Arrival is a noisy, spectacular, and joyous celebration of the past, future, and present of a fascinating area that has been somewhat neglected since the decline from its bustling heyday. The event cleverly combines the community vibe with the space that has created and shaped it bringing the rich tapestry of the area to life through a series of vignettes narrated by a superb soundscape.
While the ensemble of many creates a series of tableaus as vibrant and diverse as the community they represent, the real star of the show is the area itself. Each different part is given a narrated history, but also you are given the space to breathe in the extraordinary sight as the history of London’s architecture is laid out before you. There are few sights as breathtaking as watching a plane take off from London’s City Airport over the abandoned Millennium Mill at night and this is incorporated into the scene as casually as the temporary bridge across the Thames to the Excel, from which the view of the Docklands is extraordinary.
During the production, you move around the area, listening (through provided headphones) to a soundtrack that runs from D-Ream to the most charming elderly lady singing the songs her husband wooed her with during the second world war. The combination of diverse musical styles, poetry, and testament from locals as to their experiences hope, and dreams kept a long (and cold) experience moving in every way.
Arrival ends with a short documentary weaving together the stories of five local residents – some born to the Royal Docks, some who have come from far away. All have a huge love for and affinity with the area. They share their personal hopes dreams and memories as well as their ambitions for their home. It is in this sentiment that Arrival finds its strength and place.