THURSDAY 5 MAY 2016


MAX AND IVAN: THE END
You Londoners are a very lucky bunch because this month and next in our fair capital city, the very funny and talented duo Max and Ivan perform their latest critically acclaimed show 'The End'.

As per their typical output, it's a multi-character play with a big theme – the comical depiction of a small town and its eccentric characters, all on the brink of extinction. I asked some questions, about the show, and other stuff, ahead of their imminent dates. Read the interview here.

Max and Ivan perform 'The End' at ArtsDepot on 7 May, and then at Soho Theatre from 20-25 Jun. Click this link here for the ArtsDepot page and this one here for the Soho Theatre page.




KATIE GIBSON: THE KILLING OF CHARLES BRAVO
'The Killing Of Charles Bravo' ought to appeal to anyone with an interest in the historical and the mysterious, and it's got the added appeal of being a site-specific promenade performance that deals with events that genuinely took place in that very spot, The Bedford in Balham, which, as you're probably aware, is the new home of Theatre N16.

I was certainly intrigued when I heard about this, so I put a few quick questions to the creator of the piece, Katie Gibson from producing company Twenty Seven Live. Read the interview here.

The Killing Of Charles Bravo is on at Theatre N16 from 9-19 May. See this page here for info and to book.




ANTHONY BIGGS: I HAVE BEEN HERE BEFORE
Jermyn Street is known for its revivals of lesser known plays, and I was ever so pleased to see that the latest piece to be brought back to life at the venue is by JB Priestley, because he is one of my absolute favourites.

'I Have Been Here Before', one of the playwright's 'time plays', explores supernatural themes, and for this staging features a fairly starry cast. I spoke to the director of the show, Jermyn Street AD Anthony Biggs, to find out more. Read the interview here.

'I Have Been Here Before' is on at Jermyn Street Theatre from 3-21 May. See this page here for info and to book.




MIKE YEAMAN: FRANK SUMATRA
I am always up for a bit of surreal comedy, and 'Frank Sumatra' definitely sounds like it would fall into that category; luckily for me (and you), the play heads to Theatre N16 next week.

The play, which features an orangutan (not a real one) and radio-play-style staging, is the work of writer Mike Yeaman. I put some questions to him, ahead of the upcoming run. Read the interview here.

'Frank Sumatra' is on at Theatre N16 from 9-18 May. See the venue website here for booking info.



FRIDAY 6 MAY 2016 >>

Display | Wellcome Collection | 6 May
Physically integrated dance company Candoco, one of the UK's leading companies of disabled and non-disabled dancers, presents this intimate evening of dance and sound to explore what it means to display and to be on display. Part of the museum's Friday Late Spectaculars strand, the exhibition will take place throughout the building, and it's free to wander round (though entry is not guaranteed if it gets busy). See this page here for more info.

Wastwater | Tabard Theatre | 4 May-4 Jun
Award winning playwright Simon Stephens, of 'The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night Time' adaptation renown, is the writer of this rather tense-sounding play about fractured relationships on the brink of change; it sounds as though, despite the serious nature of the subject matter, there's plenty of poignancy and black humour, and it's in the hands of a great team, so I would really like to see it. Here's the link to more details, if you are of the same mind.

Dane Baptiste – Reasonable Doubts | Soho Theatre | 3-7 May (pictured)
Argh, nearly missed this, it's been running since Tuesday. Dane Baptiste is really excellent, and he has an Edinburgh Comedy Award nomination to prove it. Plus, he's been on 'Live At The Apollo', which I acknowledge isn't always a guarantee of quality, but in this case, it is. And this particular show, 'Reasonable Doubts', has had loads of great reviews. See the venue website here for info and to book.


SATURDAY 7 MAY 2016 >>

The Wunderkammer | Hen & Chickens Theatre | 7 May
The Wunderkammer is a regular thing that brings together TED-style talks from experts, enthusiasts and inspiring speakers, with improv comedy from one of the UK's leading groups, Do Not Adjust Your Stage. Sounds fairly unique and rather interesting, doesn't it? Go here for more info and here to book.

