MONDAY 17 JANUARY 2022 THISWEEKCULTURE.COM
JULIAN BIRD: FREUD'S LAST SESSION
Coming up at King's Head Theatre this week is a production that really caught my eye. It's a European premiere of US playwright Mark St Germain's successful 2009 stage play 'Freud's Last Session', staged by Nearly There Productions and directed by Peter Darney.

The play sees an imagined conversation taking place between renowned psychiatrist Sigmund Freud and writer and atheist-turned-Christian CS Lewis, dealing with age old questions of faith, love, sex and existence itself.

That's interesting enough by itself, but there's also this: Julian Bird, the actor who is playing Freud, had a long career as a psychiatrist before re-training and beginning an acting career in his sixties. I spoke to him to find out more.

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

'Freud's Last Session' is on at the King's Head Theatre from 18 Jan-12 Feb. For more information and to book, see this page here.



FIN KENNEDY AND ERINN DHESI: WAVES
You're probably all very familiar with the work of the brilliant Tamasha Theatre, which was founded in 1989 to tell stories of the Asian diaspora, and which has gone from strength to strength ever since.

We are always interested in hearing about their work, of course, generally of the theatrical type, but their latest project is a little different.

'The Waves' is a production by audio-drama company Holy Mountain in association with Tamasha, and is a series of audio plays created by writers from throughout the UK, which will be broadcast via London-based Resonance FM as well as a number of local radio stations across the country.

To find out more about 'The Waves', I spoke to Fin Kennedy, former Tamasha AD - who developed the project with Holy Mountain's Boz Temple-Morris - and Erinn Dhesi, writer of one of the featured plays, 'Queens'.

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

'The Waves' series will be broadcast via London-based Resonance FM, and a large number of local radio stations across the UK, from 19 Jan. See the Tamasha website here for more information.
Shows to see in person in London - and online anywhere - including performances from people and companies we first discovered at the Edinburgh Festival.


THREE ONLINE THINGS>>

Testimony | Golden Age Theatre/Living Record Festival | 17-22 Jan
I thought it might be nice to start with some digital stuff today, not least because there's a whole online festival to choose events from this week. 'Testimony' is on as part of the upcoming Living Record Festival and sounds rather interesting. It's a collection of eight monologues focusing on themes of love, hate, death and revenge, whilst exploring some of the much talked about issues of contemporary times, such as toxic masculinity, the #MeToo movement, gender identity, the culture wars, police corruption, racism, conspiracy theories and fake news. For more information and to view, head to this page here.

The Wiz | online via Hope Mill Theatre | 22-24 + 28-30 Jan (pictured)
You're all no doubt aware of the existence of 'The Wiz', the musical reimagining of L Frank Baum's 'The Wizard Of Oz' that took Broadway by storm in the seventies, and generated a subsequent film starring the likes of Diana Ross and Michael Jackson. This new production directed by Matthew Xia was on at Manchester's Hope Mill Theatre over the festive period, but is now sadly ended. The good news is that there are going to be some streaming performances over the next couple of weekends, and you can access them from wherever you are in the UK. Yay. Head to the venue website here to book yourself in.

All The King's Men | Chronic Insanity/Living Record Festival | 17-22 Feb
Now we are back over to the Living Record Festival for a show from a very busy theatrical favourite, Chronic Insanity, whose latest offering is an immersive story about political corruption, the allure of fame, and personal accountability. "You find yourself looking up the tour dates for your favourite up-and-coming pop star, when you stumble across a disturbing conspiracy theory about their sudden fame and success. You can't shake the feeling that this theory has some truth in it and, while digging deeper, you fall into a rabbit hole of lies and deceit. Submerged into this alternate reality, you'll have to put the pieces together, and make the right decisions". Head this way for more.


THREE CHILDREN'S SHOWS>>

Woodland Tales With Granddad | ArtsDepot | 23 Jan (pictured)
Now, some live in person shows that are taking place in the capital, and they're aimed at your small people. This one's a puppet show that sounds great: "Something is happening in the woods, voices can be heard, and a strange metallic smell fills the air. Machines are gathering at its edge and a mysterious call is heard across the valley. Laura the ladybird, Jeffrey the spider, Brett the woodlouse and Willoughby the woodpecker are worried. Velda the vixen knows there's only one person who can help them - Granddad. But is there enough time? Can they save the wood? And will the mysterious stranger help?" Details here.

Planet Play/Tales From The Shed | Chickenshed Theatre | 21/22 Jan-25/26 Mar
I suppose I have kind of made this section 'four to see' rather than 'three to see' by making this middle entry cover two shows at the same venue. But they're for slightly different age groups - and they are both shows that are regular favourites, both returning for the spring season - and I thought you ought to know, or be reminded, of them both. We've tipped them before, of course, but a quick reminder: 'Planet Play' offers sensory learning and exploration for babies and toddlers under three through song, music and movement; 'Tales From The Shed' is for children up to six years old, and features educational stories delivered by a cast of well loved characters. Click here for 'Planet Play' and here for 'Tales'.

Dommy B's Best Adventure Ever | Half Moon Theatre | 22 Jan
"When Dom and his Mum move home, Dom has to go to a new school. Leaving behind friends and familiarity, he arrives ready to share his exciting rhymes about meeting a magical goblin and what happened at the lake when he attempted the greatest bike stunt in the world. How far will Dom go to gain acceptance from the coolest kids in this new school?" Acclaimed CBeebies 'Rhyme Rocket' poet Dommy B takes a look at the topic of making new friends in a new environment in this show suitable for ages five and up. See the venue website here for more.


THREE THEATRICAL TREATS>>

UBU | Greenwich Theatre | 18 Jan (pictured)
Right, some theatrical stuff for grown ups, and we begin with a production of a French classic from Splendid Productions, who promise a "brand new creative adaptation" of the original rather groundbreaking pre-surrealist play by Alfred Jarry. "Behold the tale of UBU! He likes power so much he refuses to give it back. UBU! Can you resist the charm of this puffed-up lump as he guffs his way to THE TOP? UBU!! Watch as this all-conquering buffoon deviously despatches anyone who gets in his way. Who will stop UBU? No one will stop UBU! Expect the unexpected! ... Or the entirely predictable!" Click here.

Holst: The Music In The Spheres | Jack Studio Theatre | 18 Jan-19 Feb
"Born into a family of musicians, England's greatest modern composer, Gustav Holst, began his career as a humble music teacher, struggling to make ends meet. After a crippling childhood illness robs him of his vision and his ability to hold musical instruments, he embarks on one final desperate effort to write the great work that will define him and classical music forever: 'The Planets Suite'". The story of the man behind the music and part of award winning producing company Traps & Arrows' new repertory season - 'The Dyers Hand' - which consists of two linked shows performed by the same cast, this one and 'Payne: The Stars Are Fire', which begins on 25 Jan. Read more here.

Scholar's Creek | White Bear Theatre | 18-22 Jan
And finally, over to the White Bear Theatre for a queer romantic comedy from Tightrope that I am very intrigued by. "Somewhere in the Deep South, sometime, a misunderstood teen girl is falling for a mysterious farmhand with a dark past. Meanwhile, in London... Nina and Noa are wasting their youth on flashcards and fantasies about their teachers. They've never done drugs, they've never been to a party. They've never even been kissed... And they're absolutely never going to admit that they fancy each other". For more information and to book tickets head to the venue website right about here.
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