MONDAY 6 SEPTEMBER 2021 THISWEEKCULTURE.COM
JOSEPH CHARLES AND ROBERT MASKELL: WHITE WITCH
Back in 2017, multi-racial company Thee Black Swan staged 'White Witch' at the Chelsea Theatre, and the response to it made the company determined to bring it back at a later date. The pandemic got in the way a bit, but they're back this week, opening at Bloomsbury Theatre on 7 Sep.

You may well have heard of the play - and its author, the late Barry Reckord - before, but if not, be assured that it's an intriguing and exciting work, and one that definitely deserves to be seen.

To find out more about the play, and the creative team behind it, I spoke to Joseph Charles, director of the show and founder of Thee Black Swan, and Robert Maskell, who plays plantation owner Simon Palmer.

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

'White Witch' is on at the Bloomsbury Theatre from 7-18 Sep. See this page here for more information and to book tickets.
Shows to see in person in London - and online anywhere - including performances from people and companies we first discovered at the Edinburgh Festival.


THREE SHOWS FOR KIDS>>

The Wishing Tree | Little Angel Theatre | 9-26 Sep
I thought it might be a good time to focus a little on some entertainment for the young people in your lives, on the basis that a theatrical treat might take the sting out of having to go back to school. Well, if they're the kind of child that doesn't like school, I know of lots that actually do. Anyway, let's start at the lovely Little Angel Theatre, with this brand new play from Joseph Coelho: "Ben has just moved to a new estate. It's miles away from his old friends, his old school, his grandma's house, from everything he knows. But when his mum and step-dad send him out to explore, he unwittingly finds himself on a quest to rescue a missing tree of wishes". Click here.

Planet Play/Tales From The Shed | Chickenshed | from 10 Sep
Yes, I am cheating here to squeeze in two shows from one venue - partly on account of the fact that one show is for very young audiences, while the other is fine for slightly older children too - and partly because the two shows are from the same team. 'Planet Play' is for children under three, and offers a "magical world of sensory learning, wonder and exploration", and is especially designed to encourage play and early communication development in young children. You may already be familiar with 'Tales From The Shed', which returns for another season, and offers different interactive stories delivered by the same well loved characters. Suitable for children up to the age of six, that one. Click here for 'Planet Play' and here for 'Tales From The Shed'.

There's A Rang-Tan In My Bedroom and Other Stories | Little Angel Theatre | 10 Sep-7 Nov (pictured)
Right, back to Little Angel Theatre for another fab sounding show, one for the five to eleven demographic, which offers a mixture of puppetry and music inspired by Greenpeace campaign films. "Imagine waking up to find a turtle bathing in your bathtub, an orangutan bouncing on your bed and a jaguar creeping through your kitchen! But how did they all get here? And why on earth are they all so far from home? Discover more about our animal friends and what we can do to help - because no one is too small to make a difference". Read more about the show here.


THREE FUNNY SHOWS>>

Elf Lyons Talks Dirty For An Hour | Battersea Arts Centre | 9 Sep
And now for a few shows that are very much in with a chance of putting a smile on your face. I love September, for me it's often a fairly relaxed and mellow sort of a month, with a relatively high chance of still-a-bit summery weather, and that's why I love the idea of Battersea Arts Centre's season of comedy events throughout this month, taking place in their open air courtyard. I think I probably mentioned it, and another event from their line up, last week, so you may have checked out what's on already, but if not: here's an upcoming show I would definitely recommend, from award winning TW fave Elf Lyons. "Elf is fed up with being told 'don't say that, you're a lady'. Women can be filthy too and she is going to revel in it". Click here.

Simon Evans: Work Of The Devil | Leicester Square Theatre | 12+19 Sep
It's highly likely you need absolutely no introduction to Simon Evans, given his long history of live work, not least up at edfringe, and his appearances on shows like 'Live At The Apollo' and 'Mock The Week', and other TV and radio stuff. Anyway, he's very good, as you probably all know, and his latest show sounds intriguing: "Simon Evans' last show, 'Genius 2.0', provided an hilarious analysis of the departure of any visible sign of intelligence from modern life. But his new show raises the stakes, with his usual excoriating views of a world on fire given a perspective shift from personal revelations that turned his world upside down this year". Book here.

