MONDAY 22 FEBRUARY 2021 THISWEEKCULTURE.COM
DOUGLAS DEANS: 24. 23. 22.
Having interviewed the creative team behind producing company Chronic Insanity last year - about their '12 Shows In 12 Months' project - I was really pleased to hear that they are still moving at high speed, with another show-per-month venture.

The next production to happen - online, of course - is '24.23.22', a gig theatre piece boasting some rather interesting touches: for example, it's told via a variety of social media platforms. Plus each character is played by two performers, and audiences will choose who plays out the story for them, a bit like selecting a character in a video game.

I spoke to writer Douglas Deans to find out more.

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

'24, 23, 22' opens on 26 Feb and will be available until the end of the year. You can find more info and book tickets here. The show is part of Chronic Insanity's '12 Shows In 12 Months' project for 2021. To read more about the company's other upcoming shows, see this page here.
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 THEATRICAL THINGS>>

Grimm Tales For Fragile Times And Broken People | Creation Theatre | 24 Feb-13 Mar (pictured)
Yay, the very excellent Creation Theatre, who have been involved with loads of great lockdown fare, are back with another show for you to enjoy at home. As the title suggests, these tales are not aimed at children (age guidance says twelve and above), and it does all sound rather dark and twisted: "This assemblage of macabre tales will creep through trapdoors, lurk in the shadows and transform your living room into a nightmarish fairytale world. Join us online as we trawl through woodlands to escape the grasps of some of the Grimm Brothers most notorious nasties". Find info and book right here.

The Sorcerer's Apprentice | Southwark Playhouse | 26 Feb-14 Mar
"Against the backdrop of the Northern Lights, a small town has been pushed to the brink of collapse in a bid for progress and prosperity. To rescue Midgard from certain destruction, father and daughter must heal their relationship and work together. This gripping family-friendly story sees brooms coming to life and love blossoming anew". I've been waiting for a while to recommend this new British musical by Richard Hough and Ben Morales, because it was originally supposed to be a live-in-the-flesh event, if I remember correctly. And then it was supposed to be streaming last month but was delayed. And now it's finally going to happen. Hoorah! See this page here.

Typical | Soho Theatre | from 24 Feb
I think we probably tipped this back in the autumn of 2019, when it was on at the Soho Theatre following an acclaimed run at the old edfringe. But that doesn't mean we can't tip it again (the rules are quite clear on this), especially as this specially filmed version is being made available on demand shortly, for you to access from home in these still-locked down times. If you haven't already heard about it, it's an exploration of racism and how British society stereotypes black masculinity, based on the tragic 1998 events involving ex-serviceman Christopher Alder. It's written by Ryan Calais Cameron, directed by Anastasia Osei-Kuffour, and stars Richard Blackwood. More here.


THREE COMEDY THINGS>>

Your Place Comedy | 28 Feb
I think practically every week since lockdown began I have been saying "here's a lot of comedy to cheer you all up", and I guess I will continue to do so while we are all still stuck indoors. I've got three funny online events for you this week, starting with a return to Your Place Comedy and the expert care of regular host (and longterm TW love) Tim FitzHigham. This instalment's guests are a highly accomplished pair that you've no doubt seen popping up on TV even if you haven't yet seen their live work. Hurrah for Hal Cruttenden and Rosie Jones! See this page here for info, and to watch. And please do donate - these events are designed to support a group of northern venues during these difficult times.

Comedy For The Curious: Artificial Intelligence | 28 Feb
Another TW fave to talk about now, the brilliant Robyn Perkins, who has been tackling interesting sciency topics in the company of funny comedy people regularly over the last year of pandemic doom. This time the guests are Nathan Caton and Harry Stachini, and they'll be covering artificial intelligence, which sounds interesting. We did a Q&A with Robin in the summer, about the 'Comedy For The Curious' show she was doing as part of the online edfringe, so take a look at that, and then head this way for more info and to book tickets.

