MONDAY 22 NOVEMBER 2021 THISWEEKCULTURE.COM
SCOTT GRAHAM: I THINK WE ARE ALONE
As you will all be aware, many shows had tours and runs cut short over the last couple of years because of that pesky global pandemic we have been going through. One such production - 'I Think We Are Alone' by Sally Abbott - is the work of the acclaimed and brilliant Frantic Assembly, who have been producing amazing work since the mid nineties.

There were no doubt many disappointed audience members when the company's tour of this show was cut short, but the good news is that, this week, they - and others of course - will be able to access a digital version of the play.

To find out more about the show, and about its creators, I spoke to Frantic Assembly Artistic Director, and director of 'I Think We Are Alone', Scott Graham.

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

'I Think We Are Alone' streams via Stream.Theatre from 29 Nov-4 Dec. Click here for more information and to book your viewing.
Shows to see in person in London - and online anywhere - including performances from people and companies we first discovered at the Edinburgh Festival.


THREE PANTOMIMES>>

Red Riding Hood | Theatre Royal Stratford East | 27 Nov-31 Dec
If I remember correctly, last week, in our first pantomime tip of the season, we hinted at pantomime bounty to come: and here it is, a full section of panto tips for you. Beginning with something of a classic story for the form, 'Little Red Riding Hood' at Theatre Royal Stratford East, an establishment much renowned for their annual pantomimery, of course. Tickets are going quickly, as you might expect, so don't dally about booking, especially if you want to go this week. There are various special performances - socially distanced, BSL interpreted, captioned, audio described and relaxed - if you're interested in those. Click here.

Beowulf: An Epic Panto | King's Head Theatre | 26 Nov-8 Jan (pictured)
Well, 'Beowulf' is not your classic pick for a pantomime storyline, but then I would expect that kind of quirky choice from a company like Charles Court Opera, whose excellent 'boutique' pantos have been delighting audiences for years. CCO promise to give the medieval epic "a wickedly entertaining CCO makeover in a fiery adventure like no other" packed with "mammoth musical numbers, and led by a colossally talented cast". And I believe them. Be careful when you book - some performances are suitable for family audiences, others are adult only. Read all about it here.

Sleeping Beauty And The Beast | Battersea Arts Centre | 22 Nov-30 Dec
Another unconventional title for you there, but it's not a surprise, because mashup pantomimes are what the brilliant Sleeping Trees do every year. "Ever wondered where pantomime villains go at the end of the story? They go to Goodie-versity: the institute for reformed baddies, where headmasters Beast and Belle teach them to be good. This Christmas Eve, the baddie class of 2021 are just one day away from their Gooduation when, disaster strikes...  Someone has sent Beast to sleep and he won't wake up! And without Beast, there can be no Gooduation day!" Info and tickets here.


THREE FAMILY SHOWS>>

The Child In The Snow | Wilton's Music Hall | 26 Nov-31 Dec
And as if three lovely pantomimes suitable for young fry weren't enough, here we have some more lovely shows for families, and like most of the kids shows beginning at the moment, these are the respective venues' Christmas shows, and will be running until at least the end of December. This show's only really an option for families with older children though, as it's a scary ghost story for audiences aged twelve plus, but I reckon your teenagers will love it. It's an adaptation by Piers Torday of Elizabeth Gaskell's 'The Old Nurse's Story', which sees a nurse, haunted by wartime experience, unearthing a dark secret. More here.

Ever After - A Mixed Up Fairytale | Chickenshed | 24 Nov-8 Jan
"When Hansel and Gretel are left to fend for themselves in the Wild Woods, a series of events is set in motion, taking the two children on a journey through some of our best loved fairytales. Come and be enchanted by mischievous Princesses, who dance until their shoes are worn out; meet - at least one - wicked stepmother intent on revenge; sympathise with Hansel and Gretel's father, who searches the forest for a sign of his beloved children; and laugh, boo and hiss at the man with no name..." This one sounds fabulous, which is what I would expect, to be honest, from Chickenshed's Christmas show. Read more about the show and book tickets here.

The Bolds | Unicorn Theatre | until 31 Dec (pictured)
"The Bolds are just like you and me. They live in an ordinary house in an ordinary street, and they love to laugh. But there's one slight difference... They're hyenas! How long can they keep their beastly secret under their hats? Join Mr and Mrs Bold, Betty and Bobby, as they navigate work, school and friends, all whilst trying to keep up their disguise". This show - written and adapted for the stage by Julian Clary - is already up and running and looks like fabulous fun. Book tickets here. And while we are at the Unicorn Theatre, I just want to mention another show that's on there, 'Scrunch', which is for babby lambs aged six to eighteen months. The reason I am giving it only a quick mention is that it's actually sold out, but you can be added to a waiting list for cancellations - click here.


