MONDAY 31 MAY 2021 THISWEEKCULTURE.COM
RHIANNON FAITH: DROWNTOWN
If you've been paying attention to our output this last year, you will - I am sure - remember our interview with Rhiannon Faith about 'Drowntown Lockdown', a filmed prologue to her sadly postponed live show 'Drowntown' - a gritty, uncompromising and dark new dance-theatre piece giving voice to the vulnerable and unheard in modern Britain's areas of social deprivation.

I was really pleased when I heard that we are poised to get a chance to see 'Drowntown' itself this month, not live as originally planned, but as a ninety minute film, which will be streamed via the Barbican initially, ahead of a digital tour of further venues.

I caught up with Rhiannon Faith to find out how the film came together, and what to expect in the future.

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

'Drowntown' will be broadcast on 1 Jun via The Barbican website, and will be followed by a Q&A with Rhiannon Faith, psychologist Joy Griffiths, selected cast members and filmmaker Adam Sheldon of Big Egg Films. It will be available on demand until 6 Jun. See the Barbican website here.

It will then go on a 'digital tour' with screenings available on demand via Cambridge Junction from 7-13 Jun, Gulbenkian Canterbury from 14-20 Jun, Ipswich Dance East from 25-27 Jun, and Harlow Playhouse from 28-30 Jun.
Some COVID restrictions have now lifted in England so we have lots of in-person shows to tip in this bulletin - but plenty of online experiences too, many featuring performers and companies we first enjoyed at the Edinburgh Fringe.


THREE LIVE THEATRICAL TREATS>>

The Turnip Field | Turbine Theatre | 2-5 Jun
There's more and more live in person stuff to consider every week and it's great to be able to tip it. But I will point out - as I think I did in previous weeks - that many of the socially distanced shows I am hearing about are selling out super quickly, so make sure to move fast when something piques your interest. Anyway, let's get on with it. First up, 'The Turnip Field' at The Turbine Theatre: "When John is sent to fetch his younger brother Joe from the turnip field, he's shocked to find the normally placid lad sulking and angry. Waiting for Patrick, Joe is desperate to stay a little longer. As the two brothers while away the hours they talk of their dreams and ambitions outside of the small Irish hamlet that is their home. Everything was perfect in the turnip field. But then the weather changed". More here.

Harm | Bush Theatre | 31 May-26 Jun (pictured)
"I want Alice immediately. To suffer something unfortunate. To be friends with me… I don't know. Both?" Next up today is 'Harm' at Bush Theatre, by the acclaimed and award winning Phoebe Eclair-Powell, described as a thrilling and twisted comedy about the corrosive effects of social media and isolation. "When an unhappy estate agent sells a house to Alice, a charismatic social media influencer, the two strike up an unlikely friendship. But as her obsession with Alice's seemingly perfect world intensifies, the lines between online and reality become dangerously blurred". See this page here for more info and to book.

Theatre For Two | Kilter Theatre/various locations | 5 Jun-7 Jul
Here's an interesting one, a series of extremely intimate performances - literally for two people - making a tour of London in a specially designed travelling venue. There are four micro-plays, each lasting about ten minutes, written by Ryan Lane, Gabriella Leon, Tabby Lamb and Macadie Amaroso. You can book into just one play, or see the full cycle. Theatre for two is calling at CentrE17 on 5+6 Jun, Stanley Halls on 12+13 Jun, Turbine Theatre on 26+27 Jun, and COLAB Tavern on 6+7 Jul. Click on each venue link for more details and to book your tickets.


THREE LIVE FAMILY SHOWS>>

Errol's Garden | The Albany | 2-4 Jun (pictured)
Last week, if I remember correctly, we told you about stuff to entertain the kids with over half term. It's still going to be half term when you read this, so we thought we would add some more socially distanced, family-friendly fun. The first one is a show based on the book 'Errol's Garden', an interactive musical performance which will take place outdoors. "Errol is a young boy living in the inner city who longs for his own garden. After running out of room for plants in his flat, he dreams of having a garden of his own. He discovers that his flat has a rooftop that would be perfect for a garden. But the rooftop is full of rubbish and transforming the space into a garden will be a big task, so he invites his neighbours to join him. After a great community effort, the rubbish has been cleared. Soon there are flowers, fruits and vegetables for everyone to share". More here.

