THURSDAY 25 JANUARY 2018 THISWEEKLONDON.COM
JOSEPHINE SAMSON: ONE MONDAY LAST WEEK
Onstage this week at The Etcetera Theatre is 'On Monday Last Week', an adaptation of a story by Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. It's about a young woman who emigrates from her home country to the United States, and what happens when she gets there.

I thought this sounded like a really interesting production, dealing with some very interesting and timely themes, so I spoke to producer Josephine Samson to find out more. Read the interview here.

'On Monday Last Week' is on at the Etcetera Theatre until 4 Feb, head this way to book your tickets.


FRIDAY 26 JANUARY 2018 >>

Paines Plough Roundabout | Orange Tree Theatre | 25 Jan-3 Mar
Three plays from the Paines Plough Roundabout, each tried and tested up in Edinburgh last summer, each critically acclaimed, playing in rep. 'Out Of Love' by Elinor Cook, 'Black Mountain' by Brad Birch, and 'How To Be A Kid' by Sarah McDonald Hughes. Take your pick, or see all three. Actually, see all three, guaranteed not a waste of time. See this page here for info and booking links.

Kwame Asante - Open Arms | Soho Theatre | 25-27 Jan (pictured)
As you may have noticed, it's the season for Edinburgh Comedy Award Newcomer nominees to rock up at and rock the Soho Theatre. This time we're tipping the excellent Kwame Asante, who respectfully asks for your help with processing all the changes that have affected him in the last few years - moving to a new city, starting a new career, and gaining new responsibilities. See the venue website here for details, and hurry, tickets are going fast.

Vu | Shoreditch Town Hall | 25-27 Jan
"A man attempts to make the perfect cup of tea. It's a delicate and obsessively ordered process. You may yourself become addicted, or never want to see another cup of tea again. Either way, you'll laugh out loud". Another brilliant sounding show from the London International Mime Festival, which ends in a few days time. Quick, see some mime, while you can. This page here for 'Vu', this page here for other remaining festival events.


SATURDAY 27 JANUARY 2018 >>

The Believers Are But Brothers | Bush Theatre | 24 Jan-10 Feb (pictured)
This one man show met with a lot of critical acclaim in Edinburgh in the summer of 2017 and deals with the very important and pressing issue of what happens when disaffected young men - a generation who "find themselves burning with resentment; without the money, power and sex they think they deserve" - come together on the internet. It's interactive, immediate, and frankly, a bit scary. But I think you need to see it, so book your tickets here.

There Or Here | Park Theatre | 23 Jan-17 Feb
A poignant comedy by Jennifer Maisel about a couple, Robyn and Ajay, who are not able to have a child of their own and so look to Ajay's birth country, India, to 'outsource' their pregnancy. Meanwhile, their relationship falters because they are unable to communicate in these times when face to face interaction has become increasingly rare. All the details are right about here.

Woman Before A Glass | Jermyn Street Theatre | 17 Jan-3 Feb
"Peggy Guggenheim collected art — and artists. Married to Max Ernst, lover of Samuel Beckett, champion of Jackson Pollock and Pablo Picasso, Peggy's love life was as colourful as her art collection. She moved to Venice in the late 1940s and quickly became one of its most glamorous, scandalous residents". I frankly meant to tip this excellent-sounding biographical piece much earlier in its run, but I am an idiot, sadly. On the upside, it will be well into its stride by now. Head this way for info and to book.


SUNDAY 28 JANUARY 2018 >>

For A Black Girl | Vault Festival | 24-28 Jan
Hurrah, The Vault Festival is back - it began a few days ago - and here is my first pick from it. It's a satirical exploration of female sexuality, violence and the effect of everyday racism, partly autobiographical and partly verbatim, delivered by two performers via spoken word and movement. Important stuff to be covering. See this page here for more.

Foreign Goods 3 | Arcola Theatre | 28 Jan
A third showcase from Pokfulam Rd Productions - following two previously sold-out occasions at Theatre503 - of short works: ten pieces exploring British Chinese themes, penned by a diverse set of writers. This is timed to celebrate the publication of a collection of previously showcased works, 'Foreign Goods: A Selection of Writing by British East Asian Artists'. Click here for more.

Temporary | Camden People's Theatre | 28 Jan
I get a bit edgy about tipping works in progress or scratch events, just in case people go to see it and blame me because it wasn't perfect yet, but I have no qualms about recommending the new show from Libby Liburd, not least because she is brilliant (you may have seen her show 'Muvvahood' last year, and perhaps even read our Q&A with her) but also because it tackles an important issue, looking at the social and political reasons as why so many people currently find themselves in temporary accommodation. See the venue website here for details.


MONDAY 29 JANUARY 2018 >>

Jen Kirkman - The All New Material, Girl Tour | Soho Theatre | 29 Jan-3 Feb
Today I declare another Soho Theatre day, given the three utterly lovelies that are starting runs there this blessed day. Let us begin with American stand-up Jen Kirkman, who promises to regale you with new stories and jokes that do not feature in her Netflix specials, and to keep a bit of a distance from things political. Well, apart from talking about that, ahem, esteemed 45th. See the venue website here for info.

