MONDAY 19 APRIL 2021 THISWEEKCULTURE.COM
WILLIAM TOWNSEND: ANTHROPOCENE - THE HUMAN ERA
I imagine it's pretty clear by now that we are very interested by - and supportive of - the kind of work, delivered via online means, that has seen such growth during the lockdown period. And it's especially exciting to see the new and innovative ways these works have been developed.

'Anthropocene: The Human Era' is an online show from producing company GymJam, hosted by Oxford Playhouse, and it's got some intriguing themes, as well as being structured with a 'choose your own' element.

William Townsend and Gavin Maxwell (pictured above) are the creative force behind it. I spoke to William to find out more about the production, as well as GymJam's pandemic experience and hopes for the future.

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

'Anthropocene: The Human Era' is on from 22 Apr-10 May via Oxford Playhouse. For more information and to book, see the venue website here.
With most 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 COMEDY THINGS>>

Phoenix From The Flames | Nick Helm | 24 Apr
Well, things seem to be getting better, people are leaving their houses a bit more, and lots of press releases for actual in person events have begun dropping into my in-box, which is all rather promising. However, for now, we are still relying on the internet for entertainment. Though it really isn't the end of the world, especially when there are loads of great things for you to look forward to this week, and lots of it is comical and guaranteed to make you giggle. We are starting with this live stream from the very popular two time Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee and increasingly-on-TV Nick Helm of his highly acclaimed show 'Phoenix From The Flames'. Book yourself a ticket here.

A Big Gig 4 | Angel Comedy | 25 Apr
And now, more comedy, because comedy is good, and this is a section of comedy. Our next recommendation is an event from the excellent Angel Comedy, an organisation that keeps London comedy-lovers laughing all year round at their frequent and inexpensive comedy events. Of course, we are still not able to turn up in person, so this is taking place via Zoom. More acts are to be announced, according to the listing, but thus far its line up of two is excellent, and I'd tune in just for them. Who are they? Milton Jones and Sophie Duker, whose talents, I am sure, you are all more than aware of. Head this way for info and to book.

Mind Comedy Gala | Jericho Comedy/NextUp | 24 Apr (pictured)
And onto another excellent line up, this time being hosted by Oxford's Jericho Comedy: their annual gala in aid of mental health charity Mind is moving online and will be hosted by NextUp. Expect high quality entertainment from a fabulous array of comedians, many of whom are long established TW favourites: Nish Kumar, Huge Davies, Rosie Jones, Helen Bauer, Janine Harouni, Ivo Graham, Chelsea Birkby and MC Alex Farrow. And apparently it features an introduction from that Stephen Fry on account of his being Mind UK president. Anyway, it's full of good things, so head this way to sort out your tickets.


THREE AMUSING THEATRICAL THINGS>>

Sexy Lamp | Arena Theatre | 23 April, 1-5 May (pictured)
I imagine that many of the edfringe fans amongst our readership may well have heard of Katie Arnstein's semi-autobiographical play with songs, 'Sexy Lamp', which was performed to some acclaim in the Scottish capital a couple of years ago. But Londoners may also have had the opportunity to take it in during a successful run at Vault Festival. Either way, if you already saw it, you might want to see it again, and if you didn't, it's highly likely you'd like to now. I put this in the amusing theatre section because it's definitely funny but it also has very serious issues at its heart, in particular the systemic sexism faced by women working in the arts and entertainment industry: our reviewer described it as a "vital piece of feminist theatre". It will be live streamed on 23 Apr, and then be available on demand from 1-5 May. Read more about it here and book tickets here.

Obscenities | Theatrical Niche | until 1 May
This three part anthology of short theatrical films by Theatrical Niche is currently on a virtual tour of a number of different regional venues. Each piece focuses on one of three women as they "battle workmates, musical divas and their own bodily functions in the pursuit of their ultimate ambitions", and they all promise to be darkly comical and "warts and all". They've been written by Venetia Twigg and Will Nash (who also directed) and feature performances from Olivia Bernstone, Marianne Benedict, Sheri Sadd, Melissa Saint, Venetia Twigg, Andrew Troy, Natalie Hones and Raychel Addo. See the company website here for more information and booking links.

