MONDAY 29 NOVEMBER 2021 THISWEEKCULTURE.COM
ELVI PIPER: THE SNOW QUEEN
We have lots and lots of family Christmas shows to talk about at the moment, and it's all rather festive and exciting. One such show that really jumped out at us is 'The Snow Queen' from Leeds-based family theatre producing company Wrongsemble, which opens soon at The Albany in Deptford.

Of course readers will be familiar with the plot of 'The Snow Queen', but this version is a little different - a vibrant modern retelling with an eye on contemporary concerns about climate change - and it sounds fabulous.

To find out more about the show and about Wrongsemble, I spoke to Elvi Piper, company founder and Artistic Director.

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

'The Snow Queen' is on at The Albany, Deptford from 4-31 Dec. For more information and to book tickets, see the venue website here.



GEOFF AYMER: THE WONDERFUL
The moment I heard about Theatre Peckham's Christmas show 'The Wonderful', I was entirely seduced: it's a fab sounding musical which melds 'The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz' with a world reminiscent of Wakanda, while addressing themes of self love and acceptance.

It's a show that's aimed at young people, and was developed in response to ideas generated during one of the venue's Learning Academy classes.

To find out more about the show, and the creative behind it, I spoke to writer Geoff Aymer.

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

'The Wonderful' is on at Theatre Peckham from 1- 22 Dec. For more information, and to book, see this page here.



SADIE CLARK: ALGORITHMS
Our edfringe-going readers may well remember 'Algorithms' from its appearance at the 2019 festival and, in fact, our London-based readers may remember a previous run at the Soho Theatre.

Those of you who haven't yet seen it are in for a treat, because it's a critically acclaimed piece full of humour and pathos, and its creator Sadie Clark is a very charismatic performer.

The play is about a young bisexual woman navigating the contemporary dating world, and deals with themes of love and loneliness and its impact on self esteem, a topic that most of us can surely relate to.

To find out more about the play and the theatre-maker behind it, I arranged a chat with Sadie, ahead of her upcoming run back at the Soho Theatre.

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

'Algorithms' is on at Soho Theatre from 6-11 Dec. For more information and to book your tickets, see the venue 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 SHOWS FOR KIDS>>

Comedy Club 4 Kids | Shoreditch Town Hall | 5 Dec
This is the week when our tips start to be for stuff that's actually on in December - the month of Christmas - and who is Christmas for? Well, anyone who wants to celebrate it, really, but children do tend to get rather excited about it, and that's what's inspired this shows-for-kids section today. Not every show here is specifically a Christmassy show, but if you're looking for pre-Christmas treats to build up to the big day, then all of these may well fit the bill. We start with a bit of a TW fave, which we've tipped a fair few times over the years, because it's great. Stand up for children aged six and up, and this edition features Marcel Lucont, Shelf and John Hastings. Info here.

The Tiger Who Came To Tea | ArtsDepot | 6 Dec-3 Jan
"The doorbell rings just as Sophie and her mummy are sitting down to tea. Who could it possibly be? What they certainly don't expect to see at the door is a big, stripy tiger!" The children's picture book by the late great Judith Kerr that's the basis for this show is, of course, an absolute favourite, and this acclaimed musical adaptation does it justice. This one's on all over Christmas, apart from Christmas Day, so while it would be a great idea to go and see it very soon, you might conceivably want to save this one for the actual holiday and go later in the month. Either way, you should book your tickets now. Head this way to do just that.

Christmas Tales at Chickenshed | Chickenshed Theatre | 4-29 Dec (pictured)
Well, this one does have Christmas in the title, so it's officially a definite Christmas show. Readers in regular charge of children they need to entertain may well be very much aware of Chickenshed's regular storytelling show 'Tales From The Shed', and this here show is from that same team, a Christmassy version of their usual offerings. It's suitable for quite small children - the recommendation is up to seven years and it's free for babies under the age of one - and is full of singing and dancing, puppets and larger-than-life characters. Read more about the show and book tickets on the venue website here.


THREE PANTOMIMES>>

Dick Whittington And His Cat | Watford Palace Theatre | 2 Dec-2 Jan
Yay, it's pantomime time again. There are so many to tell you about, in all corners of the London and Greater London area. And as I am sure our readers live in all corners of the London and Greater London area, that's very handy, and I am sure we can find one suitable for everyone. I think this one's actually slightly outwith Greater London, but not too far if you're in the north of the city. Anyway, it's 'Dick Whittington And His Cat' by Andrew Pollard, and it features Dame Sherrie Trifle, which is making me want to eat trifle. Don't get distracted by trifle making, like I might, head this way to book tickets.

