MONDAY 15 NOVEMBER 2021 THISWEEKCULTURE.COM
URJA DESAI THAKORE: KATTAM KATTI
I love the sound of 'Kattam Katti' - a groundbreaking modern dance theatre show rooted in the Indian Kathak dance tradition that's headed to Sadler's Wells this week - not least because it's set at Uttarayan, the world-famous kite festival that takes place in Gujarat, North India.

The title, translated, means 'Cutting Through'. In it, kite flying becomes a metaphor for the inequalities of privilege in societies, and in the corporate world, as tales of competition, danger, excitement and unity are brought to life in what promises to be a joyous, colourful and ultimately uplifting show.

The show is presented by the Pagrav Dance Company, and created by artistic director Urja Desai Thakore. I spoke to her to find out more.

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

'Kattam Katti' is on at Sadler's Wells from 18-19 Nov. See the venue website here for more information and to book.

The show is set to tour further in 2022 - keep an eye on the company website here for dates.



SIMON PARIS: NOT OUR PLAY
I was immediately interested when I heard about 'Not Our Play', which is on at The Rosemary Branch Theatre this week.

It's a rather interesting notion, which sees the company - Say It Again, Sorry? - opening up the creation of a script to the general public.

The company will perform two plays - each written by anyone and everyone that would like to contribute - without really knowing much about what they are about to stage.

To find out more about the project, and about the group behind it, I spoke to company member Simon Paris.

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

'Not Our Play' is on at The Rosemary Branch Theatre on 21 and 26 Nov. See the venue website 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 FROM VOILA EUROPE>>

Awakening | Voila Europe at The Cockpit | 16-17 Nov
As we mentioned last week, Voila Europe is back for another year, and if you've not heard about it before, you haven't been reading your TW Weekly carefully enough, so I'm not going to fill you in. Oh, go on then. It's a fab festival of theatrical work from creatives based all over Europe. Hungarian circus/mime show 'Awakening' is my first pick: "With an aerial rope and several fairies, two characters search for their essential selves in a never-ending process of growing up. In their world, magic doesn't require anything but a pillow, and if it's too dark, you light up the sky with the stars that you draw with your own fingers". More here.

Unforgettable Girl | Voila Europe at The Cockpit | 20-21 Nov
"She looked like a girl, but she was actually a door. And when they opened her up, they found stairs stairs stairs all the way down...Money can't buy love, but with GBP 19.99/month, you can have Vaccine - a mail order bride delivered straight from [our made up stereotype composites of 'the East'] to cure you of the deadlier pandemic that has plagued us for longer: loneliness". A dark comedy exploring how the world turns some women into "homo-sacer" - "accursed" humans - who are irredeemable by justice, freedom and love, performed in English with Thai and French. Read more about it here.

RadioLove | online via Voila Europe | 18 Nov, then on demand until 1 Dec (pictured)
Quite a few shows from the Voila Europe line up are online, which is great for those of you too far away from The Cockpit, where the live in person events are happening, or those of you who are still shielding etc. There's a watch party on 18 Nov for this one, then you can watch it on demand after that. It's by Studio Total from Finland, and it's in German with English subtitles. And it sounds rather interesting: "RadioLove is awake while you are asleep. It plays what you dream of. It is where radio host Janis collects the stories of lonely people. On stage, dreams become images, reality meets radio ether, and callers become part of Janis's life". Read about that show here - and see the full Voila Europe line up here.


THREE SHORT THEATRICAL RUNS>>

Empty In Angel | Old Red Lion Theatre | 17-20 Nov (pictured)
Right, more theatrical stuff for you now, and these are all short runs that will be over within the week, so make sure you don't miss them. This one is 'Empty In Angel', an acclaimed play based on real life events, dealing with an important issue: "A bicycle courier, her community, and their amazing fight for rights in the gig economy. Their simple demands for fairness, dignity and security - ending in a historic legal battle. Join in the struggles, laughs and the protest - help us fight for the right to be human!" It previously had a sell out run at the White Bear Theatre, so if you didn't manage to get tickets for those performances, now's your chance. Click here.

Keep It Down | Bread & Roses Theatre | 19-20 Nov
'
Keep It Down' is a darkly humorous one woman show by Emma Louise Oldfield, which tells the story of Daisy, who is both bulimic and a successful socialite, and sets out on a series of 'positive' activities, sketchy one night stands and therapy sessions in a quest to replace negative coping mechanisms with something meaningful. "Immersed in a fatphobic society that's obsessed with food and tarnished with diet culture, Daisy is yet to discover anything which fills the void the way food can". Important themes. Book here. And while you are on the Bread & Roses website, maybe also check out the listing for 'In Bad Taste' from Sixteen Sixty Theatre, a raging feminist horror comedy that sees women pushed to acts of cannibalism. By the patriarchy, obv.

