MONDAY 21 OCTOBER 2019 THISWEEKLONDON.COM
RON ATHEY: ACEPHALOUS MONSTER
California-based performance artist Ron Athey is something of an iconic cultural figure, best known for his boundary-pushing body mutilations and work inventing new forms of ritual and celebration.

This week in London he performs 'Acephalous Monster', a piece partly inspired by the secret society of Acéphale, a 1930s anti-fascist review and magazine published by philosopher Georges Bataille.

I arranged to speak to Athey ahead of that performance, to find out more about the show and the creative behind it.

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

Ron Athey performs the London premiere of 'Acephalous Monster' at Toynbee Studios on 25 Oct. See this page here for details.


THREE RUNS STARTING THIS WEEK>>

When The Crows Visit | Kiln Theatre | 23 Oct-30 Nov (pictured)

"...and all the sins of his father and his forefathers came out of his body, through the pores of his skin, in the form of crows. When a son returns home after being accused of a violent crime, a mother is forced to confront the ghosts of her past when the crows visit". This piece by Anupama Chandrasekhar is inspired by true events in modern day India, and explores "the themes of Ibsen's Ghosts and the cyclical nature of oppression". For more information and to book, head tight this way.

God's Dice | Soho Theatre | 24 Oct-30 Nov
Having picked this to tip, I'm feeling like there probably was no need to bother, because, well, this play is by that David Baddiel off the telly, and stars that Alan Davies off the telly, so you may already have heard of it. But perhaps you need to be told that tickets are flying away at high speed, so quick, get booking. "What would happen if someone was able to prove, scientifically, the existence of God? When Edie, a student in university lecturer Henry Brook's physics class, seems to do exactly that, his universe - including his marriage to celebrity atheist author Virginia - is rocked". info here.

Dirty Crusty | The Yard Theatre | 24 Oct-30 Nov
"Jeanine is determined to improve her life. With sex. With dance. With new hobbies, like horticulture. But self-improvement is hard. Reclaiming your dreams is hard. And personal hygiene is really, really hard". A premiere for this play by award winning US playwright Claire Barron, the creative force behind the hugely successful 'Dance Nation, and it sounds intriguing. "We must be the women of the future standing here in this bathroom because we look like sex and power, we look like sex and power, and you don't even know it, standing there in that motherfucking pantsuit". Details here.


THREE ALREADY UP AND RUNNING>>

Little Baby Jesus | Orange Tree Theatre | 18 Oct-16 Nov (pictured)
"Joanne is dipped in rudeness, rolled in attitude and is fighting to keep her life afloat. Sensitive and mature he may be, yet Kehinde struggles with an obsession for mixed race girls as he eyes his place on the social ladder. Rugrat, classclown and playground loudmouth, just wants to make it past GCSEs and keep their name on the tip of your tongue". The colliding, intertwining stories of three young people and the moments they "grew up", created by the talented and much acclaimed Arinzé Kene. See the venue website here for more information and to book tickets.

Beryl | Arcola Theatre | 16 Oct-16 Nov
Here's another play that probably doesn't need much in the way of a sales pitch, as it involves the return of Maxine Peake's acclaimed 2014 play 'Beryl', which focuses on champion cyclist Beryl Burton. "Aged eleven, a serious illness left her with a weakened heart. Doctors warned against strenuous exercise for the rest of her life. Aged 30, branded 'the Yorkshire housewife' and with no financial sponsorship, she became the first sportswoman in history to break a men's competitive record". More here.

Out Of Sorts | Theatre503 | 9 Oct-2 Nov
"Zara has spent her adult life being two different people. The good Muslim daughter, all set to marry the man her family approve of and a free-spirited British millennial, who parties as hard as she works. Over one dramatic weekend, the lies she's been telling to keep these two worlds apart begin to unravel and she is forced to confront her real identity". Winner of the Theatre503  International Playwriting Award 2018, written by Danusia Samal and directed by Tanuja Amarasuriya. Head to the venue website here for details.


THREE SHORT RUNS>>

Shall We Take This Outside | Stratford Circus Arts Centre | 25-26 Oct (pictured)
National slam champion Adam Kammerling's explores "his own violence, where it found him, why he embraced it, and how it affects him today. Moving through Adam's memories, we discover the myriad ways that violence bleeds into everyday real-life". The performance combines dance and spoken word, and looks at the effect of hero behaviour on real-world attitudes to violence and male mental health. See the venue website here for info.

