THURSDAY 10 DECEMBER 2015


SOFIE HAGEN: BUBBLEWRAP
TW Favourite Sofie Hagen heads to Soho Theatre this month with 'Bubblewrap', the show that won her towering heaps of acclaim, and the Comedy Award newcomer gong, at this year's Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Naturally, I was desperate to a) see the show and b) talk to her about stuff.

But then it occurred to me that earlier in the year, during the comedian's said award winning run in the Scottish capital, my colleague Chris Cooke already talked to her about stuff, at some length. So, being a resourceful person, and a keen recycler, I amalgamated the answers he collected back in August with responses to some questions I asked her last week. Aaaaaand... Ta-Dah! And you can read the interview here.

Sofie performs 'Bubblewrap' at Soho Theatre from 10 Dec-6 Jan. See this page here for more info and to book tickets.




JAMIE EASTLAKE: N16 & A FESTIVE HOMAGE TO THE GREATEST FILM SAGA OF ALL TIME
One of London's newer fringe venues Theatre N16 - now moved from Stokey to Balham SW12 - next week celebrates the mid-December release of the latest film in a certain well known space-based movie series with a timely homage.

The show may have been conjured up because of an unexpected gap in the programme, but it sounds as though the quality of the production will be pretty magical, given the talents of the creative team behind it. I put some questions to the director, N16 founder Jamie Eastlake. And you can read the interview here.

'Theatre N16 Present A Festive Homage To The Greatest Film Saga Of All Time', is on at Theatre N16, above The Bedford in Balham, from 14-17 Dec. See this page here for more info and to book tickets.
FRIDAY 11 DECEMBER 2015 >>
The Dazzle | Found111 | 10 Dec-30 Jan
This is the UK premiere of a piece from Tony Award winning playwright Richard Greenberg, and will probably have no trouble attracting an audience, given the original and exciting nature of the play, an interesting performance space, and the fact that some names are involved, the starriest of which is probably Andrew Scott, of 'Sherlock' and 'Spectre' fame. See this page here for more info and to book tickets.

Hari Kondabolu | Soho Theatre | 11-12 Dec (pictured)

This US comedian has an impressive clutch of TV appearances behind him - both at home in America and in the UK, and the critics have commended his intelligent and well structured material. Gotta be honest, haven't actually seen him perform, but I feel as though this one is definitely worth taking a chance. If you think it's a chance, given that he's been on shows like Letterman and Jimmy Kimmel. See the venue website here for more info and to book your tickets.

London Contemporary Music Festival | Ambika P3 | 11-17 Dec
Yay, I'm going to recommend a whole festival now, almost a week's worth of top quality, exploratory music stuff. It all takes place at the one appealing venue, Ambika P3, and there are lots of different events to choose from. There's a definite US West Coast thing going on, with contributors like Pauline Oliveros, Otis O'Solomon, and Ellen Fullman, but all sorts of other themes emerge, operatic, post-internet, modernist... see the festival website here for more info on it all.
SATURDAY 12 DECEMBER 2015 >>


Thunderbards - Chapter III | Bloomsbury Studio | 12 Dec
Yay for sketch comedy duo Thunderbards, who charmed at least one TW reviewer with their 2014 Edinburgh show, and made a favourable impression on lots of other critics (you know, from other publications) in 2015 with this, their latest outing. They're a quirky and inventive pair, who are getting better all the time. See this page here for more info and to book tickets.

Josie Long's Christmas Miracle | King's Place | 12 Dec (pictured)

And now, to the lovely Josie Long, a long, long, long term TW favourite, whether through her myriad appearances up at edfringe, or through her myriad appearances all over the rest of the place. She's got a lovely solid line up of guests joining her, and, by the pricking of my thumbs (and a quick recce of the booking process) I suspect all the available tickets will be gone soon, so for heaven's sake, hurry up and book yours. Here.

Red Riding Hood | Pleasance Theatre | 7 Dec-3 Jan
This sounds like a fun and accessible show for a family audience, courtesy of acclaimed musical theatre writing partnership of Jake Bunger and Pippa Cleary: original music, a story of bravery and love, in a bit of a twist on the classic tale. See the venue website here for more info and to book tickets.
SUNDAY 13 DECEMBER 2015 >>


Labels | New Diorama | 13-14 Dec
This show got a scorchingly good review from our reviewer up in Edinburgh, and also won a Fringe First, so I feel I can pretty much guarantee that this is going to be brilliant. It's a one man show, in which writer and performer Joe Sellman-Leava tells the story of growing up as a person of mixed heritage in rural Devon, and seems particularly timely, given that there's so much debate going at present over immigration and the plight of refugees. See this page here for more info and to book.

The Little Match Girl | Lilian Baylis Studio | 12 Dec-3 Jan
Oh, I wept buckets over that little match girl as a child, and would still, if I let myself think about it for too long. This acclaimed dance theatre show, based on the classic tale by Hans Christian Anderson and choreographed by Arthur Pita, is aimed at a family audience, and strikes a slightly happier note than the slightly grim (if Christmassy) original. See the Sadler's Wells website here for all the gen.