DJ Bazzer's Year 6 Disco | Riverside Studios | 16-20 Nov
"Baz is the resident DJ of Brigdale Primary. Next week, it's the Year Six Leavers Disco: the biggest gig of the year. With a mighty setlist of early-noughties bangers cued up, Baz is raring to go for the event of a lifetime. That is, until their old school rival barges his way back onto the scene, forcing Baz to recollect the things he'd kept buried for years, and face up to moments in his past that will define his future..." A show that won a lot of praise when it was on at the Golden Goose Theatre in Camberwell earlier this year, and one that explores childhood dreams and the loss of them, and memories from the past that keep you up at night. Details here.


THREE LONGER RUNS STARTING THIS WEEK>>

Redemption | The Big House | 17 Nov-11 Dec (pictured)
And now, three longer runs, which you don't really have to rush to this week, as they are running for a while. But, you know, you might want to get in there fashionably early. Or at least book your tickets ahead. You have three weeks or so to see this one, a play-with-music tackling important themes, staged by The Big House, an organisation that works with care leavers who are at a high risk of social exclusion, providing them with a platform to participate in theatre-making, and to make their voices heard. Exploring themes of family and forgiveness, the show follows Maz, who "rails at the world and runs from a life in care", and Tayo, a "gentle soul with silky smooth vocal folds", as they take the first steps in a musical career. Read more about the show and book tickets here.

While The Sun Shines | Orange Tree Theatre | 20 Nov-8 Jan
"
On the eve of his wedding, the young Earl Of Harpenden - Bobby to his friends - has offered his room to Joe, an American soldier he drunkenly met the night before. When Bobby's fiancée Lady Elizabeth turns up, Joe makes a move, thinking she must be Bobby's ex, the wonderful Mabel Crum. But a Free French lieutenant also has eyes for her... And to complicate matters, Bobby's future father-in-law turns up too. London in the Blitz, and identities get confused: time to make hay..." The Orange Tree Theatre brings back their 2019 revival of this comedy by Terrence Rattigan, and I am most pleased to hear it. I like Rattigan. And it means anyone who missed it back then gets a chance to see it now, which is, ace. Click here for more.

The Queen Of Hearts | Greenwich Theatre | 19 Nov-2 Jan
Big drumroll now, for this show marks an important moment in our autumn coverage: that's right, it's our first pantomime tip of the season. Depend on many more such tips to come, but in the meantime, consider taking in this one, which sees the return of writer, director and legendary Dame Andrew Pollard. "Meet the Knave Of Hearts, a bit of a joker who's in love with the Princess Of Diamonds. The only problem is, she's already got a boyfriend - the Prince Of Spades. Maybe the Queen's secret jam recipe will win her over? But then there's the King Of Clubs who's also desperate to get his hands on the secret recipe..." Book your tickets here.


THREE FUNNY THINGS>>

Stand Up For The Comedy School | The Comedy Store | 16 Nov
Now for some funny stuff, and first up, a benefit event: The Comedy School is an organisation that runs training and education projects in schools, prisons, rehabilitation centres and mental health institutions, and this evening is in aid of their Wellbeing Project, which operates improv and stand-up courses for people with mental health issues, and to great effect. Lining up to entertain you in support of all that are Adam Hills, Arthur Smith, Dane Baptiste, John Moloney, Athena Kugblenu and more. Read more and book tickets here.

Bad Bitches New Tricks Comedy | Aces & Eights | 22 Nov
And another comedy line up for you, because, as you probably know, I like making comedy recommendations to cheer you all up on the dark nights. Even though they're probably not that dark and cold at the moment to be honest (thanks, global warming), and even though you may not need as much cheering up as I do at this time of year. Anyway, here we have a great line up of acts putting their new material out there, so if Tufnell Park is within reasonable reach, get this one on your list. Acts set to appear are as follows: Isabelle Farah, Phil Marzouk, Lou Atkinson, Claire Haus, Martin Willis, Ginnia Cheng, Eryn Tett and Hannah Fairweather. Click here.

Holier Than Thou | Canal Cafe Theatre | 16-20 Nov (pictured)
This one isn't stand up, it's a dark comedic monologue that's headed to London following a sell out run on the extremely discerning island of Guernsey, where it was originally performed as part of the 'Island Lives' new writing festival. It's about a vicar struggling with his faith and addiction: "The story follows Reverend Keith Lorraine as he confesses his sins and desperately tries to keep control as we discover the secrets of his past and how his whole life is now devoted to one of his parishioners". I think we can all agree that sounds rather interesting. Read more about it here.


THREE THINGS FOR THE FAMILY>>

Kaleidoscope | The Albany/Canada Water | 22/23 Nov
Yay, time for delightful things for delightful children to enjoy, and parents too of course: I doubt you will dump them at the venue and run off, especially not at this show, which is aimed at a very young demographic who will have absolutely no idea how to make their own way home. So, yes, this is for babies - specifically aged six to eighteen months - and it looks lovely: full of mirrors, light, colours and sounds, inspired by research into how a baby's sense of sight develops and how they instinctively begin to categorise colour. For shows at the Albany see this page here, and for shows at Canada Water see this page here.

