|MONDAY 1 NOVEMBER 2021||THISWEEKCULTURE.COM|
|REVEREND BILLY: EARTH RIOT 21
New York based Reverend Billy and Savitri D - leader and theatrical director, respectively, of activist performance community The Church Of Stop Shopping - are headed to the UK this month for probably obvious reasons: They will celebrate their twentieth anniversary of using songs and diversity at the forefront of resistance with a UK tour, the ending of which is timed to coincide with the final days of COP26 in Glasgow.
The 'Earth Riot 21' UK tour promises shows featuring a cloudburst of rhythm, melody and message, a unique blend of performance art, theatre and singing, courtesy of the Stop Shopping Choir. The London leg of the tour takes place on 6 Nov at Toynbee Studios.
I spoke to Reverend Billy to find out more about him and The Church Of Stop Shopping, and what to expect from their upcoming shows.
CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.
Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir's 'Earth Riot 21' tour calls at London's Toynbee Studios on 6 Nov, see this page here for info and to book. The show will also tour to Colchester, Norwich, Birmingham, Liverpool and, of course, Glasgow for the final two days of COP26: a full tour list with booking links is available here.
LISA SPIRLING: MILK AND GALL
Opening this week at Theatre503 is 'Milk And Gall', an intriguing new play which tackles some interesting themes spanning motherhood, politics, and the effects of political change on the psyche.
It's the debut work by NYC-based playwright Mathilde Dratwa, a finalist in the venue's international playwriting award, and it is directed by Theatre503's Artistic Director Lisa Spirling.
I arranged a quick chat with Lisa to find out more.
CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.
'Milk And Gall' is on at Theatre503 from 2-27 Nov. See the venue website here for more information and to book tickets.
OLLIE JONES: THE DROP
Back during the dark and difficult days of lockdown, it was brilliant to see theatre companies adapting their work in myriad different ways to reach online audiences. One such company, Swamp Motel, you may remember, launched a brilliant series of digital interactive online games, which we recommended, of course: 'Plymouth Point', 'The Mermaid's Tongue' and 'The Kindling Hour', all part of the 'Isklander' trilogy.
It was great to hear that, with lockdown over and in-person shows back, Swamp Motel have turned their attention towards creating a new live show, which is currently previewing.
To find out more about the new show, 'The Drop', I spoke to one of the co-creators behind it, Swamp Motel Creative Director Ollie Jones.
CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.
'The Drop' is currently previewing and opens on 13 Nov, running until 31 Dec, at 55 Aldgate High Street. For more information and to book tickets, see the show website here.
|Shows to see in person in London - and online anywhere - including performances from people and companies we first discovered at the Edinburgh Festival.|
THREE THEATRICAL SHOWS>>
Endurance | Battersea Arts Centre | 3-13 Nov (pictured)
The clocks have gone back, we've entered the era of dark mornings, and the lights of Christmas are still some way off... but no worries, we have lots of great theatre and comedy, and even a musical and an opera, to keep you busy through the upcoming week. Starting with 'Endurance' at Battersea Arts Centre, which is an intriguing piece focusing on the female propensity for great endurance, which "explores colonial legacies through the prism of the Bolivian/Aymaran warrior Bartolina Sisa and modern day women who are out-performing men at ultra marathon running". Details here.
The Girl Who Was Very Good At Lying | Omnibus Theatre | 2-21 Nov
And on to 'The Girl Who Was Very Good At Lying' at the Omnibus Theatre, which is an already very highly acclaimed piece that you are going to love: "People keep telling Catriona that she's not very well. She disagrees but appreciates their concern. Admittedly, she does have a history of making stuff up, but she's getting better. But when she meets An Attractive American Tourist, she decides to show him around her small Northern Irish town. And to keep him entertained, she might have to blur the line between fact and fiction, just a little..." Head to the venue website here for more information and to book tickets.
Belvedere | Old Red Lion Theatre | 2-13 Nov
"Something strange is afoot at the Belvedere psychiatric clinic. Anton, a famous writer, has checked himself into Belvedere to receive treatment for his hallucinations. But after a few weeks he seems to have become the subject of a medical study by young Dr Defoe. Now Anton is tired of being locked away alone and isolated with his own thoughts. As a mysterious visitor from Anton's past appears, the border between reality and imagination is blurred". I'm very intrigued by the sound of this rather interesting play by award winning playwright Ana-Maria Bamberger, which has previously won critical acclaim for productions in Paris, Madrid, Bucharest and Hamburg. Read more about it here.
