MONDAY 26 APRIL 2021 THISWEEKCULTURE.COM
NATASHA RICKMAN: ROMEO & JULIET
Our regular readers will be very much aware of how appreciative we have been of the work of Oxford's Creation Theatre during the lockdown.

Their digitally delivered shows have been brilliantly clever, rising to the challenge of this new medium with aplomb.

Next month, they will be staging an adaptation of 'Romeo & Juliet', which has been given an interactive, choose-your-journey element, and it sounds rather exciting.

I spoke to the show's director Natasha Rickman to find out more.

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

Creation Theatre's 'Romeo & Juliet' is presented in partnership with Watford Palace Theatre and is performed from 12-23 May. Head this way to book your tickets.
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 SHOWS>>

Always Be Comedy | 28 Apr
I can just about smell the mildly intoxicating scent of the herald of socially distanced real world comedy shows; they are over there, on the horizon, and they will start happening in about three weeks time, and we have started making a note of the ones we want to tell you all about. But, if there's anything we've learned during this lockdown, it's that comedy nights over the internet can be a very nice alternative, and we still have quite a lot of those to keep you going. This week we are starting with Always Be Comedy, whose 28 Apr line up is a corker: Josh Widdicombe, Huge Davies and Chloe Petts. See this page here to book tickets.

Working From Home: Oh Shit... The Pub's Fully Booked, Let's Watch This Show Instead Special | Just The Tonic | 1 May
This one's got a very long title hasn't it? Well, I suppose it's fitting, because the line up is rather long also, and - as usual - is packed with a bounteous array of TW faves, the likes of Ed Gamble, Sindhu Vee, Joanna Neary, Sean McLoughlin, Simon Wozniak and Sally-ann Hayward, plus regulars. And, because I don't have much else to say, I am going to do an informative quotation about what you can look forward to: "If you have not watched before, do not expect straight stand up. Expect fun. If you have watched before... then you have an idea already. Chaos, sketches, pre-recorded bit, live chat". Head this way to book tickets.

Comedy For The Curious | 2 May
"Are you a dog person? Cat person? Prefer a Lizzard? Don't care? It's another intense debate, with three comics delivering sets on behalf of their pet of choice". This week's 'Comedy For The Curious' offering deals with the topic of 'Cats Vs Dogs', and this edition features the wonderful Lucy Porter and the fabulous Ryan Mold alongside the show's very excellent host Robyn Perkins. I am pretty sure by now that you are aware of this show, because I talk about it a lot, but I will point out, in case you don't already know, it happens every Sunday at the moment, not just on the weeks I mention it. Anyway, see this page here for more info and booking link.


THREE UPCOMING THEATRICAL THINGS>>

One Half Of Two | The Cockpit | 1-8 May
As with comedy shows, we have been busy collecting news of, and dates for, the first raft of socially distanced real world plays you'll be able to see. But, like comedy, there's still lots of theatrical stuff to access online, and it looks like that will continue. So, here's one to start you off, a new play by emerging playwright Phoebe Noble, which follows three women through the aftermath of love. It's the work of a team of female drama students at Trinity Laban Conservatoire, who, after a year of missed performance opportunities and disrupted education, felt inspired to share their own work in digital format. For more information see the Cockpit website here.

Learning To Swim On An Ironing Board | Camden People's Theatre | 30 Apr
"Between not getting better and getting better at not getting better stories are needed. Stories wider than their margins and less lemon than real-life are needed. Especially when real life is being indoors too much with fibromyalgia, an illness with too many syllables to be anything other than shit and possibly contagious. Stories are really needed because as a narrative device fibromyalgia is pants. Yes, there's lots of dramatic pain and ennui-inducing fatigue, but there's no real back story, no concrete arc and no triumphant conclusion. And, anyway, disabled spoken word artist Conor A wanted to tell a different story". A live performance, via Zoom, and it sounds rather intriguing. More here.

Tarantula | Southwark Playhouse | 30 Apr-1 May
And now, we're heading over to Southwark Playhouse (well, heading digitally) for a new play about identity, memory and love from the very highly regarded Philip Ridley, which stars Georgie Henley. "It's a sunny, spring day in East London. On a street corner, two teenagers kiss. One of them is Toni. This is her first kiss. It makes her very happy. But someone is watching. Someone who doesn't care about her happiness at all. And they're about to change Toni's life... forever". For more info and to book see this page here.


THREE MORE INTERESTING ONLINE THINGS TO ACCESS>>

Estella | Omnibus Theatre | streaming now
As this one is theatre, and could have therefore easily fit into the previous three to see, I am going to start with it here in this slightly 'mixed bag' tip section. It's a very interesting take on 'Great Expectations', from the perspective of Dickensian ice queen Estella. "This re-envisioning of Dickens' best-loved novel, led by a band of three actor musicians, follows the story of Estella's astonishing self-discovery. Against a backdrop of live original music and visual theatre making, audiences will witness the true nature of Estella's relationship with Miss Haversham and her desperation to discover her real mother's identity. In this radical re-working, will Pip and Estella be together forever? Will Estella finally be able to leave her dark past behind and step into the light?" More here.

Poplarism! | Finborough Theatre / Poplar Union | 1-2 May
The other two entries in this 'mixed but quality bag' are festivals, and this one - curated by Beth Watton of Poplar Union and Neil McPherson of the Finborough Theatre - is a digital arts festival celebrating the centenary of the Poplar Rates Rebellion of 1921. Five different pieces of work will be broadcast on each of the two days of the event, and will be followed in the evening with Q&A sessions with the artists behind each one. There's lots of information about the Rates Rebellion and the artists involved, and a button to book free tickets, on the Poplar Union website here, and also lots of information on the Finborough website here.

Edinburgh Tradfest | 30 Apr-10 May
As the name suggests, this is one for fans of traditional music, and if you are such a person, there's a lot to be excited about. The event moves online for the first time this year, and will feature recorded and live streamed music concerts, folk films and daily podcasts. Amongst those appearing are some rather well known acts and TW favourites, the likes of Karine Polwart, Shooglenifty, Moishe's Bagel, Lizabett Russo, Malin Lewis and Catriona MacDonald. There's lots of information about the events you can expect on the festival website here.
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