Blood Sweat and Vaginas | Arcola Theatre | 9-11 Sep (pictured)
This isn't actually comedy, it's theatre, but it does promise humour in the blurb, which is why it ended up in this section. It's here for more than just the humour though - it sounds like it delves into some very important and interesting themes: "Carolann's awakening is sudden and all consuming. Divorce and menopause has made perpetuating the strong black woman myth no longer possible. She stumbles out of her super woman bubble to discover a world of sex, soul music and hidden desires". And this is another outside performance, part of Arcola Theatre's 'Today I'm Wiser' festival. For more information and to book, see this page here.


THREE SHOWS TO WATCH AT HOME>>

Selected Recordings Of Us | The Space | from 7 Sep
"They promised they would never forget each other, no matter what. Then they broke up. As the remnants of their relationship gradually crowds the stage, two characters grasp at the fragments of their memories to come up with a shared version of their story. But can they agree on a single script?" Creators Undone Theatre describe this as "a queer love story that cannot find a stable form and demands that the audience interact, take sides, and be pictured alongside it", and I find that rather intriguing. If you'd rather see this in the flesh, you absolutely can, but of course it's possible to see the show via a livestream too, that's why it's in this section. More here.

Can I Live? | Complicite digital tour | from 13 Sep (pictured)
Fehinti Balogun takes us on a journey into the world of environmental activism in this show, which he's conceived, written and performs, described as an "exploration of the place where the climate emergency and social justice meet, and a call-to-arms to anyone curious about what we can do to help". Using original hip-hop and spoken word, he tells the story of how, as a young black British man, his path has been changed by what he's learned about our planet. This filmed performance is doing a digital tour of a number of regional theatres, see all the details and book tickets here.

Toothache | The Space | from 7 Sep
Back to The Space for another show that's being performed to live audiences, but which will also be live-streaming on a couple of dates. "Meet Josh and Roo (or Kangaroo as she prefers to be known) - two twins born and raised in Salford by an amateur DJ and a mother that thinks she's Janis Joplin. Josh says Roo thinks too much. Roo reckons Josh is a gobby c*nt. As one twin comes to terms with their sexuality, the other struggles to keep their head above the surface. Either way, they've got each other. They're best pals. And mortal enemies". Head to the venue website here for more.


THREE THEATRE THINGS>>

Flux | Theatre503 | 10+11 Sep
This sounds really interesting and it's only a short run, so make sure you don't miss your chance to see it: "Rachel is a successful businesswoman whose life is turned upside down when a family member falls ill. Suddenly, she's a carer with no support from her society, terrified of becoming a product of the environment she's spent so long attempting to reject. At the other end of the street lives Temi, a young girl on the brink of going to university. The life that was mapped out for her and the independence she had dreamt of seemingly disappears when her life changes and she too will become a carer. 'Flux' tells the story of two women, living under an evolving skyline that they no longer feel a part of". Click here.

Fault Lines | White Bear Theatre | 7-18 Sep
"After a fire burns down their home, Gemma and Ariel are taken in by a quarrelling couple who enjoy bringing in the traumatised mother and daughter into their matrimonial war-games. As ideas of happy families and dealing with loss brim to the surface, troubling revelations expose the pain and depravity these four people live by". Yikes, this play by Cameron Corcoran sounds like it might be harrowing, though obviously rather compelling. A production from Off Main Stage, who continue to explore family, relationships and working class struggles. More here.

Prison Game | Pleasance Theatre | 7-11 Sep (pictured)
And onto another extremely compelling piece from the talented Marcus Hercules, developed using real life accounts and dealing with the effects of institutionalisation on the psyche of an individual and the people around them. The story, told through a series of different characters, follows a young boy's progression from primary school through to adulthood. "When prison is your world, how do you function within society? This gripping, and at times chilling, one-man physical theatre performance is the story of how prison can define a man". Find more info and book tickets on the venue website here.