Ally Pally's Poetry Picnic | Alexandra Palace | 6 Jun
Another outdoor thing for you and why not? It's going to be warm and sunny all week, which is marvellous. I'm overexcited about it to be honest. I mean, I know that we do actually get a bit of warm weather in the UK in the summer, but somehow, being British, I never quite trust it to last more than a day or two. But here we are with days and days of sunshine predicted. Make the most of it by taking any six-plus youngsters you might have hanging around to Alexandra Palace for this celebration of music and poetry, with the previously tipped pairing of poet Simon Mole and musician Gecko. They'll provide the fun, silly games, music and poetry inspiration, just remember to bring your own biscuits. For more information and to book see this page here.

Don't Tell Grandma | Chiswick Playhouse | until 6 Jun
This one isn't outside, but you know, it's good to have a break from the sun at times, especially if you've got pale, sensitive skin like me. Or, you know, if you would just like to see this nice show at a great venue. It's suitable for children over the age of four, and features familiar songs and a fun concept: "Join two sisters who turn a trip to their Grandma's into an all-singing, all-dancing adventure! Sneaking upstairs into the attic, the girls come across many exciting objects, family memories and let their fantasies run wild". For more information and to book tickets, see the venue website right about here.


THREE ONLINE THEATRICAL SHOWS>>


Lost Dog - Paradise Lost | The Place | 5-6 Jun
This is in fact a live performance on 5 Jun, but it's completely sold out so now your only opportunity to watch it is to tune in online. There's no wonder it's sold out, of course, because this is a hugely acclaimed one man adaptation of 'Paradise Lost', which featured on the pages of ThisWeek London back in 2015, when we interviewed its creator Ben Duke. "There is a possibility that God made everything because he was terrified of doing nothing. Here is a re-telling of the story of the beginning of everything inspired by Milton's 'Paradise Lost' - told through words, music and the easily misunderstood medium of dance. A show for anyone who has created anything (child, garden, paper aeroplane) and then watched it spiral out of control". See this page here.

Hushabye Mountain | stream.theatre | 5-20 Jun
"Danny is a young man, waiting to be let into heaven. There seems to be some difficulty about it, but Judy Garland reassures him as she passes by in a boat full of stars. Away from the dreamlike and unexpected version of the afterlife, the people who were closest to Danny struggle with his death from AIDS. His partner Connor is flattened by grief, and groping awkwardly towards a new relationship. Connor's brother Lee and his wife Lana, who was Danny's best friend, find their new marriage overshadowed by the hole Danny's absence has left in their lives. And Danny's mother Beryl, who had kept in contact via increasingly paranoid letters after Danny's father disowned him, is now in a mental hospital and being updated by Judy Garland about her son's progress towards heaven". A revival of Jonathan Harvey's 1999 play, directed by Nick Bagnall. Read more and book here.

The Cloak Of Visibility | The Space | 1-6 Jun (pictured)
This show is another one that you can see either online or in person, in fact, and there are a few days worth of real-life shows, so I expect there'll be some availability when you come to book if you want to be there on the spot. But if there isn't, not the end of the world, because you can stream it. Anyway, what's this all about? Well, as a woman who sees how difficult it is for women to "have it all" (especially when so many men still avoid doing their share of the housework), I am interested to see that this is about the pressure many women feel to be seen to be "having it all". "Meet busy, juggling, cool mum, Amy. She's popular, successful and has mastered the 'slut drop'. Wearing her cloak of visibility, Amy is a 'warrior with a purpose'. Pass the gin. So why is she aimlessly wandering the streets of London?" Read more about it here.