THREE TO TAKE IN AT HOME>>
Wuthering Heights Live Broadcast | Bristol Old Vic | 4-6 Nov
Now something for those of you with good reasons to not go out and avail yourselves of live London-based entertainment - be it those of you shielding, in a different part of the country, or those of you who just think it looks cold and dark out there. This interesting adaptation of Emily Bronte's 'Wuthering Heights' has been playing at Bristol Old Vic since early October, and if you're near enough, you've still got time to book in for one of the last few performances. But luckily for all of us a bit of a trek from Bristol, we have a number of opportunities to see it via digital means. For more information about the show and to book yourself in to see it, see this page here.
Rice | Livestream Via Orange Tree Theatre | 4-5 Nov (pictured)
Another excellent show which has been on for a while, and which is offering a streaming option in the final days of its run, and which Londoners still have the chance to see in person if they so wish. Written by Michele Lee, starring Sarah Lam and Zainab Hasan, and directed by Matthew Xia, this play focuses on the relationship between two women, one a hot shot executive on the brink of a secret deal, the other a cleaner dealing with the challenges of being at the other end of the system. It's "brimming with wickedly humorous observations on globalisation, power, politics and family". So head to this link here to arrange your viewing.
Thinking On Sunday: Women In The Picture - Women, Art And The Power of Looking | Conway Hall /online | 7 Nov
This one you can also see in person, as well as online via Zoom, and it's a fascinating sounding talk. "A perfect pin-up, a damsel in distress, a saintly mother, a femme fatale... Women's identity has long been stifled by a limited set of archetypes, found everywhere in pictures from art history's classics to advertising, while women artists have been overlooked and held back from shaping more empowering roles. Art historian Catherine McCormack asks us to look again at what these images have told us to value, opening up our most loved images. She also shows us how women artists have offered us new ways of thinking about women's identity, sexuality, race and power". For more info and to book, see this page here.
THREE COMEDY SHOWS>>
Kae Kurd: Spoken Kurd | Leicester Square Theatre | 4-6 Nov
Right, as we cope with all those aforementioned dark mornings, and the dark evenings, and the grey days, and the windy weather, the cold breezes, and the miserable rain, what would do us all a bit of good? Yeah, some comedy, I reckon, to keep us smiling until all the fairy lights get switched on. Let us begin over at Leicester Square Theatre with a comedy act we first ran into up at the good old Edinburgh Festival Fringe (I mean, we didn't literally run into him, we just discovered his existence) in the olden days (by which I kind of mean pre-pandemic, which all feels so long ago now). Anyway, here is Kae Kurd, with a new show. Get your tickets here.
Found In Translation | Arcola Theatre | 8 Nov
A comedy night with fab aims, courtesy of Miniver Theatre and Arcola's Today I'm Wiser festival: "It's time for comedy to change for the better. Come and join us for an inclusive and accessible London comedy night for people with hearing loss. 'Found In Translation' is a stand-up comedy night featuring comedians who are d/Deaf, hard of hearing, or use BSL to communicate, with a focus on encouraging audiences from the d/Deaf and hard of hearing communities to attend the event. These talented performers come from different backgrounds and each have their own stories to share". More info here.
Paul Currie: Teet | Soho Theatre | 3-6 Nov (pictured)
"Come, immerse yourself into the steamy hot waters of Paul Currie as he fizzes all around you like a cleansing laugh'ender bath bomb. 'Teet' is a gargantuan absurdist comedy show, a marriage of utter truth and utter nonsense. So just come and leave all your preconceptions of stand-up comedy at the door. For fans of Andy Kaufman and 'The Muppet Show'". A bit of a TW favourite of longstanding, is Paul Currie, and one of our very small team of 2021 edfringe reviewers managed to squeeze in a viewing of this show when it was on in the Scottish capital in August, and was very much engaged by the "relentless, fun foolishness" on offer... Book tickets here.
THREE MORE FUNNY SHOWS>>
Not Lady Chatterley's Lover | Greenwich Theatre | 1 Nov (pictured)
Yeah, I'm just too beset by the onset of winter to stop at just one section of funny show tips this week. So here are some more! A jolly take on DH Lawrence's scandalous classic, which sounds like it generally follows the plot of the original but clearly deviates in significant ways, given that its producers make this promise in the blurb: "This laughter-filled parody of the classic DH Lawrence novel will bring you high drama, high comedy and highly-raised eyebrows". Well, I am a big fan of highly raised eyebrows, so I'm there, frankly. See the venue website here for more.