THREE MORE THEATRE THINGS>>

The Duration | Omnibus Theatre | 7-26 Sep
I can hardly believe it's been twenty years since 9/11, my memories of hearing about it are as clear as if they were yesterday. The fact that I was lying in bed with horrible flu watching rolling news meant that I didn't miss a minute of what unfolded. Anyway, it has in fact been twenty years, so we've been hearing about it a lot, and this new American play is getting its premiere at Omnibus Theatre. "When I leave here today I drive to the middle of the woods where my mother - a very bright, very logical woman - is hiding because she's angry and that is why she's... not making any sense. 20 years ago, 9/11 changed the world. Globally, it precipitated bloody wars and conflict that still endure today - events that have shaped our lives, and the world we live in". Click here.

Mummylogues | Old Red Lion Theatre | 7-18 Sep
As someone who has experienced being a mother, this collection of monologues and duologues about the darker side of motherhood definitely interests me, but it may also prove somewhat enlightening for those of you who haven't. Created by Nieve Hearity, the show promises to explore "the sides of motherhood people like to pretend don't exist, whether it's hating your new baby, preferring your dog to your kids or wondering if your six year old is a psychopath - we run the gamut through tears and laughter and bring you along for the ride!" See the venue website here for more information and to book.

39 And Counting | Park Theatre | 8-11 Sep (pictured)
'39 And Counting' features "twelve characters who loved women that were killed by men. They are the brothers, sisters, best friends, nieces, nephews and cousins of the deceased whose lives have been disrupted and torn apart by violence. Twelve characters navigating their way through the trauma. Wanting justice to be done, the grief to end and to reach a place of acceptance. To feel in control again". Written by Shireen Mula, this play aims to dispel myths around violence against women, and is to be performed by graduates of the Oxford School Of Drama One-Year Acting Course. Info here.


THREE MORE LONDON EVENTS>>

The People's Tribunal On Crimes Of Aggression: Afghanistan Sessions | Camden People's Theatre | 9-11 Sep
The reason this is in a section called 'events' rather than 'theatre' is because it's very unlike a traditional theatre show, in that it's a three day durational performance from British-Romanian theatre company BÉZNĂ, who will charge the British government with crimes of aggression during the 'war on terror' period, a people's tribunal through which the group intend to open a conversation with the British public about Britain's domestic and foreign policy. You can attend one session, a whole day or all three days to witness the truth-telling and sharing of supporting evidence. If you head to the website here, there's a full timetable setting out the order of proceedings, and more information.

Army Girl | The Playground | 7-11 Sep
The reason this is in a section called 'events' rather than 'theatre' is because it sounds like it's more a spoken word/musical experience, and a very interesting one at that. "'Army Girl' is best described as a stream of consciousness prose poem about Northern Ireland in 1974/5, two of its bloodiest years. The work of female soldiers in covert army units has seldom been told but I believe they were the pathfinders for the female combat soldiers of today. The songs are intended to say something beyond the troubles in Northern Ireland and something universal about the life of a soldier. So the themes include love in wartime, return from war, death and survival". Details right about here.

Deciphering | New Diorama | 9 Sep-2 Oct (pictured)
And finally, the reason this is in a section called 'events' rather than 'theatre' is a) because there was no room left in the theatre sections, and b) this has interesting elements that take it beyond the traditional, as it uses cutting-edge technology and immersive headphone audio. "c.37,500 years ago on Sulawesi, Indonesia, someone made a series of markings on the wall of a cave. In 35 years, Elise will try to decipher their secrets, before floods destroy them forever... Created with Indonesian collective Bombo, and with a real-life mother-daughter performance at its heart, this extraordinary new show uses recent scientific discoveries to shine new light on who we are, where we've come from and how we pass on our stories". Read more about the show here.
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