MONDAY 13 JANUARY 2020 THISWEEKLONDON.COM
AYLIN BOZOK: THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST - PLAYED BY IMMIGRANTS
Currently completing a run at London's Tower Theatre is a staging of Oscar Wilde's 'The Importance Of Being Earnest' which takes a very fresh and intriguing approach to the classic text, not least because the cast is made up entirely of immigrants to the UK.

To find out more about the production and this interesting approach, I spoke to the play's director Aylin Bozok.

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

'The Importance Of Being Earnest' is on at the Tower Theatre until 18 Jan, see the venue website here for information and to book tickets.


THREE SHAKESPEARY SHOWS>>

Hamlet: Rotten States | The Hope Theatre | 14 Jan-1 Feb (pictured)
I've called this a 'Shakespeary' section rather than a 'Shakespeare' section to help convey the fact that it's not all what you'd call "traditional" Shakepeare productions but I wasn't sure whether that would actually do that, hence me explaining here. Anyway, here's the first one, a very stripped down piece that reworks 'Hamlet', whittling it down to a 75 minute run time and a cast of just three. It sounds like it's told from the perspective of the band of players hired by the Dane to perform his tale of murder and corruption, is irreverent and darkly comical, and comes from an acclaimed group who've done a similar and effective hatcheting of 'Macbeth'. Info here.

Julius Caesar | Lion & Unicorn Theatre | 14-18 Jan
This sounds a bit more of a traditional staging, again from well regarded team. "Fearful that Caesar will become a tyrant, his friends plot to assassinate him in order to save Rome. But the conspirators' high principles clash with personal malice and ambition, and as they vie to manipulate the mob, the nation is plunged into bloody civil war. A taut, profound drama exploring power and betrayal, Julius Caesar exposes the chasm between public appearance, political rhetoric and bitter reality". See the venue website here for more.

Twelfth Night | Jack Studio | 14 Jan-1 Feb
This one promises to be a "vibrant and modern take" on one of The Bard's most popular plays, which I'm sure you all know is a comedy of mistaken identities and love triangles. "When Viola washes up on the shores of Illyria, she witnesses the festivities first hand and is drawn into the schemes of the lovestruck Duke Orsino, and subjected to the antics of the anarchic Toby Belch. At first it's all fun and games, but then things take a more serious turn..." See this page here for all the details.


THREE SHOWS STARTING THIS WEEK>>

Faces In The Crowd/Los Ingrávidos | Gate Theatre | 16 Jan-8 Feb
And now for a few imminently commencing runs of theatrical pieces on various themes, and this first one is based on Valeria Luiselli's award-winning, acclaimed novel of the same name, and sees the playing out of three different but connected narratives. "In Mexico City, a mother begins writing her novel. She is constantly interrupted. In New York, a woman is haunted by the ghost of a Mexican poet. She can't keep out the past. 100 years earlier, a poet is troubled by visions of a woman on the subway. She lives decades in the future. As a mother tries to remember the faces from her past, the lines between her and them blur, time folds in on itself and ghosts appear everywhere". Details right about here.

You Stupid Darkness! | Southwark Playhouse | 16 Jan-22 Feb (pictured)
"Everything's been falling apart for a while now. In a cramped, crumbling office four volunteers spend a few hours every Tuesday night on the phone to strangers telling them everything is going to be OK. As the outside world disintegrates around them, Frances, Joey, Angie and Jon teeter on the edge of their own personal catastrophes. Their hopes and fears become entangled as they try, desperately, to connect with the callers and with each other". Really interesting and already-acclaimed production, brought to you by Paines Plough and Theatre Royal Plymouth. Info here.

Fix | Pleasance Theatre | 14 Jan-1 Feb
"Responding to a call-out, a repairman finds himself inexplicably drawn to an old woman and her house in the woods. At first it seems like a simple fix, but as a storm starts to close in, he is forced to confront the ghosts from his past". This debut by Bruntwood Prize longlisted writer Julie Tsang is a psychological thriller described as "dark and unsettling", which tells a tale of guilt and childhood memories. You'll find a warning on the venue website that there are scenes that may be upsetting, so do bear that in mind, but it looks really intriguing. "I have lived with these trees and watched them grow. You have been away from here for too long, you don't see it. Or you have simply forgotten..." Head this way to find out more.


THREE MORE SHOWS STARTING THIS WEEK>>

Cops | Southwark Playhouse | 15 Jan-1 Feb
And now for a few more imminently commencing runs of theatrical pieces on various themes, starting with this piece inspired by real-life events from the world of the police v mob in 1950s Chicago. "Chicago. 1957. Four cops, different ages, classes and races, all living a lie and mired in mutual suspicion, have to grab a gangster-turned-state-witness before the Mob can get him. Outside their office the world is changing. Race riots. Mass consumerism. Civil Rights. Rock 'n' Roll. Sex is everywhere..." Expect something poignant and comical that takes a look at racism and masculinity. See more here.