Choose Your Own... Improv! | Canal Cafe Theatre | 6 Nov
"What do you want to see? A marriage or a funeral? An abandoned spaceship or a creepy dungeon? A murder or a resurrection? In 'Choose Your Own... Improv!' YOU decide. Join Sedos' Banana Hut Gang as they create a brave new improvised world where you get to call the shots. Keep the story on track, derail it completely, or start again... the choice is yours!" Yay, improv, and you know how we live for improv. Well, we like it a lot. Anyway, on with the praise for this fab troupe who you may well have seen in action at the last pre-pandemic edfringe. Head this way for info.
Vanya And Sonia And Masha And Spike | Charing Cross Theatre | 5 Nov-8 Jan
Another helping of comical theatre for you now, a show that had its original March 2020 run cancelled, and a production of a very popular play that won a Tony Award back in 2013. "Vanya and his sister Sonia live a quiet life in the Pennsylvania farmhouse where they grew up. But their sister Masha escaped many years ago and became a famous movie star. When Masha returns unannounced with her twenty-something boy toy, Spike, so begins a rollicking weekend of rivalry, regret and all-too true premonitions". See the venue website here for more.
THREE THEATRICAL SHORT RUNS>>
Hound Of The Baskervilles | Richmond Theatre | 2-6 Nov (pictured)
More theatre for you now, and they are all only on for a few days, so make sure you don't miss them! First up is 'Hound Of The Baskervilles' from Original Theatre Company and Octagon Theatre, calling at the Richmond Theatre for a short stint as part of its UK tour. Those close to Richmond can see it this week, but people closer to Ipswich, Salisbury, Nottingham, Bath, Salford, Coventry, Perth and Aberdeen are also in luck. It's Steven Canny and John Nicholson's farcical and exhilarating take on the Sherlock Holmes story, and it's definitely worth your time. See this page here for the Richmond dates, and this page here for all the other tour dates and booking links.
Douglass/Medea/Duende | Wilton's Music Hall | 2-6 Nov
The Faction return to Wilton's Music Hall with a triple bill of plays. There's Emily Juniper's take on Euripides' 'Medea', "a blistering dialogue between Medea and her wedding dress that emerges as an emancipatory call and an expression of resistance as she contemplates the ultimate crime". Next is 'Duende', Amelia Donkor and Rachel Valentine Smith's "transformation" of Lorca's lecture about art and the artist. And finally there's 'Douglass' by Bonnie Greer, a play exploring the forces that faced the iconic abolitionist Frederick Douglass and their relevance in contemporary times. Fantastic. Click here.
F*ckingLifeMate | Bread & Roses Theatre | 2-6 Nov
"How does the area in which we grow up affect us? If what you see is what you know, does that mark your card from the start? The play follows Kirsty, a girl growing up on an estate in Thamesmead in South East London, trapped in the welfare system. Crime rate is high, teenage pregnancy is common and being gay is still not okay. Kirsty and her friends manoeuvre their way through this way of life, whilst dealing with their troublesome families and home-lives". A dark comedy that won critical acclaim when it had its premiere at Bread & Roses Theatre in 2018. Read more about it here.
THREE MORE FAB SHOWS>>
Punchy! The Musical | The Courtyard Theatre | 2-21 Nov
Three last shows, of varying genres. Firstly, a musical, though it might better be described as gig-theatre...? In any case, fans of musical theatre should find plenty to love, with its mixture of soul, indie rock and pop songs. And what is it all about? "'Punchy! The Musical' is the story of the wayward and conflicted George 'Punchy' Armstrong as he attempts to overcome the crimes of his young adulthood in post-war London. His path to transformation is witnessed by the alarming appearance of his Ego and Soul and their struggle to influence his decisions..." Read more about the show and book your tickets, here.
Accidental Birth Of An Anarchist | The Space | 3-12 Nov
"Two novice activists get jobs on a North Sea oil rig with the sole intention of staging a sit in protest. Trapped in a room full of drilling instruments and forced to negotiate, the lines of protest, activism and terrorism are debated, as the threat of military action looms closer. As the world is torn between wildfires and flooding, this play couldn't be any more timely". This is part of Good Cop Bad Cop 26: A Climate Festival, obviously timed to coincide with the climate change conference now taking place in Scotland, and there's an opportunity to see it digitally for those of you who can't get to the venue. See details here.
Le Nozze Di Figaro | Jacksons Lane | 5-14 Nov (pictured)
"Count Almaviva's estate in the English countryside clings to its former glory, in denial that the First World War is on its doorstep. Figaro and Susanna try to live and love by their present values, though their livelihood depends on those of the past..." I thought we'd finish with some opera for the opera lovers, courtesy of HGO, who stage affordable opera productions featuring early career singers in North London venues, on this occasion Jacksons Lane. Mozart's 'Le Nozze De Figaro' is a classic, of course, and the company promise a "boisterous retelling" of it. Read more about it here.