Lauren Pattison - Lady Muck | Soho Theatre | 29 Jan-3 Feb
And on to another lovely, yes lovely, even if her show name be 'Lady Muck'. This particular lovely, Lauren Pattison had a sell out run at last year's Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and is another of those myriad Comedy Award Best Newcomer nominees, all descending on the Soho of late. Hmm, that sounded almost like a complaint, and I assure you it's not. And this is a great show, from a great up and coming talent. Click here for more.

Jordan Brookes - Body Of Work | Soho Theatre | 29-30 Jan
And so to my final lovely, and a show which we actually recommended a couple of months back, but which we have absolutely no hesitation in recommending again in case you didn't catch it in November. The excellent Jordan Brookes, as you may recall, was nominated for the Edinburgh Comedy Award main prize in 2017, and our reviewer who saw this show declared it to be a "clever, but superbly dark hour of stand-up". All the details right about here.


TUESDAY 30 JANUARY 2018 >>

Her Not Him | Theatre503 | 30 Jan-3 Feb
This Bruntwood Prize-longlisted play is the first full length work from writer Joanne Fitzgerald, and the production of it is the first outing for a new company, Lughnacy Productions, set up in 2017 to perform works with a female and LGBTQ focus. The play is about Bea, an older woman who comes out late in life, and the twists and turns of her subsequent relationships. See the venue website here for info and to book.

Moments and Empty Beds | The Hope Theatre | 30 Jan-17 Feb
A double bill of plays from up and coming writer Julia Cranney, brought to you by an established and acclaimed team. 'Moments' is about Daniel and Ava, two strangers with little in common who contrive to become unlikely friends. 'Empty Beds' focuses on two sisters who generally avoid each other, but are forced to undertake a long journey together, as they visit their brother to celebrate his birthday. Details here.

A Girl In A School Uniform (Walks Into A Bar) | New Diorama | 30 Jan-17 Feb (pictured)
"It's the future. But only slightly. There are blackouts. No one knows what's causing them, but that doesn't stop people going missing in them. Now Steph and Bell, a schoolgirl and barmaid, have to search for their missing friend, until the outside world starts infecting the theatre that stands around them..." This intriguing sounding new play about crisis, darkness, cities and hope comes from Lulu Raczka and Ali Pidsley, in a production supported by West Yorkshire Playhouse and the New Diorama Emerging Companies Fund. Click here for more.


WEDNESDAY 31 JANUARY 2018 >>

Sexy | Camden People's Theatre | 31 Jan-3 Feb (pictured)
Here we have another show from CPT's Calm Down Dear festival of innovative feminist performance, and it looks great. This one is from the very talented Vanessa Kisuule, who uses comedy, spoken word, dance and various states of undress to explore our conflicted relationship with our own bodies, and our obsession with what's sexy. What does it even mean? Click here for more.

Project 2: Improvised Science Fiction | Vault Festival | 31 Jan
And another festival event for you, and this one I absolutely picked for me, because today is my birthday, and a) my birthday celebrations are nearly always improvised, and b) I love improvised stuff so it's quite apt that I go and see some on my birthday. Expect nods to loads of my favourite stuff like 'Back To The Future' and 'Futurama', amongst other things, in what sounds like a rather promising show. Head this way for info.

Booby's Bay | Finborough Theatre | 30 Jan-24 Feb
"Above a secluded cove in Cornwall, Huck, a former fisherman, is holed up in an empty second home. The holiday season is fast approaching, the sharks are coming, but he refuses to budge. As Booby's Bay fills up for the annual surfing competition, Huck wants to shake things up, even if no one is listening. He's got media connections and intends to make a political stand". This is described as a "passionate, comic fable about the housing crisis in Cornwall and beyond", and it sounds rather good. See this page here for details.


THURSDAY 1 FEBRUARY 2018 >>

A Brave Face | Jacksons Lane | 1-3 Feb (pictured)
"Under bright blue skies, a small girl stands and watches the soldier. She smiles, just like his sister... Ryan is there to see the world, learn a trade, get a life. Training is complete, combat is a buzz; he's part of a team, and knows his job. But on one particular tour of duty Ryan sees things he can't talk about, to anyone. And when he returns home, the trouble really begins". Leading mask theatre company Vamos present this excellent-sounding exploration of post traumatic stress in the military. Details here.

Gun | Vault Festival | 31 Jan-4 Feb
Our team up in Edinburgh have in the past very much loved shows by sketch troupe Clever Peter. Why is this relevant, you ask? Well, this one-man show is the work of one member of said sketch troupe, and that alone is enough to make me think this is worth seeing. It's a multi-character western, and sounds promising: "A man is left for dead in the desert. But if you kill someone, you better make sure they're dead - first rule of a murder, isn't it?" Click here for more.

The Ungrateful Biped | White Bear Theatre | 30 Jan-17 Feb
Another one man performance, and this one's probably a bit more serious. Performed and written by Philip Goodhew, it's an adaptation of Fyodor Dostoyevsky's 1864 novella 'Notes From Underground', and therefore I'd expect some fairly dark - but entirely compelling - content. Plus, this is the directorial debut of that nice Rupert Graves off the telly, who haunted my teens by being in the only three films on the bookshelf in the school common room. Anyway, head this way for info and to book.
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