MONDAY 11 OCTOBER 2021 THISWEEKCULTURE.COM
CATHERINE CRANFIELD: FLUSHED
Back in 2018, up at the old edfringe, one of our reviewers went to see a show called 'Flushed' by Theatre Unlocked, and loved it, for its humour, poignancy and important themes. It's a play about family, motherhood and gynaecological complications, set entirely in ladies' bathrooms...

I was delighted when I saw that it would be opening at Park Theatre this month for its pandemic-delayed run there.

To find out more about the show, and its creator, I spoke to writer and director Catherine Cranfield.

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

'Flushed' is on at Park Theatre from 12 Oct-6 Nov, see the venue website here for more information and to book tickets.



HELENA BELL AND SATINDER CHOHAN: HOME
Coming up at Tara Theatre is Kali Theatre's 'HOME', a weeks-worth of readings of cutting edge, nearly-ready plays from women writers of South Asian descent. It feels like a fabulous opportunity to see and hear new work at its earliest stages.

I've been following the work of Kali Theatre for years and am always really interested to hear about what they are doing.

To find out more about 'HOME', I spoke to Kali Theatre AD Helena Bell, and to Satinder Chohan, whose play 'Empire Of The Mind' is one of the shows being staged as part of it.

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

'HOME' takes place at Tara Theatre from 12-16 Oct. For more information, and to book, see this page here.



SHAHID IQBAL KHAN: TEN NIGHTS
When I first read about '10 Nights', which opens at The Bush Theatre shortly, I was really keen to find out more about the play, not least because at its focus is an islamic practice - itikaf - that I had never heard of before.

Though, while the play does focus on a character taking part in this rite, it is - of course - about more than just that: audiences will witness one man's funny and moving journey of self discovery over the course of ten days.

To get a bit more background on the production, I spoke to writer Shahid Iqbal Khan.

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

Shahid Iqbal Khan's '10 Nights' is on at The Bush Theatre from 14 Oct until 6 November. Visit the venue website here for more info and to book tickets.



JAMES HILLIER: FOXES
I've been looking forward to 'Foxes' ever since I heard about it - an exploration of masculinity and homosexuality within London's Caribbean community and black street culture focusing on Daniel, a young black man "trying to keep up with his life, which is moving fast".

The play is the debut work from writer Dexter Flanders, and was shortlisted for the Alfred Fagon Award, so it's safe to say that it's a highly promising piece.

To find out more about the play, and the team behind the production, I had a quick chat with director James Hillier.

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

'Foxes' is on at Theatre503 until 23 Oct. See the venue website here for more information and to book.
Shows to see in person in London - and online anywhere - including performances from people and companies we first discovered at the Edinburgh Festival.


THREE EVENTS FROM BLOOMSBURY FESTIVAL>>

Lights, Banners, Tigers | various locations | 15 Oct (pictured)
The Bloomsbury Festival begins this week - continuing on until 24 Oct - and there is plenty to get your teeth into, so let's do that. As someone whose mood is always affected by grey skies and dark days, I get surprisingly gleeful about some elements of life once the nights are drawing in. And this is because I am always on the lookout for light displays and suchlike. Anyway, no surprise that I would be attracted to this, which is one of two opening events for the festival and involves "fiery spectacle, neon sculptures, light projections and more", and celebrates the local, diverse community. And one of the elements I am really interested in - neon artworks by Chila Kumari Singh Burman - will be exhibited for the rest of the festival, lit up every night from 6.30-8.30pm. Read more here.

Alice In Flatland | RADA Studios | 17 Oct
Something theatrical now, and a performance from international theatre collective Bunkum Ensemble, which is in part inspired by 'Alice In Wonderland' and 'The Little Prince', and is a devised piece that draws on the group's multicultural identity. "In an era of the so called 'Great Spreading Out', where everything has fallen apart and keeps spreading, an ever growing distance has been established between people and things. Only water is left in the mid-ground, an ocean of tears, where Alice, a young girl, is floating alone on her mattress, searching for her sister". More here.

