THURSDAY 19 NOVEMBER 2015


GARY KITCHING: ME & MR C
It might be a lie to say that I was wildly attracted to 'Me & Mr C' from the start, but I have to confess to finding ventriloquists' dummies a bit spooky...once I had heard more about it, however, I became much more enthusiastic, and I think this improvised play sounds as though it will be a rare treat.

The man behind the show is Gary Kitching, who created it, and appears in it. I put some questions to him, find out more about what it's all about, and what inspired it. And you can read the interview here.

'Me & Mr C' is on at Ovalhouse from 18-21 Nov, see the venue website here for more info.




SARAH DOWLING AND KATH DUGGAN: US THEN
A fascinating sounding show from dance professionals Sarah Dowling and Kath Duggan comes to London this week, courtesy of Compass Commissions, a co-initiative from Trinity Laban and Greenwich Dance, which supports artists in creating new work.

To find out more about the piece, I spoke to Sarah and Kath, ahead of the upcoming performances. And you can read the interview here.

'Us Then' is on at Trinity Laban from 19-20 Nov. See this page here for more info and to book.




MAYA LINDH AND VALA FANNELL: THE WILD AT HEART
I feel pretty sure that most readers will recognise the greatness of US playwright Tennessee Williams, though they may not be aware of many of his short pieces, however well acquainted they might be with his major works. I was therefore interested to hear about this triple bill of his plays, especially as the team behind it are going to do their darndest to transport you back to the American 1940s with music, cocktails and just the right sort of décor.

To find out more about the show, I put some questions to its creators, Maya Lindh and Vala Fannell. And you can read the interview here.

'The Wild At Heart' is on at HTH Arts Centre from 21 Nov-4 Dec. See the venue website here to book your tickets.




ROBYN WINFIELD-SMITH: HOWARD BARKER DOUBLE BILL
This show caught my eye the moment I espied it when trawling upcoming theatre events a few weeks back - a double bill of plays from renowned British playwright Howard Barker, starring familiar TV and West End face, Nicholas Le Provost.

Acclaimed young creative Robyn Winfield-Smith, assistant director at the RSC and associate director at Omnibus, is at the helm of this production. I put some questions to her, to find about more about this show, and her career in general. And you can read the interview here.

The Howard Barker Double Bill is on at Arcola Theatre from 25 Nov-19 Dec. See this page here for info and to book.

FRIDAY 20 NOVEMBER 2015 >>
The Enchanted Woodland | Syon Park | 20 Nov-6 Dec (pictured)
Oh yeah. Yeah. Now this is exactly the sort of shizzle I need to get me through dark days. Delightful light displays adorning the trees and gardens of Syon Park and stopping me from being all miserable because it's so bloody grim and dreary. What a pity this is happening in Brentford, for a short period, and not in my back garden, for the whole winter. That said, I'm prepared to make the special trip, and I expect you will be too. I have never been to this particular event, but I've been to very similar ones elsewhere and they were entirely satisfying, so I expect no less of this. Info and how to get tickets from right about here.

Show Me The Money and How To Die Of A Broken Heart | Battersea Arts Centre | 20-21 Nov

These two pieces are part of BAC's Scratch strand, which, as you might expect, allows artists to test out their ideas on audiences whilst their work is in development. The themes of these two performances caught my attention - Paula Varjak's 'Show Me The Money' examines the relationship those working in the creative world have with money, and the financial precariousness they often live with, while Femi Martin's 'How To Die Of A Broken Heart' explores the highs and lows of loving someone with personal anecdotes and a bit of neuroscience. More info and how to book your pay-what-you-can ticket from here.

Flowering Cherry by Robert Bolt | Finborough Theatre | 17 Nov-20 Dec

Oscar winning playwright Robert Bolt's 'Flowering Cherry' wasn't overly well received, I discovered, back in 1957, but that seems mostly to have been because folks thought it was too much like 'Death Of A Salesman'. But, you know, that doesn't mean it's a bad play (one could even regard it as a recommendation), and I would really like to see this revival, the first London production of it in fifty years. It's about a man who dreams of escaping the rat race, and the effect those dreams have on his present life. See this page here for more info and to book.
SATURDAY 21 NOVEMBER 2015 >>


Hogwarts In The Snow | Leavesden | 13 Nov - 31 Jan
The Warner Bros. Harry Potter studio tour is on all year, I know, but I thought I would mention it this week because it's currently got its seasonal clothing on until the new year, for this special 'Hogwarts In The Snow' transformation. As you might expect, the sets will be all snowy and festive, with Christmas trees and decorations, replica feasts, and 'lit' fires. It's fairly pricey treat, this (though no more than the cost of a big West End show), but if it's on your 'at some point' agenda, I think this is probably a great time to do it. Info and tickets from here.