The Storm Whale | Little Angel Theatre | 19 Nov-30 Jan (pictured)
"Noi lives with his Dad and their six cats by the sea. One winter, while his Dad was busy at work, Noi rescued a little whale that washed up on the beach during a storm. There a friendship began that changed their lives forever. The following winter Noi's Dad takes one last trip in his fishing boat. Noi is alone once more and longs to see his friend again. He waits and watches, watches and waits... will it take another winter storm to bring them back together again?" Another lovely show, this time for little ones aged four to eight, exploring themes of love, friendship and courage. See the venue website here for more information and to book.

Lightopia | Crystal Palace Park | 19 Nov-2 Jan
I may well have said this before, but one of the things that I do like about the dark evenings is that you get to do things with light, like fairy lights. Mine go up way before the rest of the Christmas decorations because they just make my heart glad in the dark wintry months. And I feel very much the same about the kind of light based events you see popping up in various locations now at this time of year. This week 'Lightopia' - "London's largest" - begins in Crystal Palace Park, and I really want to go, because there are loads of installations and they look really promising. Obviously, this isn't specifically a family thing, it's for anyone. But I do reckon it will make a lovely family outing. See the website here for more info and to book.


THREE MORE THEATRICAL SHOWS>>

A Merchant Of Venice | The Playground Theatre | until 4 Dec
Bit more theatre for you now, and one that I meant to mention earlier but which somehow slipped off the 'to mention' list. It's not a disaster, though, because the run only began a few days ago, and it's on until 4 Dec, so there's still plenty of time to catch it if you fancy doing so. As you'll have worked out from the title, this is a Shakespeare play, but it's a new adapted version by Bill Alexander, and it focuses on what the blurb describes as "an inner play about a small network of relationships, one that wrestles with justice and mercy, marriage and money, race and class, one that, in essence, explores the tortured nature of love". See the venue website here for more information and to book tickets.

Charity Case | Drayton Arms Theatre | 16-20 Nov
"Karen Keane and Paula Campbell have a day to raise funds to keep the charity they founded alive. The clock is ticking as they desperately fight a hostile red-top press and decide to break the law to survive, in order to appeal for a cash injection that could save their charity". A new play by Jeff Page, who actually worked in the charity domain, and uses that experience to explore contemporary attitudes towards disability and the voluntary sector, and to examine the reasons why they still exist. For all the details, see this page here.

Samskara | The Yard Theatre | until 26 Nov (pictured)
Another show I should have told you about earlier, but it's not too late, you have time, though tickets may become scarce given how well this production has been reviewed. It's inspired by real life testimony and focuses on four generations of black men, all "trying to understand themselves in a world which tells them they have to be strong". Told through physical theatre, hip-hop dance and text, the play explores vulnerability, emotional trauma and what it means to be a black man in 21st Century Britain. Read more about the play here.


THREE MUSICAL EVENTS>>

Heart N Soul's Lockdown Mixtape 2 | streamed via BAC | 19 Nov (pictured)
Okay, onto the last section, which is full of things musical (though there is also some spoken word), and this one is a streamed show, so you get to enjoy it in the comfort of your own home, or someone else's home, or you know, wherever you want to be. 'Lockdown Mixtape 2' is part of Heart N Soul's Beautiful Octopus season of events, and sees Danielle aka DMS, and bands Electric Fire and Too Hot For Candy, performing brand new music that they created during the lockdown. Head to the Battersea Arts Centre website here for more info and to book.

AltB: Music And Spoken Word | Bush Theatre | 22-27 Nov
A diverse series of six different events taking place over the course of six days, with spoken word and music components. There's 'Pillowtalk Sessions: Confessions' from the female-led Speakbeat Collective, featuring spoken word, poetry and a live DJ; a performance from multi-disciplinary artist collective Noutéka focusing on the lives of a group of Afro-Caribbeans following the abolition of slavery; an evening of live music from London's best up-and-coming artists hosted by singer-songwriter Natalie Lindi; and much more. Check out all the listings for this strand on the venue website right about here.

Soojin Suh Coloris Trio And Camilla George | Southbank Centre | 17 Nov
I'm really quite keen on drums and drummers and I sometimes feel they don't get enough attention. So if you'd like to give a drummer some really positive attention, I have a real treat for you: SooJin Suh is one of Korea's leading experimental drummers and her trio work dynamically to blend their "melodic breath", which is a principal concept from Korean traditional music. "Their detailed arrangements and improvisation is derived from the pulse of the melody, making way for striking moments and musical textures that come from a uniquely Korean aesthetic, in which each player's role has been expanded beyond traditional composition". On as part of the ongoing London Jazz Festival. For this show click here - and for all the festival's listings click here.
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