Comedy Festivals Music Theatre ThisWeek In London

Three To See and Stream 5-11 Jul: Festivals, Funny Things, Online Things, Musical Things, Theatre

By | Published on Friday 1 July 2022


Belong & Imagine | Barbican | 9-10 Jul
Yes, we’re headlining with festivals for the third time in as many weeks, because it’s that festival time of year, and there are so many festival type events going on. And actually, I think we have to call this first one a ‘festival type event’ because it’s actually described as a ‘weekender’. But, you know, weekenders are very much like festivals structurally. ‘Belong & Imagine’ is a programme of live performance, creative workshops and talks exploring ways to engage with the ecosystem and reconnect with the natural world, and it’s one of a series of events taking place as a complement to Barbican’s ‘Our Time On Earth’ exhibition. Read about it all here.

Bitesize Festival | Riverside Studios | 5-31 Jul
You might be aware of a previous Bitesize Festival, which took place at Riverside Studios earlier in the year, and now, well, it’s back: a second collection of “punchy, thought-provoking, inspiring and innovative theatre in bitesize pieces” that offers a range of works that promise to be fresh, audacious and inspiring. You can pop in for one show, or you can maybe stay for the whole evening and see everything that’s on. It’s all spread out over a few weeks of course, but this week you can see ‘Moral Panic’, ‘Impromptu Shakespeare’ and ‘Wildcat’s Last Waltz’, and they all look great. Find out more here.

Dear Black People 2.0 | Pleasance Theatre | 5-6 Jul (pictured)
And another return: multi-disciplinary Excellence Theatre company – which champions and amplifies black British artists – present this two-day scratch festival featuring the work of black British playwrights, giving them the opportunity to tell “unique, innovative and fearless stories; offering insight into their experiences”. The event features the work of nine playwrights, with eight plays being performed over two nights, covering a broad range of themes: there are two with a focus on sibling relationships, one about attempting to find love on a dating app, and more than one exploring themes of mental health. Read more about each of the works that will be staged and book your tickets here.


Balham Comedy Festival | The Bedford | 8-16 Jul
What’s this? Another festival? That’s fallen out of the festivals section and into this one? Well, I couldn’t help it, because Balham Comedy Festival made it very clear that it wanted to be in the funny section, so here we are. And you comedy lovers will be delighted to see just how much quality comedy stuff awaits you at The Bedford from 8 Jul. Line ups full of starry well established types and fresh and brilliant up and comers abound. Acts you can expect to see include the likes of Lucy Porter, Zoe Lyons, Ria Lina, John Moloney, Michael Odewale, Dane Baptiste, Carl Donnelly and a whole further host of comedians whose faces will be more than familiar because of their constant appearances on our TV screens… read more about all of it right about here.

Shit-Faced Shakespeare: Romeo & Juliet | Leicester Square Theatre | 6 Jul – 10 Sep Wed-Sat (pictured)
Yay, it’s time for the return of Shit Faced Shakespeare, a troupe you will all surely be aware is a definite TW favourite, lord knows we keep tipping and interviewing them. If anyone is reading that isn’t aware of what they do, it’s kinda there in the title: this lot perform a Shakespeare play, but for every performance one member of the cast gets significantly drunk, and their alcohol induced befuddlement leads to, um, shall we say, unforeseen new directions and hilarity? Oh, and it’s a different cast member each night, don’t worry, it’s not one person having to deal with a horrible hangover four mornings in a row. Anyway, for this summer season, they’re doing that famous tragedy ‘Romeo & Juliet’ which ought to be, um, great fun. Info and tickets here.

Fast Fringe 2022 | Bloomsbury Theatre | 7 Jul
Talking of festival stuff (which we were, but a tip ago, and, come to think of it, a section ago) here’s another festival related event, Chortle’s ‘Fast Fringe’, a showcase for acts heading up to the Edinburgh Fringe later this summer. Hosted by Arthur Smith, it will feature 28 comedy and variety acts, and proceeds from the show go to charity, which is lovely. You can expect to see the likes of Celya AB, Yuriko Kotani, Garret Millerick, Frank Sanazi, Jozz Norris, Luke Rollason and Ada Campe, and lots more, including those yet to be announced. It’s the perfect taster for the edfringe season, especially if you missed last weekend’s ARGComFest, so head to the venue website here to check out the line up and to get your tickets booked. Oh, and you can see it digitally if you can’t make it in-person.


Snowflake On Demand | The Space | until 9 Jul (pictured)
And talking of things you can see online, here are three more things you can see via digital channels. This one was on at The Space recently, and is currently available on-demand, but you have to see it by 9 Jul. It’s the work of Hanna Winter – performer, storyteller, clown and director – and I have heard it’s rather good. “All snowflakes are unique. Some snowflakes also happen to be generation-defining artists. A one-woman sledgehammer breaking the ice of fractured family dynamics with some truly bewildering comedy performance art. Ambitious, absurd and ass-kicking, ‘Snowflake’ will also resolve everyone’s centuries of inherited trauma (promise)”. Read more and arrange to view here.