A Modern View Of Ancient Ireland | The Art Workers' Guild | 17 Oct
"Journey through the history, culture and music of Ireland from early folk music juxtaposed with new works using modern technology. Music will include beautiful traditional folk melodies from across Ireland arranged for saxophone and harp. Alongside the traditional, three new works by John Buckley, Christopher Moriarty and Ian Wilson will feature". I love the sound of this, not least because I have always been a saxophone fan, but also because I love folk. And harp. And early music. Anyway, if you're as intrigued as I am, head this way. Also, I obviously wasn't able to select all the things that are happening as part of the Bloomsbury Festival, so you should take a look at all the listings - there are guided walks, and plays, and music, and exhibitions, and online things, and stuff for kids, so don't miss out - browse it all here.


THREE EVENTS FROM OTHER FESTIVALS>>

The Woman Who Turned Into A Tree | New Nordics Festival at Jacksons Lane | 13 Oct Your
I kinda wish I could do a dedicated section for each of the other festivals going on in and around London lately, but there's just so much of it going on this week that I don't think I can. I've picked just one show from the New Nordics Festival for you, but be assured, the rest of the line up is brilliant. 'The Woman Who Turned Into A Tree' is a Swedish one woman play about "the destructive obsession with other people's opinions and materialism, loneliness and class", and it's one of six plays (the others being from Iceland, Faroe, Norway, Finland and Denmark) making up the theatre element. There are also panel discussions - see those here - and there are deals available when you see more than one of the plays, click here for info on those.

Worst Nightmare: Playwriting Competition Final | Pleasance Theatre | 18 Oct
The London Horror Festival 2021 opens with this event on 18 Oct, and there's lots and lots of great events to follow, so I predict that we'll be tipping at least a few things from this festival next week too. This is the only event that falls into the next week with the way we carve things up, but it's a fab one for new work enthusiasts, especially those with a special interest in the horror niche. For, lo, yes, it is a presentation of rehearsed readings of finalist plays from the festival's playwriting competition. It's hosted by horror comedian Fred Strangebone, and a panel of industry professionals will decide and announce on the night which play has won. Click here for more.

On Edge | Circulate Festival, Ilford | 16 Oct (pictured)
'On Edge' - to be staged this week as part of the Circulate Festival in Ilford - tells the story of how modern slavery exists under our noses, within our communities, using highly physical parkour and compelling theatre to reveal the plight of the vulnerable and exploited, and tell a gripping story set in the construction industry. It's performed by a team of international collaborators, parkour athletes and performers from physical theatre/dance company Justice In Motion and it sounds amazing. "Walk past any construction site and you'll see a number of men ricochet around the scaffolding as the building slowly emerges from the cement, brick and mud. Take a closer look and what will you see? Their routine may appear to give a sense of purpose and security - yet behind the perimeter fencing, all is not as it first appears". Details here.


THREE MORE FESTIVAL EVENTS>>

Collywobblers Comedy at The Railway Streatham | Streatham Festival | 17 Oct
What? More festival events? Absolutely, three more of them in fact. Starting with a fabulous line up of comedy happening as part of the Streatham Festival from the always reliable Collywobblers: expect fabulous stuff from Nathan Caton, Rory O'Hanlon, Miss Mo'Real, Wendy Wason and Pearse Egan, and head this way for more info. In addition to this, there are loads of Streatham Festival events to come this week, lots of them being rather cool workshops, but also literary events and stuff for kids. You can see a full list of what's coming up right here.

Queer Cabaret | The Albany | 17 Oct
This is a show from the line up of the Festival Of Radical Care at The Albany, which we mentioned in the context of another show last week. The programme is drawing to an end and this is the final hoorah, following this week's other events: a final LGBTQ+ workshop led by festival creator Angela Clerkin; 'Homecoming: 'A 21st Century Tea Dance'; and a live/online discussion 'How can we continue to work together towards anti racist care in our theatre sector?' 'Queer Cabaret' itself involves a great line up, which includes Cocoa Butter Club member Mr Wesley Dykes; writer / comedian / actor Amelia Stubberfield; performer, producer and artist Rhys'Pieces; and Sigi Moonlight, whose performances play around with ideas of toxic masculinity. Read more here.

Exposure | Applecart Arts / Royal Docks Learning & Activity Centre | 14-23+27-30 Oct (pictured, photo by Richard Pelham)
This is an event that's happening at two - yes, two - separate festivals in the London area this coming month. It's a really interesting project: 47 health workers from the London borough of Newham share their experiences of the pandemic via an evening of film, performance and music, telling stories of the first wave from one of the areas in Europe most affected by COVID-19. Writer performer and creator James Leadbitter filmed interviews with the medical professionals during the autumn of 2020, and they've been woven into a production that will also feature design by theatre designer Sascha Gilmour, local choir New YVC, and sound design by interdisciplinary artist Rhiannon Armstrong. It's on at Applecart Arts as part of the Newham Unlocked Festival from 14-23 Oct, and as part of the Royal Docks Originals Festival from 27-30 Oct. See this page here for more information and booking links.