How To Save A Rock | Pigfoot Theatre / Poplar Union | 25 Apr
This is a comedy, which is why it belongs in the amusing theatre section, but, full disclosure: it's aimed at a youthful demographic. It sounds like it will be a great show to take in as a family and comes to you courtesy of the much acclaimed Pigfoot Theatre. "It's 2026, and we've found a letter from the last ever polar bear. He's somehow ended up at the top of Scotland. We're going to save him. Join us on a wild polar bear chase, through peat bogs and protests. We might just need your help…" For lots more info see this page here.


THREE THEATRICAL THINGS>>

2036 | Bush Theatre | 22-29 Apr (pictured)
"What will theatre be like in 2036? Take A Look". Bush Theatre presents these three showcases from "the next generation" of theatre designers, working with a team of writers, creatives and performers. The result is Devon Muller's 'Pawn', an exploration of race and identity; QianEr Jin's 'One Day', which tells its story through the eyes of a mayfly, living its whole life in a single day; and Latekid's 'LimBo', a conceptual music performance video described as "an interrogation of the self". For more information, head to the venue website right here.

Raft | The Space | 22-23 Apr
"Four women, who are seemingly trapped on a raft in the middle of the ocean, are hunted by a mythical sea-monster. We see them change from shipwreck victims to abuse victims over the course of the 50 minutes under the threat of their ever-present danger, learning about what they're thinking and feeling, how they unite and play one another off against the menace, until the final resolution". Another intriguing sounding show from The Space's digital line up, this time a live stream via Zoom from Early Doors Productions. Read more about it here.

Nine Experiments To Change The World | Southwark Playhouse | 21-22 Apr
And so to another live stream via a different venue, and an equally intriguing one from Southwark Playhouse Young Company. "A theatre company whose mission is to use virtual theatre to transform the world into a better place present nine devised experiments. Each different and unique, they are all trying to inspire the audience to take action. But what happens when people's ideals are different? The company might find that what brought them together in the first place might also be what pulls them apart. 'Nine Experiments To Change The World' is a fun and engaging series of short digital plays that explore issues young people feel compelled to act upon". Click here.


THREE MORE THEATRICAL THINGS>>

There's Something Among Us | Chronic Insanity | 26 Apr
You probably know we love Chronic Insanity because we keep running Q&As about their shows and including the company's output in the tips. This, the fifth in their 12 Shows In 12 Months project for 2021, is a really interesting production, which tells its story via multiple video feeds, and (as you might have guessed from the title) uses rather popular online game 'Among Us' a jumping off point. "In 'Among Us', a player is assigned the role of The Imposter and has to try and secretly murder the other players without being caught. But what if, when each avatar in the game is killed off, something more immediate and serious happens to that player in real life?" More here.

Safe | Hackney Empire | from 19 Apr (pictured)
You might have already heard about 'Safe', as it's had a sell out performance at Soho Theatre and a sell-out run at London Theatre Workshop. It's a verbatim piece, weaving real life testimony with music and spoken word by Yrsa Daley Ward. Its creator is Alexis Gregory, who used interviews with four homeless and at risk LGBT young people that he met via akt, a charity that supports LGBTQ+ people aged 16-25 who are facing or experiencing homelessness or living in a hostile environment. For more information, check the venue website here.

Money | Southwark Playhouse | 26 Apr-15 May
"The Nyoni Youth And Community Project is offered a large donation from the Anders Corporation that promises to save the struggling charity. The source of the money is, however, an ethically questionable one and, as the details of the Anders Corporation's dirty and damaging deeds come to light, the Nyoni Board - and the audience - are faced with an agonising decision: do we accept the money or do we reject it? Secrets will be spilled, hidden and traded, loyalties and rivalries will be formed and broken as the charity's board wrestles through the muck of this ethical dilemma and discussions soon spiral from professional to personal". An interactive production through which the audience plays the role of the charity members who must choose whether to accept the money. Read more about it here.
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