Max and Ivan – The End | ArtsDepot | 7 May (pictured)

I know for a fact we've tipped this show before, but we are darn well going to do it again because we love Max and Ivan, and their brilliant, clever and comedic longform sketch/comedy theatre style. If you haven't yet seen one of their shows, it's genuinely criminal. Don't miss them this time or I'm sending the cops round. Er, unless you are busy seeing one of the other two things in today's tips.  Step right this way to book your tickets.

That Brazen Electric Strap Of A Wan | King's Head Theatre | 7,14, 19 May
This is only on three times, as you might have noticed, if you actually read things, so make sure you don't miss it. It's set on a fictional Irish island, and tells the story of a retired headmistress who has been 'good' all her life and now decides it's time to explore the pleasures of sex and drugs. It's about more than just that though: "the play is a wry state-of-the-nation look at contemporary Ireland, and the scars left by the century long journey since the turbulent years of the Easter Rising and the War of Independence". So, I reckon it will be interesting. And, I've just noticed that my absurdly talented old friend Madeleine Brolly is in it, and that alone is a good reason to see it... Get your tickets here.


SUNDAY 8 MAY 2016 >>

Edfringe previews – Larry Dean and Joey Page | Camden Comedy Club at Camden Head | 8 May
These London previews have already been going on for ages. I am amazed by how early this starts. Back in the day, there were about four London previews in mid July, now it seems they start about a month after the previous Edinburgh Festival ends. I don't always feel like recommending them, but here's one that I do wish I could see: two recently appointed TW favourites, Larry Dean and Joey Page, road-testing their shows ahead of the comedy Mecca that is Edfringe. Go here for all the info you need.

After Independence | Arcola Theatre | 4-28 May (pictured)
Award winning theatre company Papatango present this premiere of BBC Scriptroom winner May Sumbwanyambe's 'After Independence', which is inspired by real events in Zimbabwe, and examines the issues of land ownership, dispossession and justice: times have changed, and now white farmers must answer for the crimes of the past. Click on this link here for info, and to book.

Beyond The Streets | New Diorama | 8 May
This is a mixed bag of performance, theatre, music and talks, all of which focus on the subject of homelessness, examine what it's like to be homeless, and explore the reasons why people become homeless. Homelessness is rising, and rough sleeping has increased a shocking fifty-five percent since 2010. It's scary, and horrible, and events like this are important, to educate and inspire to action. See this page here for all the details.


MONDAY 9 MAY 2016 >>

The Little Prince | Arcola Theatre | 9-14 May
"A pilot crashes his plane in the Sahara Desert, and meets a young prince from a distant asteroid. This little prince has travelled the universe, and theirs is a tale of wonder, friendship and loss. After a life among the stars, one might want for nothing. But the little prince needs one thing more..." This is a previously acclaimed production, Arcola Queer Collective's sell-out interpretation of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's classic. Go here for all the info.

Fanfiction | Southbank Centre | 9 May (pictured)
This long running comedy night which began at the New Zealand International Comedy Festival back in 2011, and which has had several successful Edfringe runs, sees acts reading out exactly what you'd expect from that title – fanfiction based on their favourite works of TV, film and literature. Definitely one for all you comedy-loving, internet-inhabiting geeks out there (raises hand) but I reckon it'll be fun for you even if you don't identify as the above. See the venue website here for info and to book.

JAMJAR | Downstairs At The King's Head | 9 May
JAMJAR stands for 'Jews And Muslims Joined Against Racism' and who could argue with the benefits of that? Two great performers come together for this event, the lovely and brilliant Sajeela Kershi, who we interviewed not all that long ago, performing her acclaimed show 'Shallow Halal', and Dave Cohen, prolific comedy writer and performer, and one time Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee (back when it was still named after fizzy water), who premieres his new stand up poem 'Music Was My First Love'. Head this way for more info.