THREE ONLINE SHOWS>>

Salome | online via Lazarus Theatre Company | 26 Nov-5 Dec
Brrr, bit chilly isn't it? Makes you want to lock all the doors at 6pm and settle down under a blanket for the night, doesn't it? But wouldn't it be nice to have some culture to go with your comfy pants and that bottle of wine? Via the magic of streaming? Here you go, some fab shows for you to access at home, starting with this production - featuring a male Salome - of Oscar Wilde's 'Salome' from Lazarus Theatre Company, which we tipped earlier this year when it was on at Southwark Playhouse. "King Herod asks Salomé, son of the Queen to dance for him... This request leads to the Dance Of The Seven Veils and one of the most shocking, thrilling and scandalous climaxes ever seen on stage". Details here.

Sherlock In Homes 3: Murder At The Games | online via Bristol Old Vic | 25 Nov - 8 Jan
You may well remember back to last October, when the COVID restrictions on live performance were extending, and the only things we had to look forward to were online. At that time, we recommended 'Sherlock In Homes', an interactive Zoom-based murder mystery from Sharp Teeth Theatre via Bristol Old Vic. The company followed it up with a very welcome second installment earlier this year. And now, there's going to be a third, which will no doubt be just as good as the first two. This one's set in Rome's Olympic village in 1960. Read more and book yourself in right here.

Old Bridge | online via Bush Theatre | 29 Nov-4 Dec (pictured)
This very well received theatre piece is poised to finish up its run at Bush Theatre as I type this, but there's good news for those of you who missed it - or are too far away, or too-distancing, to have seen it - you can access it digitally for a week. "Mostar, Yugoslavia, 1988. Mili, a boy from out of town, dives from the famous Old Bridge. Mina, a local girl, watches. As he falls, she begins falling for him. Mostar, Bosnia, 1992. In a town of growing divisions, Mina and Mili never doubt that their future lies together. But nor can they imagine the dangers that future will bring. An epic story exploring the impact of a war that Europe forgot and the love and loss of those who lived through it". Click here for more.


THREE THEATRE SHOWS>>

Ticker | Turbine Theatre | 23-27 Nov
'Ticker' follows "twenty-something Spencer, a Geordie millennial who is deeply in love with the inestimable Gabi. But Spencer's life is torn apart by Gabi's untimely - and unexplained - death. How can he even begin to cope with finding himself suddenly a prime suspect and a chief mourner?" We've tipped this show - which made a critically acclaimed splash at edfringe in 2019 - at least once before, I think; firstly because it's by Tom Machell, who we first met via his work as one of TW fave zazU, but also because it's a really great piece about "male identity, toxic aggression, and how not talking about things can eventually lead to self-destruction". See this page here for more.

Enter Mr Citrus Man | The Space | 23-27 Nov (pictured)
"Pat and Pete live happily in their tiny botanic bathroom, so happily that they don't remember any ambitions they've ever had in life. Until the day Mr Citrus Man, a life guru from the Big City, moves into the rest of their home. A strange letter, a forgotten dream, and a new feeling suddenly leads Pat on a dangerous journey, where what she loves the most is on the line. A fun, curious and imaginative story about feelings, and what drives humans into situations they didn't intend. It's childish but serious. It's unseen and yet extremely familiar. It's for all ages to enjoy". This sounds nice! And like much of The Space's output lately, there's a chance to see it digitally as well as in person. Click here.

A Christmas Carol - A Ghost Story | Alexandra Palace Theatre | 26 Nov-9 Jan
Well, following on from last week's drum roll for the first pantomime tip of the season, how about a tambourine shake for the first 'A Christmas Carol' of the year...? For yes, be assured that there are more Scrooges in the offing, there are about a million this year, I can't move for them. Well, that may not be quite true, but there's certainly a lot of Dickens about. This one's quite a posh one, with big hitters Mark Gatiss and Nicholas Farrell in leading roles, and the tickets are pricer than most of the shows we recommend, I think, but it does look fabulous, and you know, it's 'A Christmas Carol'. I bloody love 'A Christmas Carol'. Details here.


SHOWS INVOLVING MUSIC>>

Education, Education, Karaoke | Camden People's Theatre | 23-27 Nov (pictured)
"What does Atomic Kitten have to do with Tony Blair's education policy? What had the cha cha slide got to teach us about managed decline in small towns? Does the secret to revolution lie in karaoke? Armed with a state education, a karaoke machine and a dance mat, every night an unrehearsed guest performer is going to try and work out the answer to all these questions and more". Hmmm, I am intrigued by this one, I must say, a show with a rather whacky approach to some serious concerns that addresses "the story of the divisions that wealthy politicians built into state education". For more information and to book, see this page here.

Mehtab Malhotra | Tara Theatre | 27 Nov
This is one of two events on at the Tara Theatre this week that are being staged by Sama Arts' Women In The Arts festival, which takes place mainly in London venues but also further afield, and focuses on the genre of traditional and contemporary South Asian arts. This event - subtitled 'Words, Music & Poetry - Works Of Modern & Traditional Urdu Poets' - features Mehtab Malhotra, who has been performing since the age of seven and has appeared in more than 600 concerts in India and the UK, so you are clearly in good hands. The other show looks great too, a storytelling event with Vayu Naidu. Click here for Mehtab Malhotra, here for Vayu Naidu, and here for more info on Sama Arts.