Meta | Jackson's Lane | 21-24 Nov (pictured)

The title might give you a clue as to the content here: it's a show about making shows. The company behind it is Gandini Juggling, who, back in the nineties, collaborated with choreographer Gill Clarke on a series of experimental pieces which were staged at Jackson's lane. They return to celebrate the venue's fortieth birthday with this new commission looking back at the creation of those performances. There will be complex juggling, text, ballet dancing, hammers, nudity, tables and a comedy sketch, and Gandini's customary commentary on form, style and substance. Intrigued? See this page here.

Jack And The Beanstalk | Hackney Empire | 21 Nov-5 Jan
Well, looks like we are well and truly heading into panto season (definitely expect more pantomimic and Christmas themed recommendations in the coming days and weeks) and I think Hackney Empire can be trusted to provide us with a good one - last year's 'Mother Goose' was immensely successful and played to huge numbers over the course of the season. This one stars Olivier Award winning veteran dame Clive Rowe, and Olivier nominee Debbie Kurup. See the venue website here for more info and to book.
SUNDAY 22 NOVEMBER 2015 >>


Hal Cruttenden - Straight Outta Cruttenden | Leicester Square Theatre | 22 Nov (pictured)
You've probably seen Hal Cruttenden peppering the TV panel shows, and you might even have seen his previous live work. But this one got a great response from the critics up at the Edinburgh Fringe earlier this year, so I think it's a pretty safe bet that this will make for an entertaining hour. Cruttenden has a DVD coming out around now, too. More info and ticket bookery here.

The Giraffe And The Pelly And Me | Little Angel Theatre | 21 Nov-31 Jan

Here's one for the kids, as it's a Sunday, and this time an adaptation of one the practically peerless Roald Dahl's less famous books...though to be fair, it's still pretty famous. This very jolly musical tells the tale of a young boy and three animals (giraffe, pelican, monkey) who create a ladderless window cleaning company. It's suitable for children aged 4-11, but parents will probably enjoy it too. See the venue website here for more info and to book.

Suspiciously Cheap Comedy | Backyard Comedy Club | 22 Nov

It really, really, really is quite suspicious that this only costs a fiver when behind this regular comedy night are two major TW favourites - Gein's Family Giftshop and Goose. Plus, for this particular edition, their suspiciously good line up of guests comprises even more acts beloved by us - the excellent and acclaimed Boy With The Tape On His Face, the fabulous multiple-comedy-award-nominee James Acaster and the fantastic Canadian Comedy Award nominee Mae Martin. See this page here for all the gen.
MONDAY 23 NOVEMBER 2015 >>
Rowena Haley - My Green Astra | Etcetera Theatre | 23 Nov
I have a soft spot for northerners, because I am a northerner myself, and, marooned down here in this flat southern landscape, I yearn for the peaks and dales, the grimy mill towns and the soothing sound of a Lancashire accent. Which is why I hope to head to the Etcetera Theatre to hear the musical comedy stylings of guitar-toting Boltonian Rowena Haley, and I hope you will too. See this page here for more info and to book tickets.

Licensed To Ill | Camden People's Theatre | 23 Nov-12 Dec
I suspect this isn't one for the young and easily offended, given there's a 16+ limit on it, and it doesn't really surprise me, as this show is all about Mike D, MCA and AdRock, aka the Beastie Boys. Described as a "hiphop history tour and a playful exploration of the rules of cultural appropriation", it's the work of Simon Maeder and Adam el Hagar, who've combined rap, Dj-ing, physical comedy and puppetry to create an innovative and eclectic piece of theatre. See the venue website here for more info.

Max and Ivan - The End | Soho Theatre | 23-28 Nov
TW favourites Max and Ivan make their way to the Soho Theatre for a run of their very highly acclaimed 2015 show 'The End', an epic comedy sketch piece about the inhabitants of a doomed seaside town. The award nominated duo have never failed to impress our reviewers so I have no doubt they will impress you with their vivid storytelling and convincing characters. All the gen right here.
TUESDAY 24 NOVEMBER 2015 >>


Chapter 2 | New Diorama | 24-28 Nov
This is the latest show from The Story Project, an outfit dedicated to developing writers along with their work. "The most talented artists will take inspiration from an element they discovered when writing for The Story Project, and then, in one room in one week, they come up with four polished, perfect and parasitically addictive half hour plays for you to peruse at your pleasure," says the blurb on the website. Interested? Go here.