TUESDAY 10 MAY 2016 >>

Frank Sumatra | Theatre N16 | 9-18 May
This looks like a surreal and amusing piece from Mike Yeaman: a couple adopt an orphaned Sumatran orangutan, in one of those £X per month deals that I am sure you are all more than aware of. So far, so ordinary... but then the tale takes a bizarre turn: their sponsored simian turns up on their doorstep, and presumably at least a little chaos ensues. See this page here for info and to book your tickets.

Pramkicker | King's Head Theatre | 10-15 May
This is one of those shows that we discovered when it premiered last summer in Edinburgh, because it really impressed our reviewer, and no doubt everyone else who saw it too. Presented by Old Trunk and written by Sadie Hasler, it's described as "an unflinching look at what it means to be a modern woman", and focuses on the doings of two sweary sisters in an anger management session. For more details, see the venue website here.

Jelly Beans | Theatre503 | 10-14 May (pictured)
I am excited by the sound of this, because it's the first full length play from Kuleshov's Dan Pick, whose impressive direction of shows like 'BU21' and 'Cans' has definitely marked him out as one to watch. It covers a day in the life of a young man on the brink of self destruction, exploring what happens when your youthful dreams come to nothing, and promises to be darkly hilarious and brutally honest. Follow this link here to get your tickets.


WEDNESDAY 11 MAY 2016 >>

Alex Edelman – Everything Handed To You | Soho Theatre | 10-25 May
The very highly acclaimed US born stand up heads to Soho Theatre for a nice chunky run of dates, performing the follow up to 'Millennial', the show that won him the Edinburgh Comedy Award newcomer prize in 2014. 'Everything Handed To You' already played a sell out run up at Edfringe last summer, and got lots of great reviews, including one from our own reviewer. Click here for info and tickets.

The Killing Of Charles Bravo | Theatre N16 | 9-19 May
A very interesting sounding site specific promenade piece based on the true story of a historical murder: back in 1876, Charles Bravo, a lawyer, was killed in his Balham home by an unknown assailant, and the case has never been solved. Your chance to be led through the exploration of a dark and sinister event from a pretty dark and sinister time in our history. See the venue website here for details and to book.

Reassembled Slightly Askew | Battersea Arts Centre | 11-28 May (pictured)
Another offering from the A Nation's Theatre Festival, this, and it looks brilliant. It's an immersive audio performance by Shannon Yee, detailing her own experience of critical illness – a rare brain infection – and her subsequent rehabilitation. Audience members listen on headphones whilst lying on hospital beds, so that's different, isn't it? A no doubt incredibly visceral experience. See this page here.


THURSDAY 12 MAY 2016 >>

Between The Sheets | London Wonderground | 12 May
Before I go any further, I would just like to clarify that this is on more than once, but the dates aren't easy to list effectively – various, until September, basically – but you should take this chance to see it anyway, because it's not on again until early June. London Cabaret Award winner Miss Polly Rae presents her acclaimed celebration of contemporary burlesque, a mixture of song, dance, comedy and circus. Head this way for all the info.

Blue/Orange | Young Vic | 12 May-2 Jul
Gosh, it doesn't feel like sixteen years since Joe Penhall's 'Blue/Orange' premiered in London, but my goodness, that's how long it is. The play's themes haven't remotely lost their relevance in that time, though, and this seems like a very promising production of a modern classic, not least because it's directed by the much critically praised Matthew Xia. Here is the link you need if you would like to book tickets.

The Wonderful World Of Lieven Scheire | Soho Theatre | 12-14 May
Scientifically orientated Belgian comedian Lieven Scheire explores Einstein's Theory Of Special Relativity, amongst other things, in what might be regarded as a lecture with funny stuff, rather than your traditional stand up set. In any case, I am very sure you will be 100% entertained, whether you are good at science or not – this show sold out in Edinburgh last summer, and that doesn't surprise us at all. See the venue website here for details and to book.
 
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