MONDAY 27 SEPTEMBER 2021 THISWEEKCULTURE.COM
HANNAH KUMARI: ENG-ER-LAND
As you all surely know, because we keep telling you about it, Camden People's Theatre's Sprint Festival 2021 is ongoing, and there are still lots of shows to take in this coming week.

One that leapt out at us in particular was 'ENG-ER-LAND', a show written and performed by Hannah Kumari, which was first performed earlier this year.

To find out more about the play, and about Hannah, I arranged a quick chat.

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

'ENG-ER-LAND' is on as part of Sprint 2021 at Camden People’s Theatre. See the venue website here for more information and to book tickets.



ANNETTE BROOK: HOW WE LOVE & YOUNG, GIFTED AND BLACK
Beginning this week at Theatre Peckham is the venue’s third annual Young, Gifted & Black season, which takes place for just over a month and features work focusing on the black experience in the UK.

Annette Brook is the playwright behind ‘how we love’, which is getting a staging in late October as part of the strand.

I spoke to her to find out more about the play – and also what else we can expect from this year’s Young, Gifted & Black.

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

Theatre Peckhams' Young, Gifted & Black runs from 30 Sep–6 Nov, and 'how we love' takes place from 28-30 Oct. See this page here for the full line up and links to individual events.
Shows to see in person in London - and online anywhere - including performances from people and companies we first discovered at the Edinburgh Festival.


THREE MUSICAL SHOWS>>

Arise: Legacy and Hope Concert | Greenwich Theatre | 1-2 Oct
I bet you all know who Pegasus Opera are, not least because we featured a Q&A about a recent show of theirs, and will no doubt be aware of the fact that they do brilliant operatic stuff but also champion diversity, offering opportunities to artists of African and Asian heritage based in the UK. And Pegasus is the company behind this upcoming concert to be staged at Greenwich Theatre, which promises to celebrate Black History Month with an enchanting musical voyage: "Enjoy the rich sounds of opera and song as we journey through some operatic greats and explore music inspired by the black diaspora". More here.

The Concrete Jungle Book | Pleasance Theatre | 29 Sep-2 Oct (pictured)
This is musical theatre, and a show you may well have heard of already, from it's critically acclaimed premiere back in 2017. "An explosive and energetic hip hop musical which catapults Rudyard Kipling's classic story into inner-city Britain with live rap music, grime, reggae, spoken word and big personality. As the jungle's trees become tower blocks, Mo(wgli) navigates her way through relationships, unstable housing conditions and hostile creatures, trying to find the parental figures she has always longed for". For more information and to book your tickets, head to this page here.

Liminal | King's Head Theatre | 29 Sep-23 Oct
And speaking of opera things (well, we were the tip before last) here's another interesting and operatic show for you. It's been developed and directed by a long term TW favourite Le Gateau Chocolat and it's a specially curated operatic song cycle offering a meditation on the question of where we go and who we become when we "lose our anchor". It's performed in rotation by Robert Barbaro, Grace Nyandoro, Honey Rouhani and Dan D'Souza, and promises to "the bittersweet richness of the dark, with the creamy decadence of the light". Very intriguing. See the venue website here for more information and to book tickets.


THREE THINGS TO TAKE IN ONLINE>>

First Bite | online via China Plate Theatre | 28 Sep-1 Oct (pictured)
This one's actually just not one thing to take in online but many, because it's China Plate's festival of work in progress pieces from Midlands artists, taking place via the internet over the course of four days. Each lunchtime event lasts 30-40 minutes and offers a taster of a few different works in progress, and a chance to hear from the artists behind them and offer feedback in developing the work. There's a range of genres on display - theatre, physical theatre, dance, musical, spoken word and more - and the events are free, though you do have to register for each one. The line up of work for each day, and more info about how the company's Take A Bite initiative supports early career practitioners, is available here.

Yoghurt Is Not Sexy | online via Arcola | 27 Sep
"Food. Sex. Innocence. Consumption. Mother Earth. Yoghurt". This is a digital exhibition, set to premiere via Arcola's YouTube page at midday on 27 Sep, and is described as "an expressionistic and theatrical short film that explores three archetypes of woman in a warped world which uncomfortably resembles our own", which "challenges the heteronormative male gaze and the assumptions of normality in the Western world, destabilising the logic of those norms, looking closely at lifestyles fed by consumption". I think it sounds cool. Read more about it here.

When Rachel Met Fiona/Heaven | The Space | 28 Sep-2 Oct
The reason I am talking about two shows from The Space - 'When Rachel Met Fiona' and 'Heaven' - is because the two are connected. The former is a comedy-drama about the love story between two women, set ten years into their relationship, and the latter is a work in development that picks up on the couple's story a year on from where the other play ends. They are both being staged at the venue, though 'Heaven' is a rehearsed reading for one performance only, and they are also both being streamed, of course, which is why they are in this section. See this page here for 'When Rachel Met Fiona' and this page here for 'Heaven'.