The False Servant livestream | Orange Tree Theatre | 7 Jul
“When a man thinks he can cynically take a rich woman’s money and then run off with an even more lucrative potential fiancée, he’d best not tell the fiancée by mistake. Le Chevalier, a woman disguised as the son of an aristocrat, embarks on a plan that will expose the dark heart of this male power-play”. This production of Martin Crimp’s acclaimed translation of Pierre Marivaux’s ‘The False Servant’ is still running at the Orange Tree Theatre if you want to see it live and in-person, but there’s a chance to see it via livestream on 7 Jul, and you will be able to see it on-demand from 26-29 Jul. Head to the venue website here to find out more about it.

Ruben | The Space | 5-9 Jul
Back to The Space now for another show you can definitely go and see in-person but which you’ll also have the opportunity to see online, should you wish to. Anyone fancy the notion of a ‘immersive film noir farce’? Yeah, me too. “A mob boss, a detective, an idiot and his puppet walk into a bar. That’s gotta hurt! In a world where it’s possible to be criminally unfunny Frankie and his puppet pal Ruben are guilty as charged. Our boys are hot under the collar, not just cause of the gun pointed at their heads but also the femme fatale with her finger on the trigger. For our comedy duo opportunity comes knock knocking, but who’s there?” Head to the venue website here to find out more.


Love In Bloom | Stone Nest | 7 Jul
And now for a somewhat music-dominated short run section of three more fabulous shows, all of which I’d love to be at. I am going through a quite intense period of choral-music-loving right now and this one leapt out at me because of that, and because it’s a Pride concert performed by LGBT+ chamber choir The Fourth Choir. The theme is love and here’s what to expect: “What is love? Well, come and hear what Kate Rusby and Michel LeGrand have to say on the subject. Shakespeare and Shelley also have some thoughts they want to share with you, as well as Leonard Bernstein and Robbie Burns, Cecilia McDowall and Judith Weir. The concert will also feature a performance of ‘The Hymn To St Cecilia’, an astonishing twelve-minute masterpiece by those queer geniuses Benjamin Britten and WH Auden, which asks whether love should be chaste or sexual – St Cecilia or Aphrodite”. More here.

The Woman Who Eats Babies | Barons Court Theatre | 5-9 Jul
This one is a theatre performance with music, and it’s based on folk tales from Japan, translated and performed by Doubtful Sound, a Japanese theatre company based in London. This show focuses on the lore of a particular prefecture, Yamanashi, and features music by Japanese traditional music specialist Yui Shikakura. “Architects inspired by a bridge of monkeys, cursed women licking the sick, a shop keeper who hates the number four, adulterous housewives, arguing mountains, and a grave digging, dead-baby-eating woman – these are the tales of the merchant centre of Yamanashi”. Head to the venue website here for more information and booking link.

Tricity Vogue’s All Girl Swing Band | Wilton’s Music Hall | 6-7 Jul (pictured)
As you know, we met, and continue to meet, lots of our favourite acts and companies up at the old edfringe, and these tend to be long term relationships that rarely come to an end. It’s been quite a long time since we first witnessed Tricity Vogue performing up in the Scottish capital one August, but we’ve always appreciated her and never looked back. This week she returns to Wilton’s Music Hall with her All Girl Swing Band, the members of which have been performing together since 2011. The nine piece ensemble are inspired by 1930s bandleader Ivy Benson and offer vintage music with a twist, “mashing up 1920s, 30s and 40s with 70s, 80s and 90s sounds”. See this page here for more.


Fathers | Brixton House | 5-17 Jul (pictured)
The final section is all about the theatre this week, and we’re heading first over to Brixton House for the compelling-sounding ‘Fathers’, a piece of documentary theatre from the Babel company. They’ve created this work using interviews, resulting in a show that addresses the question of how we can imagine fatherhood outside of patriarchy. “How does one become a father today? On the stage, two actors take hold of the stories collected and draw up a small fresco of fatherhood. From the doting father to the pater familias, from the office to the kitchen, from the pancake toss to the photo book, they tenderly paint a series of portraits”. Read all about it here.

Report To An Academy | Old Red Lion Theatre | 5-30 Jul
This piece centres on an intelligent ape, ‘Red Peter’, who, says the blurb, “gets captured in a West Africa hunting expedition and sent to Europe on a ship. On board, he endures excessive taunting and abuse. So, to effect his survival, Red Peter learns to mimic and imitate the ship’s crew and their language from his cage. By evolving to behave like a human being, Peter devises a brilliant escape. He survives and ultimately reaches civilization to present his fascinating tale of transformation – and the horrid details of his former ape life – to a leading Scientific Academy”. This is Gabriele Jakobi’s adaptation of a classic Franz Kafka short story featuring American actor and director Robert McNamara. See this page here.

What If All This Is Real | Drayton Arms Theatre | 6-9 Jul
And so to our final tip of the week and we are heading over to the Drayton Arms Theatre for it. It’s an intriguing piece from award winning writer Neil Bebber about fast-forwarding towards environmental disaster. “As humankind lurches towards its inevitable demise, a new political party’s manifesto to accelerate towards oblivion begins to gain traction. ‘What If All This Is Real?’ is a twisted dark comedy that explores the outcome when we’re given the choice to fast forward to the end of humanity in a flaming ball of hedonism”. Sounds rather interesting, doesn’t it? Head to the venue website here to find out more.

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