Beckett Triple Bill | Jermyn Street Theatre | 15 Jan-8 Feb
Trevor Nun directs a trio of Beckett plays, at least one of which I am sure you'll have heard of, the others, I am not so sure, but I am pretty sure it will all be good. 'Krapp's Last Tape' is the one that I am sure many of our readership will have heard of (there's a production at edfringe most years) and possibly seen. Possibly less well known to contemporary audiences is 'Eh Joe', though it was written for TV and has been produced for that medium a number of times. 'The Old Tune' is rarely performed, according to the blurb, and is an adaptation by Beckett from a radio play by Robert Pinget that sees two old men reminiscing about the past... See this page here for all the info.

The Canary And The Crow | Arcola Theatre | 16 Jan-8 Feb (pictured)
Here's one for fans of gig-theatre (and of course for those of you who haven't yet experienced any gig-theatre and really ought to take in some soon): this acclaimed semi autobiographical piece from writer/performer Daniel Ward, which is on in London for four weeks only. The show blends grime, hip-hop and classical music to tell the story of a "young person's search for belonging in a divided society". We first heard about the show at the most recent Edinburgh Festival, where it won loads of praise and a Total Theatre Award nomination, as well as some glowing words of praise from our own reviewer, who concluded: "Pulsating with fervour and force, this is storytelling at its most dynamic". Get your tickets booked here.


THREE FAMILY SHOWS>>

The Little Prince | Stratford Circus Arts Centre | 17 -1 Feb
"Broken down in the Sahara Desert, desperate to repair her fighter jet, a pilot meets an extraordinary Little Prince. As he recounts his adventures, the pilot re-discovers the power of imagination, the importance of doing what we can to protect our natural world, and the true meaning of friendship". I feel as though we've tipped loads of versions of 'The Little Prince' lately, in fact, I think we might have tipped this particular production before. Mentioning it again is completely justified though, because it's a brilliant retelling by Inua Ellams and features puppetry, music of North African heritage and an Afrofuturist aesthetic. More here.

The Water Babies | The Puppet Barge | 15 Jan-2 Feb
"After a harsh beginning of child labour in an unforgiving adult world, a little chimney sweep's suffering ends when he is transformed into a water baby. As he plunges into an underwater realm of fish, caterpillars and caddisflies we are drawn into his adventures in the colourful depths, swept along with his dreams and new freedom". Part of the previously mentioned London International Mime Festival, this show is inspired by the Charles Causley novel and focuses on themes of loss, friendship and transformation. Expect "specially commissioned music, beautiful, long-string marionettes and ghostly shadows". See this page here for details.

All Wrapped Up | Stratford Circus Arts Centre | 17-18 Jan (pictured)
This one is only for your younger children aged five and under, and it's by a highly regarded company. "Unwrap a world of imagination with Oily Cart's new mischievous, wintery show where magical characters, hilarious creatures and hidden lands are brought to life through light, shadow and music. Join us as we uncover the sensory stories hidden in scrunched up paper, and create your own after the show". For more information and to book tickets, head right this way.


THREE SHORT RUNS>>

The Story/Hela | Theatre503 | 15-18 Jan
Two plays in one show: the first is 'The Story', which starts here: "A volunteer arrives back from working in a refugee camp to discover she is now an "enemy of the people". Arrested and imprisoned for her actions, the only way to maintain her sanity in a world turned upside down is to discover the identity of the mysterious interrogator from her past". In the second, 'Hela', a young mother has lost her son but no one will listen, but she is determined she must find him by any means necessary. To find out more about both plays, which are part of a trio of dystopian dramas under the banner 'The Violence Series', and to book tickets, see the venue website here.

Talk Propa | Camden People's Theatre | 17-18 Jan
"Sick of the endless presentations of northern women as the clown, 'chav' or someone that lives such a dire life in the grim darkness that is The North (TM), that they must escape and move to the wonderful South...'Talk Propa' is a truly northern fuck you to the southern elite. Two women from across the north of England explore their relationship with their accents and the prejudice they've faced as a result. Featuring music from the one and only Cheryl, queen of the North, these lasses take on the stereotypes they are constantly reduced to (with a cuppa tea in hand of course). Southerners, buckle up". I'm a northerner so this appeals. That said, I prescribe it to all you southern types. Info here.

American Nightmare | Theatre503 | 15-18 Jan (pictured)
We are heading back over to Theatre503 for this play, which is the third piece in the above mentioned dystopian trio. Here is an idea of what this one is all about. "High above New York City, the super-rich wine and dine in sky-line restaurants dreaming of bigger and better cities. In a military bunker deep in the heart of an American wasteland, the poor compete for food and preferment in a programme with more than sinister ends. What happens when the rift between haves and the have-nots becomes unassailable?" Head this way for more.
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