THREE MORE IN PERSON SHOWS>>

Sara Barron: Enemies Closer | Soho Theatre | 4-5 Jun
Yay, even more shows to go and see at actual venues. And I thought it was time for some comedy, which I may have somewhat neglected lately in the rush to tell you about all the kids stuff for half term and all the theatrical shows opening at previously long-closed venues. Anyway, here's a comedy show at a venue that re-opened a couple of weeks back, and it's from an established TW fave Sara Barron, who we first met up at the old edfringe a few years back. This is Barron's 2019 Edinburgh offering, which won widespread critical acclaim. "Unrelenting and hilarious, Sara examines kindness, meanness, ex-boyfriends, current husbands, all four of her remaining friends, and two of her twelve enemies". Quick, head this way to book, I've a feeling there's only a few tickets left.

Cavalli's Legisto | The Cockpit | 4-13 Jun
"The lovers Egisto (a descendant of Apollo) and Clori were abducted by pirates in Delos; Clori was sold in Zakynthos, where the pirates also captured Climene, on the day of her wedding to Lidio. A year later, Egisto and Climene escape to Zakynthos, to find Clori in love with Lidio and also courted by Climene's brother Hipparco. In the course of 24 hours, dismay, remorse, plans of revenge, madness, and the quarrels and interference of the gods, lead to reconciliation and a happy ending". Ooh, a magical fable for opera lovers, performed by young up and coming singers. Nice. See this page here for more information and to book tickets.

The Ballad Of Corona V - The Remix | The Big House | 3-26 June (pictured)
More music-infused stuff now, but of a definitely different genre, given that it's from grime MC Jammz. The Big House present an updated and remixed version of their show 'The Ballad Of Corona V', with professional actors and care-leavers giving a promenade performance to small socially distanced audiences. "'The Ballad of Corona V - The Remix' takes you on a dark and comic musical journey through The Big House building to tell you the tale of COVID-19 in London 2021. Has it all just been a bad dream? If so, then when did it start? Who is Stefan Prince? Do dickheads really matter? And can Boris bring us all out of lockdown in time to save Pancake Day?" Info and booking link here.


THREE MORE ONLINE SHOWS>>

We Missed You | Camden People's Theatre | 4 Jun, then on demand until 11 Jun (pictured)
And now, back to things you can absorb in the comfort of your own home. Which, to be fair, you might be slightly fed up with if you have had a year of being mostly in it, but still: front row seats are generally pretty comfy there. And this is a show that fans of joyful clowning won't want to miss. On as part of Camden People's Theatre's one week Sprint Digital Festival, it's the work of Julia Masli and Viggo Venn, contemporary clown duo from Estonia and Norway, who've won both Best Comedy at the Brighton Fringe Festival and the Malcolm Hardee Award For Comic Originality. "What happens to clowns when a world pandemic hits? Commedia del Arte's Harlequin and Pierrot take to the streets of London to entertain the nation (rare by-passers). This part street-show, part film, part documentary captures a true story of clowns trying to do their job when no one is out to play". See this page here.

Little Mess | Little Angel Theatre | from 29 May
The most recently released online offering from children's theatre venue Little Angel Theatre, a family show suitable for all ages but aimed at younger children from the age of two. The show celebrates imaginative story-telling and creativity, and encourages families to play together using objects found in their homes. "Join Princess Olive on a thrilling quest to find the legendary Tidy Up Troll to help her tidy up her room before the Troll Queen's palace party! This fun, fantastical puppetry adventure is jammed packed with original music, magic, comedy and adventure, made for everyone everywhere who delights in making a Little Mess!" See the venue website here for this show, and this page here for all the other online shows available.

White: The Film | Catherine Wheels/Traverse/EICF | until 6 Jun
One last thing for family audiences - and specifically children in the ages four to six demographic - a widely acclaimed and widely toured show that's been turned into a film featuring the original cast and creative team, which is streaming online this week via The Traverse as part of the Edinburgh International Children's Festival. "Welcome to the world of White. White is a place where men wear bathmats as aprons and baby hats on their heads. White is a world of birdhouses, disco balls and prawn crackers. White is a place where everything is white. But one day colour arrives and everything changes". For more information and to book yourselves in, head to the Traverse Theatre website here.
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