Jack And The Beanstalk | Hackney Empire | until 22 Jan (pictured)
"When happy-go-lucky Jack is tempted into selling his family's beloved cow for a bag full of magic beans, he finds himself tangled in an adventure of GIANT proportions. Join Jack on his journey up an enchanted beanstalk as he tries to outwit a rampaging giant, all with the help of his larger-than-life mum Dame Trot". You're all familiar with the storyline, I am sure, and you can count on this being an entertaining production with award winning veteran dame Clive Rowe. There are BSL interpreted, relaxed and dementia friendly performances too. Click here for info and tickets.

Sleeping Beauty | Churchill Theatre | 4 Dec-2 Jan
Okay, last pantomime for this week, but rest assured, there are others jostling in the wings hoping for a mention next week, so that may well come to pass. This one's at the Churchill Theatre in Bromley and boasts a cast that includes Myra Dubois, Lloyd Hollet, Lee Mead, Claudillea Holloway and the genuinely legendary Bonnie Langford. The Churchill Theatre's pantomimes are always popular so tickets will be going fast. If you want to go, get ye quickly to the venue website here to get yourself booked in.


THREE THEATRICAL SHOWS>>

Yes So I Said Yes | Finborough Theatre | 23 Nov-18 Dec
And now for some quality theatre. This one, the GB premiere of 'Yes So I Said Yes' by David Ireland, has been up and running for a week or thereabouts, but you've still got plenty of time to see it. "Ulster Loyalist Alan Black is kept awake every night by his neighbour McCorrick's dog barking. To add to his difficulties, McCorrick refuses to acknowledge that he even owns a dog, let alone one that is creating a disturbance. In a Northern Ireland he barely recognises, where politics has proved just to be the continuation of war by other means, a disconsolate Alan sets out to rid himself of the incessant noise". Click here.

The Formidable Lizzie Boone | Hen & Chickens Theatre | 4-5 Dec
"What do you get when you combine a wedding ring, burlesque and Pacman? Well, if you're Lizzie Boone, you might get therapy..." A one woman show from award winning actor and writer Selina Helliwell who will "pull you into Lizzie's world for a night of drama, healing and dark humour". It's set in a therapist's office and explores the "intricacies of humanity", and features a burlesque dance sequence, apparently. This play is only on for a short time so make sure you don't miss it - get straight on over to the Unrestricted View website here to book.

Milk & Gall - livestream | Theatre503 | 30 Nov (pictured)
You may well have already seen 'Milk & Gall' during its recent run at Theatre503, and even if not, regular readers may well have heard about it, as we ran a Q&A with its director Lisa Spirling at the end of October. Those of you who've missed seeing it in person, and those of you who are too far away or still distancing, may well be glad to hear that the show is to be livestreamed on 30 Nov. It's a really interesting play that combines themes of motherhood and politics and mother-daughter relationships. Read more about it, and book yourself in to view, on the venue website here.


THREE MORE THEATRE SHOWS>>

The Astonishing Singing Fish! | The Space | 3-8 Dec (pictured)
"It's a rocky road for a singing goldfish who wants to play the lead in 'Les Miserables'. Combining a mixture of great songs, very silly jokes and a healthy dose of visual gags, 'The Astonishing Singing Fish!' is a heart-warming story of how music can unite us despite our differences. The dark singing voice of Alex and the soft kind-hearted sound of Peter combine harmoniously to form the most endearing duo. The human and the fish will have to figure out how to navigate the treacherous waters of show business and make their dream a reality. As expected, nothing goes to plan". This sounds fun, doesn't it? Oh, and it's another show for which there's an opportunity to watch online. Read more about it here.

Frisky And Their Freaky Friendz: Wild Wild Mess | Camden People's Theatre | 4 Dec
Frisky Arts and their clearly Freaky Friendz return for a wild wild mess of poetry, comedy, cabaret and um, hula-hooping, in the latest installment of the company's acclaimed cabaret/art night, which platforms artists who seek to push boundaries and present daring, playful and experimental work. "Calling all outlaws and saloon slags, join us for a night of art, film, debauchery and deviance. This is a space for all of society's dirty Dan's, and people on the run". Find out more and book your tickets here.

