MONDAY 3 FEBRUARY 2020 THISWEEKLONDON.COM
MICHAEL WALLING: THE GREAT EXPERIMENT
You're no doubt aware of Border Crossings, a theatre company that's been producing excellent and important work for the last twenty five years. So you'll no doubt be pleased to hear that their latest show, 'The Great Experiment', will be touring London venues this month.

The play is focused on the post-slavery practice of indentured labour and its effects. To find out more I spoke to the director of the piece, company founder Michael Walling.

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

'The Great Experiment' tours London venues throughout most of February, calling at Enfield's Dugdale Centre from 6-7 Feb, Tara Theatre from 11-15 Feb, the Playground Theatre from 18-19 Feb, Cutty Sark from 21-22 Feb, and the Museum Of London Docklands on 23 Feb. More info on all dates here.


THREE SHOWS OPENING THIS WEEK>>

I, Cinna (The Poet) | Unicorn Theatre | 5-29 Feb (pictured)
This is written and performed by the brilliant Tim Crouch and is suitable for your secondary age children: "The poet Cinna hardly says a word in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar before he's mistaken for someone else and torn to pieces by an angry mob. He's Shakespeare's unluckiest character. Now Cinna searches for the subject of his next poem and invites us, the audience, to write with him, live". A show about "words and actions, art, protest and power" that also offers a great introduction to the original text. Get booking here ASAP, as it looks like tickets are going quickly.

No Sweat | Pleasance Theatre | 4-29 Feb
"It's unseen. No one's telling the stories. You don't see us on the streets because saunas and Grindr mean that gay men don't have to be homeless in the traditional sense. It's all hidden". Vicky Moran's new play focuses on LGBTQ+ homelessness, telling stories from within the world of gay saunas - a common place for young homeless people to seek accommodation - using real stories, verbatim interview clips and an original score. "We invite you inside our very own sauna. Here you'll meet Tristan, Alf and Charlie who will show you the ropes when it comes to survival. But how long can they battle against the system?" More here.

Time And Tide | Park Theatre | 5-29 Feb
"May runs a crumbling caff on the end of Cromer Pier. Her delivery man, Ken, is running out of customers, thanks to Costa. Nemo is desperate to tread the boards in London. His unrequited love, Daz, is burying his head in the sand over his best mate leaving". Another show with LGBT themes, this time a comic drama by James McDermott, which has been long-listed for the The Verity Bargate Award as well as the Bruntwood and Papatango Playwriting Prizes, and which focuses on Norfolk community struggling to adapt to change. Details right about here.


THREE MORE SHOWS OPENING THIS WEEK>>

Collapsible | Bush Theatre | 5 Feb-14 Mar
A play by Margaret Perry that's won much acclaim, and a number of awards, during runs at last year's Vault Festival, and at the Edinburgh and Dublin fringes. "Essie's lost her job. Her girlfriend's left. But she's alright. Except lately she feels more like a chair than a person. One of those folding chairs. Solid one minute. And then". For more information to to book tickets, see this page here.

On McQuillan's Hill | Finborough Theatre | 4-29 Feb
An English premiere for this play by Joseph Crilly, which was first staged at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast in 2000. "Rural Northern Ireland, 1999. Proud IRA man Fra Maline returns home - released early from prison under the Good Friday Agreement - and to celebrate his daughter, Theresa, throws a party at the local community hall on McQuillan's Hill. Unknown to the revellers the hall has been bought by Fra's sister, Loretta, who turns up ready to demolish it after a twenty-year absence across the water. With peace on a knife-edge, bitter memories, family secrets and lies long buried in the bog threaten to resurface as an accidental family reunion descends into pitch black farce..." More here.

Tryst | Chiswick Playhouse | 5-29 Feb (pictured)
"Based on a true story, set in Victorian England, this tense, passion-fuelled thriller tells of serial fraudster, George Love, who encounters a naïve and vulnerable shop-girl, Adelaide Pinchin. Seduced by his charm and elaborate stories of a life she's never known, Adelaide agrees to run away with him in a secret tryst. What follows shocks them both as their plans begin to unravel in frightening and unpredictable ways". A show that had a sell out run at the venue in 2017, and is back for more. Info here.


THREE SHORTER RUNS>>

Qtopia | Arcola Theatre | 10-15 Feb
All the shows in this section are running for relatively short periods, but they all look very good so don't miss them. This one's part of Arcola's lovely Creative Disruption season, and this is by Arcola Participation's Queer Collective and promises to feature "some absolute banging tunes, amazing lip-sync and poppin choreography, as well as vital and timely reminders of our history, present and future". But what's the premise? "With fascism on the rise, a group of Queers seek solace and safety and sanctuary and fun in Qtopia, their local gay bar. But how long can they stay in hiding? Should they fight back?" Info on this, here. Listings for Creative disruption, here.

