MONDAY 30 AUGUST 2021 THISWEEKCULTURE.COM
THANK YOU EDINBURGH!
Today's the final day of the 2021 Edinburgh Festival - and although it was a streamlined affair this year, there were so many great shows on offer. You can check out our coverage of it all here - with a few final reviews going online later this week.

Meanwhile, there is plenty of great Fringe theatre, comedy and culture happening in London and online in the week ahead - including shows from some edfringe favourites - and, as always, we've picked out some of the best for you to check out. Enjoy!


PHILIP HAGEMANN: PASSION, POISON AND PETRIFACTION + THE PRODIGAL SON (L'ENFANT PRODIGUE)
We're big fans of the Pegasus Opera Company, for the fabulous work it stages, but also because it champions diversity, offering opportunities to artists of African and Asian heritage based in the UK.

Its latest offering, to be staged at the Royal Academy Of Music this week, is a double bill comprising an adaptation of Claude Debussy's 'The Prodigal Son', and 'Passion, Poison And Petrification', based on the play by George Bernard Shaw.

Composer Philip Hagemann adapted the former, and wrote the music for the latter. I arranged a quick chat with him to find out more.

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

'Passion, Poison And Petrifaction' and 'The Prodigal Son' is on at the Susie Sainsbury Theatre at the Royal Academy of Music from 10-12 Sep. Get your tickets here.
Three To See tips recommending the best Fringe theatre, comedy and culture to see in-person in London, plus online shows to take in anywhere.


THREE THEATRICAL SHOWS>>

The Good Dad | Hope Theatre | 31 Aug-11 Sep (pictured)
A couple of our favourite festivals may have come to an end this week but that doesn't mean there isn't lots of good stuff for you to see, both in person in London, and online. We'll start with live theatre in the capital first, and this one sounds rather good, and not just because it has the word 'good' in the title. "The whole family knew he was a good dad. But he wasn't well, he had a weak heart, so they gathered around him to protect him - from everything, because he really was a good dad. And Donna was special; he loved her the most. So why is Donna in prison?" More here.

Don't Send Flowers | White Bear Theatre | 30 Aug-5 Sep
"Grace is in therapy because her father is dying and she's not handling it well. Joanne is in therapy because she's dying and also not handling it well. Louis is in therapy because his work told him he has to be. A chance encounter in a waiting room causes them to strike up a friendship with each other, and although cake is not a cure for cancer, it turns out to be exactly what the doctor ordered". And over to the White Bear Theatre for another fab sounding play with an interesting premise and themes. See the venue website here for more information and to book tickets.

Dear Elizabeth | Gate @ Theatro Technis | 1-18 Sep
An already critically acclaimed production, this one, so you may well have seen it already. But for those of you that haven't, it's back for a limited run, so don't miss it this time! The focus of the play is American poets Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell, and the four hundred-plus letters they wrote to each other over the course of their lives, which - of course - reflect their "messy and profound; platonic and romantic; distant and intense" relationship. Two unrehearsed performers perform, discovering the content of said letters, and the nature of the pair's friendship, at the same time as the audience. See this page here for more information.


THREE FUNNY SHOWS>>

Comedy For The Curious | online | 5 Sep (pictured)
And now for some comedy, and we are starting with an online recommendation, especially good for - but not limited to - those of you still not feeling safe to get out. And this is, of course, a big TW favourite show, one that we've recommended a lot over the past year, and for good reason. We love it because each show focuses on a specific topic, which three acts - including host Robyn Perkins - present material on in turn. This week it's part one of a two shows on the subject of confidence. "Everyone wants it, but no one quite seems to know where it comes from. How do we get that big dick energy? And is it even necessary?" See this page here for info and to book, for this show, as well as upcoming shows - it happens every Sunday.

Newsrevue | Canal Cafe Theatre | Thu/Fri/Sat/Sun
And so to another show that happens very regularly - but this lot are available to entertain you four nights a week. The brilliant Newsrevue have been putting on their topical current event based comedy shows for decades, a run only really broken by the events of the last eighteen months or so. Blooming pandemic. Anyway, given that they've been around forever, and everyone knows that, why are we talking about the show this week? Well, a) maybe actually everyone doesn't know about them, and b) maybe they did know about them but need a reminder, especially bearing in mind the aforementioned enforced rest. See this page here for all the details.

The Free Association Presents: Jacuzzi | Battersea Arts Centre | 3+17 Sep, 1 Oct
There's lots of fabulous looking comedy to be had at Battersea Arts Centre throughout September so you should probably take a look at the whole line up and plan ahead a bit, but when you do that you should definitely consider my first choice from that line up, which is this. It's improv, which we love, of course, and it's by a talented bunch. At each show a special guest will use audience suggestions to inspire a monologue of true stories, opinions, thoughts and anecdotes from their own life, which will in turn inspire the improv team in the creation of scenes and sketches. Read more here.