THREE ONLINE EVENTS>>

Phantom Pain | C Arts | On demand
I was recently alerted to the fact that C Arts - who we know rather well because of all their C venues at the Edinburgh Festival - are, following a highly successful first online season this summer, going to continue hosting on-demand content for consumption all year round. That being the case, I thought I'd pick something from their offerings for this week, for those of you looking for interesting cultural content to absorb at home, and it's 'Phantom Pain', which features "stories of five fictional women, fundamentally different and unconnected, but sharing the same core: the pain of living on when something essential is taken away. Human trafficking, family separation, suicide, depression, and rape are some of the themes explored in this original piece. Based on true events, accounts and testimonies, told through poetry, dance, and monologues". Click here.

The Accidental Show | via Zoom (pictured)
Something online for the kids now, who, as I always say, may well be grateful for indoors entertainment as the seasons change. You may already be well aware of 'The Accidental Show', which started during the January lockdown with the aim of giving children a break from online schooling. Long term TW and Fringe fans will know host James Campbell - from his comedy shows for children and his children's books - and he will be joined by a rotating team of child presenters and regular guest Kirsten O'Brien. It's suitable for ages four to eleven, and it's on every Saturday morning from now until 4 Dec. See this page here for more info.

NextUp Comedy Live from The Comedy Store | 12 Oct
I expect many of you signed up for the NextUp digital comedy platform during lockdown, if you didn't before, because there are so many great comedy performances available to watch there on demand. If you did - but have been ignoring your subscription a bit of late because you've been out there watching all the shows that you can live in actual venues - then I thought I'd give you a heads up about the line up for the upcoming live stream that you can watch, because you're a member. Those of you who aren't, maybe it's time to sign up and see this event, as we head inexorably towards dark winter nights, so you have lots of comedy options to fill them. Sorry, what? Oh, the line up: Nick Helm, Thanyia Moore, Maisie Adam and Michael Odewale. Click here to book tickets to the actual live show - or here to getting your NextUp membership sorted.


THREE THEATRE SHOWS>>

Sold | The Park Theatre | 18 Oct-6 Nov (pictured)
"When one woman tells of her extraordinary journey to overcome the brutality of slavery, she becomes a beacon for the British anti-slavery movement. Born into slavery in the British colony of Bermuda, Mary Prince went on to become an autobiographer and champion of freedom. Mary's words of the harsh realities of enslavement and how it felt to be separated from family, loved ones and to be owned, bought and sold, gave voice to those that are often silent, silenced, ignored or spoken for. Her book had an electrifying effect on the abolitionist movement helping to free many Africans in bondage". This fascinating piece is on as part of the Say It, Women double bill with 'Flushed', a show we're featuring a Q&A about this week. So you can see both plays for £20 (they're priced at £12.50 individually). I definitely think you should see both of them. Click here.

Yellowfin | Southwark Playhouse | 13 Oct-6 Nov
Over to Southwark Playhouse now for 'Yellowfin', a new play by Marek Horn, whose edfringe hit 'Wild Swimming' may be familiar to our readers. It's described as bitingly funny and promises to explore the limits of science, the power of myths, and the things we can't control... so I am sold. "There were fish. And then there weren't fish. Simple as that. Nobody knows where the fish went, and nobody knows why the fish went - but ever since they did, things just haven't been the same. In a committee room on Capitol Hill, three senators have a job to do: they must question a man on charges of trading rare marine commodities, and they must find out what he knows". For more info and to book see this page here.

Sophie | The Hope Theatre | 12-14 Oct
"Thanks for joining us tonight for Sophie's birthday. I can't believe my big sister is 30! Where have all the years gone? Sophie's my older sister and she has Down syndrome, but that never stopped us dancing to 90s girl hits, snogging boys and causing mischief when we were growing up in Hull. Come and join us on our autobiographical one-woman show, where I travel through the years, navigating my way through womanhood and sisterhood, with a sibling who has additional complex needs". A piece that was commissioned in 2019, which has had a couple of cancelled tours - you all know why - so it's great to see it make it to the stage in London. Read more about it here.