Mother Must Die?! | Old Red Lion Theatre | 6-8 Feb
"It's Halloween, and mother's birthday, and sisters Jocasta and Jupiter are making their annual visit. The soufflé is on the rise, the rosé is on ice, and they have murder on their minds. But will the sisters get to give their darling mother the ultimate present, or does she have other plans...? Mother's family home - Pen Hera Heights - sits high above the crashing waves below. A house of a hundred rooms , generally unused and forgotten. What secrets lurk behind those doors? What isn't Mother telling her darling daughters? And will this evening be the night that all is revealed...?" Originally devised for the 2019 London Horror Festival, now appearing as part of Old Red Lion Theatre's 'Where Are We Now' season. Details here.

I Woke Up Feeling Electric | The Hope Theatre | 4-22 Feb (pictured)
This sounds interesting, and it looks like it will be quite funny as well. "A work-life balance is hard to find when you're an AI assistant. Luckily for Bertie, it's easy to enjoy your job when you were literally made for it. Sending emails, making playlists, checking the weather forecast - he loves it all. But one night his world is upended by Vita, a new, smarter AI, who invades his world, and upsets his well-constructed routine. Trying to come to terms with this interloper, Bertie is forced to reassess everything he thought he knew - to examine the limits of the life he's always loved". See the venue website here for more.


THREE SHORT STOPS>>>

Outrageous Behaviour: The Landscape | Battersea Arts Centre | 7 Feb (pictured)
Right, short runs, two of which are very short, as they only last a day. First up is this showcase, programmed by Impact Dance, of work by companies and choreographers influenced by the African Diaspora. The line up includes salsa duo Sasha and Santee, dance group Mbulelo Ndabeni, hip-hop dance collective Far From The Norm and BOP Theatre Jazz company. See the venue website here for more.

Roisin And Chiara: Get Numpty | Soho Theatre | 5-8 Feb
You've got four days to see this one, but it looks like tickets are selling well, so don't dally. This is a show that charmed our reviewer when he saw it up at the Edinburgh Fringe last summer, so you can be sure it's of decent quality. "Confused about what true love really is and where to find it? Look no further, Róisín and Chiara have untangled the mystery and guarantee a lifetime of romantic bliss or your money back". Details right about here.

Six Plays One Day | Tristan Bates Theatre | 8 Feb
This is only on for one day, in keeping with the short run theme of this section, but it's quite different from the other two, as, as you can probably tell from the title, involves six different plays, playing at 3pm, 5pm, 6pm, 7pm, 8pm, and 9pm. I thought this would appeal to those of you who are fond of a bit of a marathon (I could certainly be happy doing a Tristan Bates Theatre sit for the afternoon/evening) but you're allowed to just see one of the plays of course. Head this way for an overview, breakdown of the pricing deals, and links to more info on each of the plays.


THREE FESTIVAL SHOWS>>

Boh Boh's New Friends | Little Angel Theatre | 8-9 Feb
And now it's time for some Festival fun, and we start with something for the kids, courtesy of CAN Festival: it's an interactive adventure that allows families to explore the galaxy together in the company of a friendly alien, presented by Little Bean, a theatre company focusing on Cantonese speaking children and families in the UK . "We sing and dance through space", explains the blurb, "exploring Chinese vocabulary, working on motor skills and most of all having fun!" Suitable for children aged 3-6. See the venue website here for more.

Invisible Harmony | Southbank Centre | 4 Feb
And another CAN event for you, this time something for the grown-ups, a poetry, spoken word and dance piece by choreographer Julia Cheng and playwright Daniel York Loh, which focuses on the politics of oppression and protest in East Asia. "This collage of multi-disciplinary expression is a howl of pain from one of the most censored, silenced and sanitised ethnic groups on the planet. As the diaspora ruptures and the world wakes to the raging fire in Asia, this piece asks how much freedom matters and what East Asians will risk and sacrifice for it". Details here.

What The Dolls Saw | Vault Festival | 5-9 Feb (pictured)
Finally, just the one show this week from Vault, though there's obviously loads of other great stuff on, so do check out the listings for all of it, not just this one thing. Though this one thing does look really good, so maybe it should be the one thing you see if you can only see one thing. Up to you, of course. I bet you'll be intrigued when you have read this: "Three sisters travel home for the funeral of their father, who happens to be the world's greatest Dollmaker. With their mother on the edge of sanity, and an unsolved case haunting the family, the sisters must unearth dark secrets to find out: what did the dolls see?" Click here.
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