Bound Feet Blues - A Life Told In Shoes | Tristan Bates Theatre | 24 Nov-12 Dec

The topic of foot binding is an emotional and provoking one, telling us so much about how society viewed the women who were subjected to it. Malaysian writer-performer Yang-May Ooi explores female empowerment and sexual identity via the oral history of her female forbears, in what promises to be a powerful and moving solo show. See this page here for more info and to book.

Two Short Comedies by Anton Chekhov | White Bear Theatre | 24-28 Nov

Oh, I really like Chekhov's funny short plays, and in fact once, a long time ago, performed in a clutch of them, two of which are the comedies being produced here. My delightful memories of these well written gems meant there was no way I was going to scroll past this listing when I saw it. If your experience of Chekhov shows is limited to the four biggies (you know which ones I mean) then I think it's time you branched out. See the venue website here for more info and tickets.
WEDNESDAY 25 NOVEMBER 2015 >>


Howard Barker Double Bill | Arcola Theatre | 25 Nov-19 Dec
This double bill of plays by acclaimed playwright Howard Barker features a London premiere, of dark comedy 'The Twelfth Battle Of Isonzo', and a welcome revival of the rather more serious 'Judith: A Parting From The Body'. Great material to begin with, but it's also in the hands of a very strong team, so I think it's safe to assume that this will be a classy production. See the venue website here for more info and to book.

The Wild At Heart | HTH Arts Centre | 21 Nov-4 Dec

Well, I was immediately attracted to this show up at Hornsey Town Hall for a number of reasons. Firstly, this is a triple bill of Tennessee Williams' short plays. Any fool knows that the US playwright was good at his job, so that's reason one. Reason two is that he wrote lots of short plays, and we always focus on the big ones, and it's nice to see the less well known stuff get an airing. Reason three is that I just really like collections of small plays. Reason four is that the team behind the production are making this a little bit extra special by dressing up the venue appropriately, in 1940s New Orleans style, and offering you the chance to treat yourself to themed cocktails whilst listening to live jazz and blues during the breaks. Sounds like a good night out to me. Info and how to book just here.

Cinderella and The Beanstalk | Theatre503 | 25 Nov-2 Jan (pictured)

And speaking of cocktails (which we were, a few sentences back) this show offers what it calls a "glorious cocktail of your favourite pantomimes", so that seems as though it might be a great pre-Christmas outing for those of you who just can't decide which panto to go to this year. But, I would urge you to go anyway, because this is the work of critically acclaimed three man troupe Sleeping Trees, and everything they do is frickin excellent. Get your tickets here now.
THURSDAY 26 NOVEMBER 2015 >>
The Snowman | Peacock Theatre | 25 Nov-3 Jan
You have to stop being in denial now. Yes, I know that Christmas is still a month off, but the fact is, it's only a month off. And if you are going to have a lovely pre-seasonal show trip then you need to get it done before all the tickets run out. Anyway, it wouldn't matter if they put this on in June, I'd still recommend it, because it's lovely and gives you that warm lovely Christmas-in-your-belly feeling that you deserve all year round. Plus, it's a big, fab, show, and you know you want it. Tickets and info from here.

Ross Noble - An Evening Of Improv With Special Guests | Soho Theatre | 26 Nov
On the Soho website, the blurb for this show calls Ross Noble "one of the most popular stand up comedians of our time", and I reckon they're probably entirely correct about that. He's certainly been one of the most popular stand-up comedians in my house for a good decade or so. So, you surely won't miss the opportunity to see this national treasure doing what he does best. Also on on 3 and 10 Nov. See the venue website here for more info.

The Ballad Of Robin Hood | Southwark Playhouse | 26 Nov-26 Dec (pictured)
Talking of blurbs (as I did in the previous tip), on the event page for this show, you'll find words like rollicking and rambunctious, so that's me sold already. Plus, I am going through a bit of a loving-historical-or-myth-based-media phase at the moment. Sorry if you aren't going through such a phase, but I doubt you will be sorry about taking the time to go and see this - it promises "swordplay, songs, sheriffs and satire" and sounds extremely family-friendly if it's a family with children aged 7+. More info and tickets from this page here.
 
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