faraway Forest who catch sight of a full-size boxing ring next to The Town Hall.

The ring is indeed the centrepiece of Exit Productions Fight Night,  an immersive play set in the world of amateur boxing. With the lead up to the bout between Ian “Bam Bam” Bradshaw and Joe Williams imminent, the piece takes place in locales dotted about the forest. Substituting for the press conferences and changing rooms needed, the intensity and chemistry of the cast pull you in and make you forget you’re in nature.

With the warring factions behind the bruisers going from pillar to post, they embroil themselves in the hardships of the sport, from family crises to secret doping under the nose of the medical professional.

The audience are in full swing, picking sides, placing bets. By the time the fight begins – judged by four unwitting festivalgoers – the action weaves it way through the ropes, featuring a carefully choreographed fight between the two. The boxers trade blows, the crowd goes wild, and Latitude sees a whole new angle of immersive theatre.

Jesús Carmona

Thursday night flamenco is how we want every Thursday to be from now on as Jesús Carmona is getting us off to a tip-top (and tapping) start.

Once the lead of the prestigious Ballet Nacional de España, having Jesús grace the stage as the sun sets on the first day of the festival is a real treat. As is customary when pioneers of dance take to the floating stage, crowds are lining every spot they can.

The staging is sparse, just a few chairs circling a table, which only hones in on the theatricality. Jesús arms himself either side with a powerhouse vocalist and guitarist, who play cards and shoot dice in amongst the ballet.

And what ballet it is, there’s an intensity which pumps throughout yet Jesús ensures there’s a delicate balance between all the styles thrown to the floor. Most importantly, Jesús ensures that ballet and flamenco are always in perfect equilibrium.

Known for his crossover styles, it’s a spectacular sight to see Jesús in full ballet pointe while his hands pound out a flamenco beat. Seconds later, it’ll be all flamenco in his feet as he storms across the stage. A stunning introduction for what’s to come on The Waterfront Stage this weekend..

Marcus Brigstocke: Princefest

Comedian Marcus Brigstocke once again brings his Prince lip-sync contest Princefest to Latitude – complete with confetti canons and giant inflatable balls filled with sequins. Crowd members are welcomed to The SpeakEasy stage to lip-sync their favourite purple classics – to varying degrees of success.

A man leaps onstage and removes his Paisley Park t shirt to unveil the iconic Prince symbol inked on his back, so it may come as little surprise that he knew every word to ‘Little Red Corvette’ and ended his chance to shine crowd-surfing amongst the front rows.

Princefest serves up hits like, ‘Kiss’ and ‘Raspberry Beret’ but one of the finest moments is a young lady taking to the stage to deliver an album deep-cut that leaves the audience and Brigstocke stunned.

Strangers turn to one another and sing louder than the sound system for the entire duration of this incredible celebration. The music of Prince has clearly made a huge impact on the life of Brigstocke; who is dressed in the iconic purple suit, as much as it has the lives of the crowd.

Prince may have been gone for just over two years now, but the partying crowd tonight will never let his memory even slightly fade.

Latitude 2019 Highlights

Friday Highlights Part 1

In our Friday Highlights Part 1 we basked in Anna Calvi's immense sound, sang out hearts out to Neneh Cherry, watched the inspiring dance of Rambert, moshed to Cherry Glazzer and laughed out loud to Comedy headliner Michelle Wolf.

Find out more