Bonny & Read | Jack Studio | 23 Nov-4 Dec
This one's a new musical by Claire Novello, with music composed by Frederick Appleby, that takes a look at what made certain women of the eighteenth century disguise themselves as men and head out to sea to join the very male world of piracy. It's based on the trials of Captain Rackham and his pirate crew, which happened in Jamaica in 1720: "History meets myth in this real-life story of the remarkable, cross-dressing women pirates Anne Bonny and Mary Read, and their fateful encounter with the infamous Jack Rackham, also known as Calico Jack". Promises to be an epic adventure and a story of female bravery and survival. See this page here.


THREE FUNNY SHOWS>>

Rachel Fairburn: Maniac | Leicester Square Theatre | 24 Nov
Well, all that music might have perked you up a bit, I reckon, so now how's about some funny stuff to get you giggling? First up, a definite TW favourite. "Rachel Fairburn is a Maniac. She's got manners though and keeps it to herself. Not like you lot. You're all mad. You're either screaming at strangers on the internet, telling everyone what to think, or bearing your soul on Instagram about how bloody brave you are cos you've felt a little bit sad lately. You all need a good talking to and Rachel is here with her big mouth and big opinions to give it you. If you've bought a ticket, you've consented. See you there". So there you have it. Get your tickets here.

Jess Robinson: The Twelve Days Of Jessmas | Crazy Coqs at Brasserie Zedel | 25 Nov
Christmas definitely seems to have been coming sooner the last couple of years - is it a reaction to lockdown, I wonder...? Though to be fair, Christmas has felt like it was coming sooner every year for pretty much my whole life, so it may just be that I am old. Anyway, loads of Christmassy things are happening in this latter part of November, and I've reached a point in my life when I am absolutely okay with that, and was therefore excited when I saw the sparkly listing for this festive affair from Jess Robinson. "Expect magical mashups, fabulous original songs and a belly full of laughs as your angelic host and her sparkling live band (if they've washed) transports you on an (imaginary) sleigh ride, through a winter wonderland of dazzling divas and stars of the silver screen, serving up a feast of famous voices, from Gaga to Garland. It'll be anything but a silent night". Click here.

Police Cops The Musical | New Diorama Theatre | 23 Nov-23 Dec (pictured)
"USA, 1985: Rookie Police Cop Jimmy Johnson joined the force to protect, serve, and avenge his sister's death...But now Jimmy's in deep, partnered up with a disgraced, renegade Police Cop and leaned on by a racist Chief. With guns loaded and safety catches off, Jimmy's on a freewheeling adventure from the mean streets of America to the back-alleys of Mexico - where destiny awaits in the form of grizzled Mexican ex-Police Cop Juanita Gonzalez". The very excellent 'Police Cops' return with what will surely be another fantastic cinematic comedy blockbuster. Expect it to be a lot of fun. Read more about it and book your tickets here.


THREE MORE INTERESTING EVENTS>>

Live LDN | Camden People's Theatre | 29 Nov
Before I forget, this is another event that you can see online if you want to, as you can join a livestream, though - of course - you can also see it in person at Camden People's Theatre. This is the latest of Barrel Organ's events in which emerging and under-represented artists from across the country will test up to 20 minutes of material in front of an audience, and receive feedback from said audience. Those lined up to appear at this event are presenting work in a range of styles on a range of themes such as loneliness in the information age; the correlation between being fat and funny; and the question of whether male privilege is real. "Expect a night of entertainment, designed to make you question what live performance can be". Click here.

Tottenham Literature Festival 2021 | Bernie Grant Arts Centre and online | 29 Nov-5 Dec
All the events on as part of the Bernie Grant Arts Centre's Tottenham Literature Festival look great, and so - as it's a small (but perfectly formed, obv) festival - I thought I would just recommend the whole thing. One of the obvious highlights is the appearance by Bernardine Evaristo, and I imagine tickets for that will be going very quickly, but all the other events are just as interesting, dealing with a wide range of interests and themes, and featuring the likes of Yomi Sode, Malika Booker, Kareem Parkins-Brown and Janett Plummer. Head to the venue website here to read about it all.

A Thousand Faces | Riverside Studios | 24-27 Nov (pictured)
We're finishing with an event in the area of dance/physical theatre and something a bit fabulous examining important themes. "A bold dance-theatre that features Amina Khayyam working with Kathak's intricate and detailed theatrical gestures of ang abhinaya, to subvert imagery of Bollywood beauty and Hollywood glamour that objectify women in indiscriminate abuse and violence. 'A Thousand Faces' follows the story of a woman confronting a past violent relationship..." For more information see this page here.
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