Assisted | Golden Goose Theatre | 1-4 Dec
"Jordan and Connie want their AI voice assistant - Alivia - to make their perfect lives just that little bit better. But what happens when the technology starts to take control?" This sounds like an interesting play from new producing company Oxia Theatre, which takes a look at how increasingly technology plays a big part in our domestic lives and intimate moments, and is therefore collecting more and more information about our supposedly private lives. It's on as part of Golden Goose Theatre's Emerge festival of works by recent graduates. Info here.


THREE CHRISTMASSY SHOWS>>

A Christmas Carol | New Wimbledon Theatre | 29 Nov-4 Dec
I am - it has to be said - rather regretting running a tip for the Alexandra Palace production of 'A Christmas Carol' in isolation last week, because - if I had left it until this week - I could have had an entire section of 'A Christmas Carol' shows, and honestly, that's high on my list of Christmas dreams. But never mind, it means we also have room for another fantastic and non-Scroogey but still Christmassy show at The Hope Theatre in this section. But first, something definitely Scroogey, and this rather interesting sounding staging of the Dickens classic tale sees members of a theatre company trapped on a train, while two remaining members are forced to perform all thirty characters in the play alone. Book here.

21 Round For Christmas | The Hope Theatre | 30 Nov-18 Dec
"How does Christmas Day end? With the letter Y. Christmas time, mistletoe and wine, children singing Christian rhymes... out of tune and far too loudly for six in the f**ing morning! Join Tracy, a day-dreaming, outspoken, list-making, extroverted-introvert in the midst of cooking Christmas Dinner for her family - her extremely large family. A raucous festive romp with... a little bit of spice!" This is an in-house production from The Hope Theatre, with a script by Matt Ballantyne and Toby Hampton, directed by Toby Hampton. Sounds like a lot of fun. Head this way for info and to book.

Mr Charles Dickens presents A Christmas Carol | Greenwich Theatre | 6+13 Dec (pictured)
This 'A Christmas Carol' is another stage play, but it's not an adaptation as such, but a recreation: you may or may not be aware of it, but Charles Dickens gave many public readings of his famous spooky and seasonal tale, and in this show, actor John O'Connor recreates the author's performance of the well loved story. "This Christmas, you can experience what it must have been like to be in the audience! Come and enjoy a seasonal treat in the spirit of Christmas past, present and future". How could you resist? All the details are here.


THREE MORE FAB EVENTS>>

Laugh For Leukaemia | Bloomsbury Theatre | 5 Dec
Well, it's been a lot of theatre this week - Christmassy, children's and otherwise - so it's about time we talked about some other genres I think. So how about comedy, and a fab collection of acts lining up for a very worthwhile cause? This benefit in aid of Blood Cancer UK will be MCed by Ed Gamble and feature turns from Harry Hill, Sindhu Vee, Joe Thomas, Nick Mohammed and Flo & Joan. Not sure who'd want to miss a line up like that, especially in these dark and increasingly wintrier times. For for information and to book tickets take a look at this page here.

Bethlehem Cultural Festival | Grand Junction | 2+3 Dec (pictured)
Bethlehem Cultural Festival "shines a light on the arts, culture and heritage of Palestine and the Eastern Mediterranean and forges partnerships and collaborations with cultural organisations across the world". And it's happening in two locations, London and Glasgow, as well as online. The London events will take place on Thu 2 and Fri 3 Dec at Grand Junction, with a number of different sessions making up each evening. Buy a ticket for each or either day, and that gives you entry to any of the sessions. There are discussions, performances, music and more. And, as aforementioned, there are also lots of events you can take in online. See the website here for more information and to book.

The Sleeping Beauty | Jacksons Lane | 5 Dec
"Cursed by a wicked fairy, a beautiful princess and her kingdom decent into an enchanted sleep on a touch of a spindle. A sleep that is destined to be broken only by a kiss from a real prince". And finally... no, it's not another pantomime, even though that title might make you think it could be. No, it's that other genre famous for its sleeping beauties, namely, ballet. Tchaikovsky's 'Sleeping Beauty' is staged here by London Ballet Theatre, which is an ensemble of volunteer dancers, and profits from the show will be donated to Cancer Research, so yes, another great way to enjoy a quality cultural experience whilst raising money for a good cause. More info here.
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