Dear Black Women | Pleasance Theatre | 28 Oct

This is part of a two day festival - the other half of it is called 'Dear Black Men' - and also part of the Pleasance's Scratch Monday season. So, as you will have deduced, the focus is on new work by black female writers, in this case: Nadine Reynolds, whose 'Likkle Red Riding Hood' explores Windrush and race relations through the narrative of the classic fairy tale; E.Okobi, writer of 'Bitchantope' - "Maybe Ifeoma has an attitude problem, maybe Lilibet is racist, possibly both"; Jamila Pereira, whose 'Fidju Femia' is "is a piece of you and me, a piece of us, within all us women who linger in the shadows of despair"; and Charlotte Chimuanya, who evokes Londoner Naomi's summers in Ireland through poetry and dance in 'Second Home'. Details here.

Harley & Me | Lion & Unicorn Theatre | 22-26 Oct

"A trained psychiatrist and a criminal master-mind trapped in the same room is bad enough, but Harley is a trained psychiatrist and a criminal mastermind trapped in the same body. A doctor attempts to untangle Harley's mess of emotions, fears and deeply aggressive impulses, leading her to questions of her own beliefs in the process". Intriguing, right? See this page here for info and to book.


THREE FROM HANDLE WITH CARE AT CPT>>


Trigger Warning | Camden People's Theatre | 22 Oct-9 Nov
Starting over at Camden People's Theatre this week is a season (or festival) of events under the Handle With Care banner, and it's all stuff focusing on the topic of the alleged "snowflake" generation, on trigger warnings and safe spaces, asking the question: "Where does healthy self-assertion end - and entitlement begin?" When I looked at the line up I wanted to see loads of it so I just went ahead and dedicated a whole tips section. I'm starting with this one, because it's the flagship show, a black absurdist comedy exploring the politics behind safe spaces and the culture of offence by Marcelo Dos Santos and Natasha Nixon. Info here.

Nothing Special | Camden People's Theatre | 22-26 Oct (pictured)
This one returns after sell out performances at Sprint Festival earlier in the year, and it's "an interactive self-help seminar where audiences are given the tools to unlock their true potential as "gifted individuals". Othella teaches the fundamentals to becoming your Special self: how to elevate your elevator pitch, how to grow your brain with banana, how to catapult your online profile through insta-masturbation and how to turn your crap into innovation". See this page here for all the gen.

Big Bang #1 | Camden People's Theatre | 28 Oct
You're probably already aware of CPT's frequent Big Bang scratch/work in progress nights, and this one, of course, is on as part of the Handle With Care strand and so is themed accordingly. The work featured on this occasion is by Anthi Psachou, Liv Ello, Korupt Kabuki, Natasha Simone and Caravan Guys, who between them cover a range of themes and styles. Expect to see theatre, spoken word, music, performance-protest and storytelling exploring masculinity, class, white privilege, and identity. Details right about here.


THREE HALF TERM TREATS>>

Hocus Pocus | Stratford Circus Arts Centre | 26 Oct (pictured)
So, I nearly got away with it, but then the pesky kids reminded me that it's half term this week and that they will be looking for ways for you all to entertain them. So here we go, with three theatrical ways to while away some holiday hours. We start with this: "Out of the darkness strange shapes appear as if from nowhere, illuminated by horizontal strips of white light. From here the fantasy into space begins, contained in a stark frame, as two adventurers overcome fear to boldly navigate creatures of the deep, brotherly rites of initiation and flying contraptions". More here.

The Day I Fell Into A Book | Battersea Arts Centre | 22-24 Oct
"Welcome to The Institute. We conduct experiments into the power of imaginations. We want to know what happens to your mind when you read. We want to get inside your heads. It is all perfectly safe. Trust us". Now, reading that, I can imagine you are wondering if this is in fact a show for children, because yes, it does sound a bit sinister when you read that, but actually this sounds brilliant: "a scientist brings lost stories to life using magical projections, lighting and immersive sound to capture imaginations", and it's aimed at the eight to twelve year olds. Info here.

Pirate School | ArtsDepot | 22-26 Oct
Final choice, and it looks like tickets for this are going quickly, so get your skates on. "Man the poop deck, give Polly a cracker and shiver me timbers! A pirate training academy aboard 'The Soggy Otter' turns your little land lovers into seafaring pirates. Big people, this isn't just an opportunity for some 'arrr and arrr' - you'll be joining in too as we'll need your sea-legs to help your little Jack and Jill Silver's transform". Go on, quickly, head this way to book.
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