MONDAY 18 JANUARY 2021 THISWEEKCULTURE.COM
CHARLES PAMMENT: [email protected]
You may recall that last week we recommended that all readers should head over to the [email protected] website this month to take in as much as possible from the Edfringe venue group's second season of online culture, which follows a first season held in place of a live Edinburgh Fringe programme in August 2020.

There's a broad range of shows to see, encompassing a variety of genres and reflecting the the kind of live work you'd expect to see at theSpace's Fringe venues when a pandemic hasn't got in the way.

To find out more about the new season, about theSpaceUK's history and hopes for the future, I spoke to director Charles Pamment.

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

You can access [email protected] Season 2 until 31 Jan. Head this way for links to all the shows.
With full-on COVID restrictions still in place, this week we are tipping the best in digital culture from across the UK - including online shows from performers and companies we first discovered at the Edinburgh Festival.


THREE ONLINE THINGS COMING UP>>

The Ballad Seller | Luke wright | 19 Jan (pictured)
"Back in Georgian times we got our news from poetry. Before papers, broadcasts or the internet, ballad sellers would hawk their doggerel on street corners for a penny. Scandalous affairs, grisly crimes, and colourful characters were brought to life in rhyming verse long before the first tabloid was printed. Now Luke Wright has rewritten the very best of these stories for the modern ear; take a trip through the Drury Lane gin shops with the Boxing Baroness; filch oysters by the dozen with Dando, the celebrated gormandiser; and escape the Bull Ring with Jemmy the Rockman". Long term TW favourite Luke Wright is doing a special one-off performance of his show 'The Ballad Seller', and because he's a long term TW favourite I absolutely recommend you check it out. Find more info, and see it here on 19 Jan from 8.00pm, and Pay What You Can Afford right here.

The Poltergeist | Southwark Playhouse | 25 Jan-26 Feb
You may remember us tipping performances of this a while back, but the show is back for a longer run this time - and you'd be a fool to miss it, given the enormous acclaim it has received. Quick reminder of what it's all about: "Sasha was destined to take the art world by storm. At the age of fifteen pop stars wanted his paintings, and a new exhibition was going to make him a millionaire. But now he lives in a run-down flat with his out-of-work boyfriend, serves in a stationers, and no one's even heard of him... what went wrong? Philip Ridley's darkly comic new play is about art, family, memory, and being haunted by the life we never lived". See it here.

Thinking On Sunday: Epicurus And The Art Of Happiness | Conway Hall | 31 Jan
Back to one of my favourite sources of lockdown stuff, the brilliant Conway Hall, and another fab sounding online talk. This one's probably quite timely, given that lockdown has surely given all of us time to think a bit about what really constitutes happiness. "Today we tend to associate the word 'Epicurean' with the enjoyment of fine food and wine and decadent self-indulgence. But, as philosopher John Sellars shows, these things are a world away from the vision of a pleasant life developed by Epicurus and his followers, who were more concerned with mental pleasures and avoiding pain. Their goal, in short, was a life of tranquillity". Click here.


THREE ONLINE THINGS AVAILABLE NOW>>

Death Of A Hunter | Finborough Theatre | 18-31 Jan
"Unable to write anymore, Ernest Hemingway fights his last and loneliest battle as he tries to find the courage to commit suicide. He confronts his demons, questions old certainties and comes face to face with the ghosts of his past... Clinically, precisely, harrowingly and in real time, radical German playwright Rolf Hochhuth explores the final hour in the life of an American icon, examining the cult of celebrity, the trappings of fame and 'the ultimate futility with which we are all cursed and blessed'". This play by Rolf Hochhuth had its UK and English language premiere back in 2018, and is back online by popular demand until the end of the month. Info here.

Love Letters | The Cockpit | until 30 May
One for those of you who, like me, enjoy collections of theatrical things, because it's a "series of mini love stories through the letters of great artists who couldn't meet their lovers". There are ten different mini audio-visual episodes focusing on such couples as: Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera; Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir; Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton; Oscar Wilde and Alfred 'Bosie' Douglas; and Lucrezia Borgia and Pietro Bembo. All the episodes are available individually, priced at £2 each. Read more about them here.