THREE MORE THEATRICAL EVENTS>>

Vessel | Poplar Union | 16 Oct (pictured)
It feels like it was a fairly long time ago now, but Arch 468's pro-abortion play 'Vessel' did rather well at the 2018 Edinburgh Fringe - our own reviewer thought it was brilliant - and I find myself wondering if, had not a certain pandemic got in the way, it might have been out on tour long before now. It's a highly charged and political play, set in Ireland in 2018 when abortion was still illegal, and sees its protagonist impregnating herself on purpose in order to stage a public protest. The show begins its tour in Beverley this week, continues on to Gillingham, then heads to London for a date at Poplar Union on 16 Oct, see this link here to book your tickets. After its London date, it's also calling in at Sheffield, Coventry and Bedford, before screening digitally via Applecart Arts from 25 Oct-14 Nov. See this page here for all the tour details and booking links.

Emma | Turbine Theatre | 18-20 Oct
"Emma is known to love control in Highbury but what would happen if she was in control of a whole show? When she can mute Miss Bates, cut scenes short and rewind action - how will she ever learn to let fate take its course? With an eccentric cast of characters, women dressed as men and a splash of Britney Spears, what could possibly go wrong in this pink tinted world? Shown in a one act celebration, this is the beloved Jane Austen classic like you've never seen it before". This sounds fun doesn't it? I always like watching people mess around with classics a bit and it looks like Menstrual Rage Productions are taking a rather interesting approach. Info here.

Nne And The Obanje Child | The Space | 12-15 Oct
Over to The Space for another live in person show that you can also see via a livestream, which is great news, not least because it sounds like a great show, a story told by an ensemble of four performers which focuses on themes of Igbo culture. "Nne laments for her lost spirit child she has given birth to eight times and lost eight times after a few months each time. A spirit child is called Obanje and the same spirit returns to the same womb each time. In desperation Nne makes a deal with river geni Osimiri, to grant her another child, arguing that life has no meaning without children. Osimiri grants her wish and states as long as Nne never raises a hand to her child all will be well". Click here for more.


THREE MORE LONDON-BASED EVENTS>>

Set And Reset/Reset + Last Shelter | Sadler's Wells | 15-16 Oct (pictured)
Hurrah, dance lovers, I have something very nice here for you: the fabulous Candoco Dance Company are headed for Sadler's Wells this week with a fab double bill. First up is 'Set And Reset/Reset', a recreation of Trisha Brown Dance Company's seminal 'Set And Reset' in which the company of disabled and non-disabled dancers move with dream-like fluidity, set to a Laurie Anderson score. Next is Jeanine Durning's 'Last Shelter', which "unfolds uniquely at each performance. Teetering at the edge of what could be in an ever-shifting environment, this choreography highlights the velocity and precision of each dancer's decision-making from moment to moment, somewhere between agency and collective will". Book tickets here.

YGB - Obsidian Film Night | Theatre Peckham | 16 Oct
You'll remember that the Young Gifted And Black strand over at Theatre Peckham is ongoing - not least because we covered it in our recent Q&A with playwright Annette Brook. Well, this week we have have a film-focused event to look forward to. Actor Simon Manyonda and artist Monaé Robinson come together to host a theatrical double bill of Blaxploitation film - 'Coffy' (directed by Jack Hill, from 1973) and 'Blacula' (directed by William Crain, from 1972) - in an event that will also include a panel discussion about African American representation in Hollywood and how it has affected audiences in Britain. "This is more than just a screening, but an analysis of how Hollywood has shaped the roles black people play in cinema and how this transmits into the social sphere". Info here.

Luck Be A Lady | Upstairs at The Gatehouse | 15-17 Oct
"Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra dominated the stage and screen in the mid 20th century. But beside and behind these golden gentlemen were a plethora of powerful women who enabled their success. From irreplaceable dance partners to influential lovers, Fred, Gene and Frank did not do it alone. OFFIE-nominee Beth Burrows celebrates the men's careers by performing the songs that made them shine and sharing the inside scoop on the stories that swirled around them, whilst bringing the women out of the shadows and into the spotlight". One for you music lovers, this, and it's one we have a lot of faith in because this isn't the first time we have tipped it. Expect good things, and head this way to book tickets.
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