THREE SOHO THEATRE SHOWS>>

String Vs Spitta | Soho Theatre | 4 Sep
There's so much good stuff on at Soho Theatre in the upcoming weeks that it's a struggle not to tip all of it. So with that in mind, I have allowed myself to devote a whole section to stuff that's coming up this week. We're starting with a work in progress that I think looks very promising, not least because Kiell Smith-Bynoe - one of the stars of current favourite 'Ghosts' - is involved, alongside the talented Ed MacArthur. It's a musical comedy about rival children's entertainers from "opposite sides of the track", one a "charming classical virtuoso and topdog in the lucrative West London kids' parties market", the other a "Grime-obsessed maverick from East London who's shaken up the scene and quickly become the talk of the Kensington playgrounds". Read more and book here.

Fatty Fat Fat | Soho Theatre | 1+3 Sep
"Do you ever feel like your body takes up too much space in a world that doesn't want to make any room? Katie is fat. She's pretty much always been fat, and probably will be fat forever more. Join her in the 'Cha Cha Slide', munch on some crisps, and have a listen to what it's like to live in a body that people can't help but have an opinion on". An award winning show, this one, which you may perhaps have come across at the 2019 Vault Festival. If not, here's your chance to see it, head this way for more info and to book tickets.

Sh!t Theatre Drink Rum With Expats | Soho Theatre | 6-11 Sep (pictured)
It's no secret that we here at TW Towers are ardent fans of Sh!t Theatre and absolutely everything they do, so you won't be surprised to see us tipping them yet again. This is not a new show, but we know for a fact that it's an absolute goodie, because we saw it up at the old edfringe in 2019. I'm just going to reproduce here a small excerpt of the rightfully and unequivocally glowing review one of our team wrote about it: "Sh!t Theatre knock back rum and weave together a show that has no right to be as funny as it is when such burning anger runs through its core. What a triumph this is". So, what are you waiting for? Book here.


THREE MORE THEATRICAL SHOWS>>

About Money | Theatre503 | 6-8 Sep
More live in person theatre for you now, and we're headed over to Theatre503 for 'About Money', a co-production from the venue and international female-led company 65% Theatre. They are staging a debut play from Glasgow playwright Eliza Geaty, drawn from interviews with young kinship carers and fast food workers, and inspired by the writer's involvement in the 2018 McStrikes. It's about eighteen year old Shaun, who is sole carer to his eight year old sister, and finds himself forced by lack of finances and an unsympathetic employer to make decisions that could have devastating consequences. More information on the venue website here.

Uplift | Omnibus Theatre | 1,3, 4 Sep (pictured)
A creative live performance from David Neita, which pays tribute to the Windrush Generation in the UK, exploring themes of belonging, home and dignity in response to the hostile environment that resulted in the Windrush scandal. "'Uplift' is a fitting tribute to the incredible and indomitable spirit of the people who were invited from afar to help to rebuild post-war Britain and responded to that call with generous open arms, steadfast service and love for the nation, presented as their motherland". For details and to book tickets see this page here.

Invisible Me | New Wimbledon Theatre studio | 3-11 Sep
"Lynn is rattling around alone in the house she inherited from her mother, only venturing out to work shifts as a hotel cleaner; Jack, a recent widower, gay and HIV positive, finds himself on the singles market again after 35 years and at the mercy of dating apps. Alec, divorced with a grown up family he rarely sees, can't define himself as anything other than the 20 year old punk who easily pulled the birds forty years ago. As these three Londoners enter their seventh decade, each has a different encounter. Sex is involved. From that moment on they stop being trapped in the past, and begin to envision the future through a new found identity". Great to see this sort of portrayal of older lives. See this page here for more.


THREE MORE INTERESTING SHOWS>>

It's Not The Fire | livestream via Omnibus Theatre | 2 Sep (pictured)
Here's something for you to absorb in the comfort of your own home, though it tackles themes which are probably not very comforting. Important, though, and this looks like a very compelling piece of work. "Memories of the past three years have been stitched together with a heavy hand. In a disorientating repetitive cycle, the piece relives tiny details, grappling to find moments of peace and stillness amidst spiralling thoughts. It's a heavy reality to know that one in four women in the UK will experience sexual violence at some point in their lives. Roughly 850,000 women a year. This film is a gentle reminder of the power and influence trauma can have on our lives, and the strength needed to heal". More here.

Triple | The Space | 31 Aug-4 Sep
I do overuse the word 'intriguing', but I really am quite intrigued by what to expect from this one, a new monologue play delivered in three 'scoops', a la ice-cream. "In three scoops, 'Triple' serves you three tantalising and titillating stories of parties of three; a darkly comic look at love and late capitalism. In scoop one: Supermarkets. Talking Sex Toys. Drag Kings. And More. In scoop two: Skin Care. 'The Sims 4'. Soft Apocalypse. Oh My. In scoop three: Soap-Scum. Super-Action. World-Salvation. Yeah. 'Triple', so good you'll come three times". Head this way if you are as intrigued as I am.

Hopes and Fears | Arcola Theatre | 1-4 Sep
"A mother waits for her son, fearing she may die before ever seeing him again. Two young lovers struggle to find the words to say goodbye". We're finishing with one for music fans, and a trip to Grimeborn 2021 at Arcola. The Opera Makers present 'Hopes & Fears', based on music by Claude Debussy arranged by award-winning pianist and musical director Panaratos Kyriatzidis, with a new libretto from Olivier Award nominated opera maker Becca Marriott. The opera tells the story of two very different women facing a cancer diagnosis, and has been created with help from Shine Cancer Support UK. Sort out your tickets here.
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