MONDAY 28 OCTOBER 2019 THISWEEKLONDON.COM
SUZANN MCLEAN: EXTREMISM
Opening this week at the brilliant Theatre Peckham is a revival of Anders Lustgarten's 'Extremism', first written for the National Theatre Connections Festival in 2017. It's a play that covers many themes, but in particular the notion of 'radicalisation' and attempts by governments to deal with it.

To find out more about the play, and her decision to stage the piece, I spoke to the show's director, Theatre Peckham AD Suzann McLean.

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

'Extremism' is on at Theatre Peckham from 5-23 Nov. See this page here to book your tickets.


THREE SHOWS STARTING THIS WEEK>>

I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change | Chiswick Playhouse | 30 Oct-30 Nov
This kicks off the inaugural season of the newly launched Chiswick Playhouse (it used to be called the Tabard Theatre) and is, as I am sure you know, a bit of a modern classic, an off-Broadway hit that is produced a lot at Fringe festivals. I don't think I've seen a staging on in London for a while though, and for those of you that haven't come across it before, it is, as you might expect, having read its title, a musical about love: "the joys and tribulations of first dates, first loves, marriages, babies, in-laws, and growing old together". See this page here for more.

Chemistry | Finborough Theatre | 29 Oct-23 Nov
"Steph struggles with chronic depression. Jamie just overachieved himself off the deep end. When they meet in their psychiatrist's office, sparks fly and they stumble unexpectedly into a beautiful relationship. But how do you trust someone else when you are already in a battle with your own brain?" This acclaimed work by Jacob Marx Rice gets a European premiere. Head to the venue website here for all the info and to book your tickets.

Shook | Southwark Playhouse | 30 Oct-23 Nov (pictured)
"He'll look different. My little boy. When I get out. Like... to the picture I've got in my head. Be like meeting him all over again. Be a whole new start". This play by Sam Bailey is the winner of the 2019 Papatango New Writing Prize, chosen from 1406 entries, so I think the chances are that this will be pretty good. "Instead of GCSEs, Cain, Riyad and Jonjo got sentences. Locked up in a young offenders' institution, they trade sweets, chat shit, kill time - and await fatherhood. Grace's job is to turn these teenagers into parents, ready to take charge of their futures. But can they grow up quickly enough to escape the system?" Details here.


THREE SHORTER RUNS STARTING THIS WEEK>>

Katheryn Howard | The Hope Theatre | 29 Oct-16 Nov
"Locked within her rooms, whilst men investigate their conduct, the young queen and her ladies await the interrogations they know will come". This was always going to catch my eye because I am a fan of all things historical, though to be fair, I am always made a bit sad by the story of this poor young woman (and her fellow monarch-wives). Nothing daunted though, not least because this play approaches its subject matter in such a way as to make itself relevant to our contemporary times, all while depicting the oppressive world of the Tudor Court, and being influenced in style by classical Greek drama. Details right about here.

Trojan Horse | Battersea Arts Centre | 4-16 Nov (pictured)
"The Trojan Horse Inquiry was a local story that hit the national press, accusing 'hardline' Muslim teachers and governors of plotting extremism in Birmingham schools. Drawing on over 200 hours of interviews with teachers, students, parents and governors, critically-acclaimed theatre company LUNG investigates the truth behind the headlines". This important and award winning production also features a post show discussion after each performance, focusing on a range of themes. For more, head right this way.

A Kind Of Loving | Jack Studio | 29 Oct-16 Nov
A new adaptation by John Godber of Stan Barstow's seminal 1960 novel. "It's 1962. Victor Brown is 20 years old and he's infatuated with Ingrid Rothwell, a typist from the factory where he works. Both are from Cressley, a working-class town in West Riding, Yorkshire. Victor soon finds his feelings for Ingrid have nothing to do with love. Ignorance leads to Ingrid getting pregnant, and they are forced into a marriage that neither is ready for and Vic doesn't want.  When Vic moves in with his in-laws everything changes, and the bargaining begins". See the venue website here for all the info.


THREE MORE SHORT RUNS>>

This Is How We Die | Ovalhouse | 29 Oct-2 Nov

"A motor-mouthed collage of spoken word and storytelling. Tales of paranoia, young love and ultra-violence.  From the desk of Christopher Brett Bailey comes a spiralling odyssey of pitch-black humour and nightmarish prose.With echoes of Lenny Bruce, William Burroughs, beat poetry and B-movies,'This Is How We Die' is a prime slice of surrealist trash, an Americana death trip and a dizzying exorcism for a world convinced it is dying..." Do I really need to say anything to persuade you? Head right this way to the venue website for info.

Germ Free Adolescent | The Bunker Theatre | 29 Oct-9 Nov
An "OCD love story" focusing on mental health and young people by Natalie Mitchell, based on her own and others' experiences. "Ashley is 16. She's lived in Medway for fifteen years and six months. She has 2,354 leaflets on sexual health. She knows exactly how many she has, because she's counted them 1,582 times... At 7.48pm tonight, she will have been going out with Ollie for exactly three months, which he thinks means it's time to take their relationship to the next level". More here.

Replay | Lion & Unicorn Theatre | 29 Oct-2 Nov
Every time I choose to tip a show that's a collection of short plays I go on about how we here at TW Towers really like collections of short plays. But you know, it's true, so it's unlikely I'll stop saying it. And yes, 'Replay' is indeed a show that is made up of four short pieces. These ones are science fiction focused and explore "the human and non-human condition", and appear to be asking these questions: "What are you most afraid of? Your past? Your present? Or your future?". I think I'd say all of the above. Details here.


THREE FESTIVAL SHOWS>>

I, Incel | Camden People's Theatre | 1-2 Nov
"Self-identifying 'Incels' (involuntary celibates), an online subculture mostly consisting of white, male heterosexuals, have been responsible for at least four mass murders in North America. The neck bearded online gamer who lives in his mother's basement stereotype is certainly at play here, but incels have become something much more dangerous". Part of CPTs three week long Handle With Care festival, this show explores the origins of and lore surrounding the relatively recent phenomenon of the incel. More here.

Homeward Festival: Homeward Found Showcase | Stratford Circus Arts Centre | 1 Nov
This is described as "A lively and thrilling evening of dance performances by a diverse range of artists hailing from near and far", and is part of the Homeward Festival, which includes a number of dance related events: an exhibition, workshops, a talk and a panel discussion. When you head to this link here to find out more about the performance, if you scroll down to the bottom of the page, you'll see links to all the other events, so make sure and take a look.

Honeybee | The Pleasance | 2-3 Nov (pictured - image by Rah Petherbridge)
Okay, so, this one isn't actually part of a festival. However, it a) references a "thumping festival-driven soundtrack" in the blurb, and b) had a highly acclaimed run at the most recent Edinburgh Festival Fringe and is part of The Pleasance's Best Of strand. We liked it so much when we saw it at edfringe that we gave it one of our ThreeWeeks Editors' Awards and the reviewer we sent to see it gave it a 5/5 score and said this: "Just as you put a spoon of sugar-water out for a dying bee, Dillon-Reams offers us something we need: nourishment for the psyche, something sweet, but not cloying. We leave united, uplifted, inspired". Seriously, do you want to miss that? Quick, click here.
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