Notflix | Greenwich Theatre | 27 Feb (pictured)
And another act we have recommended in relatively recent times, when they appeared at the fab New Normal Festival in London in the summer. And with good reason, of course: firstly, we are big fans of improvised entertainment; secondly, we love the fact that this is an all-female improv group, given the fact that historically it was so dominated by men; thirdly, this is a very highly acclaimed troupe doing fabulous improvised musical versions of your favourite films. Why wouldn't you want to partake of that on your upcoming lockdown weekend? All the details are here.


THREE UNCONVENTIONAL THEATRICAL THINGS>>

AI: When A Robot Writes A Play | The Czech Centre/Svanda Theatre | 26 Feb
This sounds weird but interesting, and don't be put off by my saying it sounds weird, carry on reading and you will understand: this sixty minute play, performed in Czech with English subtitles, is composed of dialogues generated by artificial intelligence and is intended to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the premiere of Czech playwright Karel Čapek's play 'RUR', in which the word 'robot' was first used. The piece - which tells "a story of joy and sorrow of everyday life from a robot's point of view" - will be followed by a debate with artificial intelligence and theatre experts about whether AI really can write theatre. See this page here for info.

Wild Time: A Theatrical Novel at CPT | Camden People's Theatre | 25 Feb
"'Wild Time' is a punk prose revision of ​'A Midsummer Night's Dream​', reimagining Shakespeare's narratives of pleasure and power - told with humour, mythology, and erotic acrobatics on an astronomical scale". And the reason it's 'unconventional' - though I suppose you could argue that lockdown has made almost all culture unconventional at the moment - is that this is an event of two parts, one of which is the theatrical novel, which will be sent to your home. The second is a discussion related to the novel. The advice says to book in advance so you have time to receive the book and we're mentioning it as soon as we are able to, given our format, but it might be a close shave: so head this way now.

The Kindling Hour | Swamp Motel | from 24 Feb (pictured, photo by Matt Hass)
You are all surely by now aware of Swamp Motel and their very much highly acclaimed online interactive experiences, not least because we've recommended them, and even interviewed co-creator Ollie Jones. If you've taken our advice on the matter, you may have already taken in 'Plymouth Point' and 'The Mermaid's Tongue', and if you did, then you will be excited to find out that a third instalment - 'The Kindling Hour' - is coming this week. You might be distraught to discover that the first couple of weeks is sold out already, but at least you can plan in advance from mid-March. At the moment, anyway. Get ye hence to book your tickets. Oh, and if you haven't yet done the first two, there's plenty of availability to book those. 'Plymouth Point' here, 'The Mermaid's Tongue' here.


THREE MORE GREAT ONLINE EVENTS>>

2020 Hindsight | Phoenix Arts Club | 26 Feb
"2020 was obviously the worst year ever, but could we have seen it coming? It turns out, Dusty Limits and Michael Roulston did, they just didn't realise it at the time. With a selection of songs from their back-catalogue, a mix of beauty, pathos and vicious satire, they will amuse, move and possibly startle you with their Cassandra-like powers". Another pair of most excellent TW favourites, whose skills we first discovered up at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, present this fab sounding online offering. Head this way to find out more and book your tickets.

Jewish Book Week events | 27 Feb-24 Mar
I was scrolling through all the many events happening in the next seven days as part of Jewish Book Week, thinking we could mention one of them in this week's tips, but - to be honest - I found myself a bit overwhelmed by how many events there are and just how many I wanted to tip. So, instead of telling you about just one of the sessions I would like to take in, I am going to tell you to check out the list for yourself, so you can see the bounteous gifts on offer. Oh, and as you can see from the dates indicated above, Jewish Book Week lasts longer than a week, so although the first week is definitely the busiest, there's stuff going on for the next month. Click here for the listings.

The House That Jackson Built | Half Moon Theatre | 27 Feb-12 Mar (pictured)
And finally, I thought we'd finish with something for the children, specifically primary aged ones, from four to ten: "Jackson's dad is building a new house out of weird and whacky bits and bobs that people have thrown away. The last few years have been hard for young Jackson, living without his mum. Now his dad wants to make a new start, but Jackson isn't ready to move on. Not until he blows the dust off mum's favourite old book and conjures up the Story Fairy". Read all about it and buy a screening ticket here.
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