THREE FESTIVAL SHOWS>>

Let Me Count The Ways | Camden People's Theatre | 28 Sep
As you will know, because we have been talking about it of late, there are a number of nice festivals going on in London town right now, so let's tip an event each for three of them. We are starting over at the much tipped Sprint Festival at Camden People's Theatre with this interesting spoken word piece about intimacy, boundaries and healing, written and performed by Maz Hedgehog and directed by Faye Draper. "It looks at how love - of others and of self - can help us face the difficult, complicated mess of life. Featuring sapphic witches getting day drunk in summer and queer femmes swapping highlighters, this show moves between rage and joy, sorrow and peace to ask: How do I love me? Let me count the ways". Info here.

Chloe Petts - Transience | Bread & Roses Theatre | 4 Oct
Over to Clapham Fringe now, and a work in progress from comedy type Chloe Petts, who you may have seen on Dave's 'Hypothetical' or 'Jonathan Ross' Comedy Club', and who promises to bring you an hour's worth of nice new jokes taking in a wide range of topics from darts to loud snoring on public transport. I get the impression that this show is an updated version of a previous show that got put on the back burner by the lockdown, so I expect it will be fairly polished. "Chloe takes a look at her inability to enjoy anything because of an impending sense of doom that it will one day end (but funny)". See the festival website here.

Here's What She Said To Me | Arcola Theatre | 29 Sep-2 Oct (pictured)
"Meet Agbeke, Omotola and Aramide. Three generations of proud African women connecting with each other across two continents, across time and space. Together they share their struggles, their joys, tragedies and broken dreams in order to find healing in the present". A fab show that combines drama with music, poetry and movement, on as part of Arcola's festival of outdoor art and performance, Today I'm Wiser. The same group, Utopia Theatre, are also staging Zakes Mda's 'And The Girls In Their Sunday Dresses' this week, so you might want to take them both in. See the show listing here, and browse all events on as part of the festival here.


THREE RUNS STARTING THIS WEEK>>

Snowflakes | Old Red Lion Theatre | 28 Sep-16 Oct (pictured)
Right, onto some shows with longer runs, beginning this week. And this one sounds pretty fascinating: "Marcus and Sarah work for a very special type of start up. They don't have a co-working space. They don't sell locally-sourced, gluten-free coconut water. What they do is feed a need, your needs. They give us the tools to help dispense with this old, dying, world. This is their world, don't deny your place in it... Like, comment, subscribe! Marcus is the poster boy for the company, hand-picked by management for his commitment to the cause. Sarah has moved up from Brand Recognition. Media personality Tony is their newest project - he just doesn't know it yet. Today, Justice isn't blind, it's streamed to millions". Read all about it here.

Athena | The Yard Theatre | 4-23 Oct
"In a New York City fencing club two warriors are ready to battle. Athena and Mary Wallace are training for the Junior Olympics. They practice together. They compete against each other. They spend their lives together. They wish they were friends". An intriguing coming of age comedy by award winning US playwright Gracie Gardner, directed by Grace Gummer, and starring Millicent Wong, Grace Salf and Amala Naima Aguinaga. It's a tried and tested piece, having had an acclaimed, and extended, run in New York. See this page here for details.

We Like To Move It Move It | various London venues | 28 Sep-16 Oct
Unlike the last two, this is not really theatre, rather a "brand new all-immigrant variety show" from a clown collective that, as you might have anticipated, deals with the often difficult topic of immigration. Expect lots of characters, satire and even moral philosophy on the subject in hand, brought to you by ice&fire, a theatre company known for using performance to explore human rights issues. The show is doing a tour of many London spots, including Bethnal Green, Catford, Harlesden, Norwood, Wembley and Shoreditch. See the company website here for a full list of venues and booking links.


THREE SHORT RUNS>>

To Varnam With Love | The Place | 30 Sep
And now for a few shows that aren't around for very long, so make sure you get a move on and sort out your tickets, especially for this one that only has one date. This one's for dance lovers and it sounds amazing. "An engaging story of love, devotion and commitment - to a god, to a myth, to a way of moving and being. A story of timely relevance - about being separated from those we love. Using humour, dolls, singing, music and beautiful dance from both South Asian and western traditions, you will explore Divya's personal experience of delving into her artistic lineage, nostalgia and traditions". Read more and book your tickets here.

Ophelia Thinks Harder | Bridewell Theatre | 28 sep-2 Oct (pictured)
"The Prince is a hazard and the new King's a puppet. Who the hell is running Denmark? Ophelia tries to please. Ophelia fails. Ophelia thinks harder. With guerilla feminists invading the castle, failed spells from a frustrated maid, endless direction from a wily Queen and various ignored ghosts, this is not the 'Hamlet' you know". This sounds rather interesting, a "riotous reworking" that promises "a heightened, confused and darkly-funny world, where Shakespeare meets feminism. And this time Ophelia gets all the best lines". Amen to that. See this page here for all the info.

Unknown | Greenwich Theatre | 28-30 Sep
A harrowing play, written by Dougie Blaxland, assisted by six people with experience of homelessness: Sammy Clark, Nathan Dempster, Ian Duff, Paul Jones, Lloyd Rusdale and Anthony Williams. "In just two years from 2017 to 2019, more than 800 people died living and sleeping rough on the streets of the UK - a significant number of them have never been identified or named. 'Unknown' is a verbatim play dramatising the tragic but true story of one young person's journey from an abusive childhood to a life on the streets of Bath - one of the most affluent cities in the UK". More here.
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