Isy Suttie - The Actual One (work in progress) | Pleasance Theatre | 13 Dec (pictured)

If you are anything like me (and I am sure one hundred percent of you are) then you are a big fan of Isy Suttie, star of 'Peep Show' and Radio 4 stuff, and her own fab stand up sets. This one is about growing up - or not - and settling down - or not - and what happens when everyone else seems to be moving on without you. It's a theme I can very much relate to. Even though I probably now qualify as 'settled'. More info from the venue website here.
MONDAY 14 DECEMBER 2015 >>
Massive Lazy Girls | Soho Theatre | 14 Dec
Wooo Hooo. If you took three of my favourite sketch troupes and mashed them all together... well, this is exactly what you would get, because this is three of my favourite sketch troupes - Massive Dad, Lazy Susan and Birthday Girls - all mashed together. They've all attracted critical acclaim and myriad multi-star ratings, so I don't think you can go wrong here. What a lovely pre-Christmas treat. See the venue website here for more info.

Sarah Pascoe's Christmas Assembly | Battersea Arts Centre | 14-23 Dec
I don't suppose that last one is actually Christmas themed, even though I called it a pre-Christmas treat, but this one actually is Christmas focused. Well, it's got Christmas in the title anyway, so this really can genuinely be called a Christmas treat. And now that I've actually read the blurb, it transpires that the show does actually involve a Christmas theme. Enough mentions of Christmas? Want more? See this page here.

A Midsummer Night's Dream | Arcola Theatre | 14-19 Dec (pictured)
Okay, here's one for those of you who are completely fed up of bloody Christmas, like I'm going to be if I don't stop talking about it all the blooming time. This one isn't even set in winter, though I suppose it does contain magical fairies and what have you. Anyway, this is Arcola Queer Collective's critically acclaimed adaptation of the Shakespeare classic, which blends theatre, cabaret, spoken word, music and movement, and it comes highly recommended. See the venue website here for more info and to book.
TUESDAY 15 DECEMBER 2015 >>


That Is All You Need To Know | New Diorama | 15-19 Dec (pictured)
Highly acclaimed group Idle Motion are the force behind this show, which tells untold stories from Bletchley Park, and the secrets of how the enigma code was cracked. It's an immersive celebration of the work of those who helped bring the war to an end, a multimedia production, based on personal testimonies, inventively staged. Definitely one for the diary. See this page here for more info and to book.

Holy Presents | Camden People's Theatre | 15-19 Dec
I must confess, this looks a bit, well, eccentric, especially if you focus on the image used in the listing, which features puppets with human heads. But these preview performances offer a comical piece featuring the Holy Trinity - yes, that's right, God, Jesus, and The Holy Spirit - dealing with the traditional trappings of Christmas: The Queen's Speech, parlour games, the sound of Slade. All the info you will require is right about here.

Land Of Lights | ArtsDepot | 15 Dec-3 Jan
Another nice Christmas-period show for the little ones, this, suitable for children aged 3-5, and their accompanying adults, a shared adventure to a magical and twinkly land of lights, featuring interactive elements, puppets, and live music. Lots of performances over the holiday, but it looks like tickets are selling pretty quickly, so get your skates on if you fancy it. More info and ticket bookery on this page here.
WEDNESDAY 16 DECEMBER 2015 >>


Christmas with Septura: A Festival of Nine Lessons & Carols for Brass Septet | King's Place | 16 Dec
Not sure whether or not it's because of my northern upbringing, but there's not much that can swell my heart like the sound of a brass band. So, naturally, I am a fan of Septura, who seek to "redefine brass chamber music through the uniquely expressive sound of the brass septet". This is their take on the traditional Christmas service from King's College Cambridge, and features narration from that nice Roger Allam. See this page here for more info and to book.

The Firework Maker's Daughter | Royal Opera House | 10 Dec-2 Jan (pictured)

We try to focus on the fringier elements of London cultural offerings, as you are probably aware, so it's not so often we recommend something at the Royal Opera House. But a) this is in the Linbury Studio Theatre and b) it's a critically acclaimed family show based on the story by one of my favourite authors, Philip Pullman. Expect something colourful and explosive. Info and tickets from the venue website here.

Bull | Young Vic | 11 Dec-9 Jan
And so to another critically acclaimed (and award winning) piece. Clare Lizzimore's production of Mike Bartlett's 'Bull', is a sharp, funny, production, focusing on business and office politics, and bearing shades of 'The Apprentice' about it. Only returning for a short run, so get your tickets pronto. See this page here for all the info.
THURSDAY 17 DECEMBER 2015 >>
Bewitchment On Black Ice | Landor Theatre | 10 Dec-9 Jan
Wow, a fringey, small-theatre (synthetic) ice show for those of you who wouldn't be seen dead at 'Disney On Ice'. Or, for those of you who would be seen very much alive at 'Disney On Ice', but would also like to see a more... well... boutique event, like this. As you can probably tell by the title, it's got a fairly dark story, but perhaps things turn out okay in the end. It's a pretty unique sort of event, whatever the subject matter, so don't miss your chance, get your info and tickets here.

Santa Dives Into Sea Life | London Aquarium | 17-23 Dec (pictured)
I am not sure if Santa swimming around with the fishes really ought to qualify as a 'culture tip', but, you know, it doesn't all have to be high art. Or art at all. Well, not all the time, anyway. I thought this looked fun, if bizarre, and even more fun if you already have one of those handy London Aquarium annual passes. If you have to pay, possibly not worth going just for this, though if you are planning a visit anyway, you might want to make it on one of these days, so you can wave at Father Christmas. See this page for info.

Astronomy Photographer Of The Year | Royal Observatory | until 26 June
I love good photography, and I love looking at the stars, and so this is the kind of exhibition that could have been put together just for me. It's already been running for a while (it opened in September) and carries on until the summer, so there's no rush, really, but, I don't know, this feels like a nice, festive, Decemberish thing to do, in my opinion. More info about it all, right here.
 
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