The Watercooler | Traverse Online Festival | until 31 Jan (pictured)
Heading back now to the Traverse Online Festival for another of the audio-plays that's online as part of the Breakfast Plays Strand: "two co-workers meet in the staff room of a non-descript corporate office. As one colleague struggles with current events across the Atlantic hitting home, the other is tasked with assessing her mental fitness. Uma Nada-Rajah's 'The Watercooler' addresses racism with a searing streak of surrealism". You've got until the end of the month to access this and the other plays in the strand. Find more info about this play here, and links to all the other plays here.


THREE COMEDY NIGHTS>>

Buffering | 20 Jan
We've gone big on the comedy nights in this week's recommendations, partly because there are a fair few happening, but also because it's grim weather and we are locked down, and there are all sorts of reasons to need to laugh. A lot. So, two whole sections of tips dedicated to things that will raise smiles. Starting with this new material night run by Robin Morgan and Esyllt Sears, the latter MCing a line up that includes Sikisa, Morgan Rees, Eleri Morgan, Leila Navabi, Siânny Thomas, Siôn Owens and Alex Kitson. This is held via Zoom. Book your tickets here.

Stand Up With Women | Latitude and ActionAid | 21 Jan (pictured)
This one is being held to raise funds for ActionAid, which, as you may know, supports women and girls living in poverty all over the world. Given that the conditions caused by the global pandemic have, in many ways, made life even more difficult for those suffering from violence and poverty, this is very much something worth getting behind right now. It's got a starry line up, headed by Jo Brand and including Rosie Jones, Shazia Mirza, Kelly Convey and Lepacious Bose. Lots of our faves in there. Read more and book your tickets here.

The Virt Locker | NextUp Comedy | 21 Jan
We've not mentioned NextUp Comedy for a while, largely because I have been assuming that you are all signed up by now and have been automatically taking in all of their shows. If that's the case, you'll maybe already know about this and have access to it. Those who are holding out, though, might be interested in this live comedy night, held via Zoom, I believe, which you can book a one-off ticket for if you still don't want to join the NextUp club. And it's got a fab line up: Charlie George, Luisa Omielan, Helen Bauer, Sikisa, Priya Hall and MC Thanyia Moore. For all the details and to book yourself in, see this page here.


THREE MORE COMEDY NIGHTS>>


The Covid Arms - special for the NHS | 23 Jan
Right, three down, three to go: three more fab comedy nights for your delectation, starting with a return visit to the excellent, charity cash raising Covid Arms, and a show that will see at least one ticket gifted to an NHS worker for every ticket sold. On the line up for this instalment are MC Kiri Pritchard-Mclean, as much seen on your TV, BGT 2018 winner Lee Ridley, aka Lost Voice Guy, Fringe first winner Desiree Burch, and Edinburgh Comedy Award Newcomer nominee Lauren Pattison. More acts to be confirmed though, so it doesn't end there. Head this way to sort out your tickets.

Your Place Comedy | 24 Jan (pictured)
Your Place Comedy's online events are staged in support of a number of small independent venues in the north of England and we recommended them in the previous lockdown because of their great line ups. And that, of course, is why we are recommending another. The all round excellent TW favourite Tim FitzHigham is back as host, and this time he's joined by two rather good acts, both of whom we first ran into up at the old edfringe, Josie Long and Ahir Shah. Read all about Your Place Comedy and what to expect from the show right about here.

Janey Godley's Big Burns Supper | 25 Jan
I don't know if our less Scottish readers are aware that 25 Jan is Burns Night, but if you didn't, well, you probably do now. And what could be better to go with your lockdown haggis, neeps, tatties and whisky than an online smorgasbord of entertainment? I say smorgasbord because this, unlike the other shows in this section, isn't purely comedy - you can expect musicians, comedians, actors, aerialists and historians, and a line up of guests that includes KT Tunstall, Donovan, Tide Lines, Dougie Maclean, Robert Softly and Amy Conachan. Janey Godley hosts, obviously. It's broadcast via Facebook and YouTube, see this page here for more info.
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