MONDAY 7 FEBRUARY 2022 THISWEEKCULTURE.COM
CRYSTAL SKILLMAN: RAIN AND ZOE SAVE THE WORLD
I was drawn to this production - which is opening this week at Jermyn Street Theatre - the moment I heard about it.

'Rain And Zoe Save The World' - which charts the journey of two teenage activists to a protest on America's west coast - was created by US based writer Crystal Skillman, is directed by Hersh Ellis, and features original music by Bobby Cronin.

I wanted to find out more about the show, and about the creative behind it, so I put some questions to Skillman ahead of opening night. 

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

'Rain And Zoe Save The World' is on at Jermyn Street Theatre from 10 Feb-12 Mar. For more information and to book 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 THINGS YOU CAN WATCH AT HOME>>

Half Breed | Soho Theatre On Demand Film Festival | 11-20 Feb (pictured)
I've been taking in a fair amount at home this week, not least because I have been a bit poorly, and it's reinforced to me that it really is a good thing that you can still access theatrical productions online even though lockdown is over. So let's talk about what's on offer from Soho Theatre's On Demand Film Festival this week: 'Half Breed', which becomes available on Friday, is a critically acclaimed, award nominated show, a partly autobiographical piece by Natasha Marshall. A "dark comedy about faith in yourself: finding your voice, fighting for what you want and being fearless in who you are". Read more about it here.

The White Handkerchief | Stream.Theatre | 10-24 Feb
A production staged to mark the recent 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday in Northern Ireland, now available to view online. As the blurb explains, this show premiered "on the 50th anniversary of the day on which fourteen unarmed civilians were killed by British soldiers during a protest march against internment without trial. The play tells the stories of the lives of the victims, their families and those affected by the terrible events of the day". Recently presented at The Playhouse Derry, this production's title is inspired by an image from those events showing Father Edward Daly waving a blood-soaked handkerchief, and the piece promises to be impassioned, sensitive and reverent. Read more and watch here.

Room | The Space | 8-12 Feb
This show is actually a live in person performance - and those dates listed are the dates for that - but there will be a live stream of it on 10 Feb, which is why it's ended up in this section. And what is it all about? Well, it's adapted from Virginia Woolf's 'A Room Of One's Own' and it sounds rather good. "Woolf unflinchingly interrogates the injustice she encounters. Witty. Relevant. Provocatively funny. Woolf slices through notions of gender disparity with an incisive mix of charm and venom". More here.


THREE SHORT THEATRE RUNS>>

Queens Of Sheba | Soho Theatre | 7-26 Feb
More theatrical stuff for you now, and more from Soho Theatre. We're starting with 'Queens Of Sheba', which returns to the venue following a sell-out run in the summer. It's a very very good and highly acclaimed show, which also won awards when it was on at the 2018 edfringe, and which "tells the hilarious, moving and uplifting stories of four passionate black women battling every-day misogynoir; where sexism meets racism". For more information and to book tickets see this page here.

Eunoia | Chickenshed Theatre | 8-19 Feb
Some less established work now over at Chickenshed, but just as exciting, as this is a season of fresh and brand new writing, a collection of monologues and duologues based around the theme of 'Eunoia' - which means 'beautiful thinking' or a 'well mind'. There are nine different plays divided into two different groups to be performed on alternate nights. There's 'Spectrum' by Hussain Raza, 'Fairy Dust' by Tom Langton, 'Astonishing Light' by Cathy Jansen-Ridings, 'Sabrina's Party' by Rebecca Hardy and 'Answer the Call' by Ashley Driver on the even dates; and 'Never Have I Ever' by Sophie White, 'Pruning' by Sebastian Ross, 'Just Imagine' by Sara Chernaik and 'Ghosts' by Harriet Norris on the odd dates. See this page here for more.

Why So Syrian? | Soho Theatre | 11-12 Feb (pictured)
"Beginning in the dusty streets of Damascus, then on swiftly to the lion's den of her Grandma's house, Isha acquaints us with her colourful and eccentric family, including a certain cousin Mo 'who's well peng bruv!' But as she returns to her home in Tottenham she receives an unexpected visit, setting in motion a course of events that stand to shake her world forever and threaten the liberated life Isha so desperately desires". A one-woman show about first love, betrayal and a family bound by culture and tradition that promises to be both poignant and funny. More here.


THREE LONGER THEATRE RUNS>>

An Unfinished Man | The Yard Theatre | 12 Feb-12 Mar (pictured)
Some slightly longer runs now, so no big rush I guess, but you might want to get in early so you can boast to your friends about the brilliant play you just saw that they should also make sure to go and see. Maybe 'An Unfinished Man' could be that show. It's about Kayode, a British-Nigerian man from East London who has been unemployed for seven years. His wife thinks he needs therapy for depression, but his mother and her pastor think he was cursed as a baby, and want to break the spell he is under through prayer. Expect an exploration of the clash between West African and Western attitudes to mental health and "the interplay of structural racism, gentrification, and society's expectations of men". Book tickets here.

Never Not Once | Park Theatre | 9 Feb-5 Mar
"All-American student Eleanor has the best moms in the world. She's bright, funny and completely happy apart from one small thing: she wants to know who her father is. When her boyfriend Rob hires a private investigator to help find him, the family are forced to confront an unexpected and explosive answer to the question 'Where do I come from?'" This new play by Carey Crim is an award winner, taking the Jane Chambers Award for Feminist Writing, and was also a finalist in the Eugene O'Neill Award, so I feel confident in saying you can expect great things. Read more about the play and book your tickets here.

Instructions For A Teenage Armageddon | Southwark Playhouse | 9 Feb-5 Mar
And now over to Southwark Playhouse for 'Instructions For A Teenage Armageddon', which returns to London following a sold-out run at the Old Red Lion Theatre back in 2020. If you didn't manage to see it then, now is the time. Written by Rosie Day, the play promises a "roller-coaster ride through youth... After her sisters untimely death by a Yorkshire Pudding, a wayward teenage girl joins a scout group to help her navigate the kicks and punches of adolescence with varying degrees of success.Whether you are a young person, know a young person, or simply were a young person once - it's time to rip up the rule book and reconnect with your younger self". Info here.


THREE MORE FAB SHOWS>>

Acosta Danza 100% Cuban | Sadler's Wells Theatre | 9-12 Feb
And now for three more shows that are not theatrical, that are in fact of a completely other genre. Specifically comedy and dance. Well, comedy or dance, not the two mashed together, though of course the two mashed together does work fine. Anyway, this first one is dance and it's going to be fabulous. Acosta Danza is international ballet superstar Carlos Acosta's critically acclaimed Cuban company known for creating work that combines both classical and contemporary genres and is infused with Cuban musical and dance influences. For more information see this page here.

Live At The Works with Phil Wang | Woolwich Works | 12 Feb
Over to Woolwich Works now for something from the other genre, comedy, and a very fabulous line up of top comedy acts that you will undoubtedly have heard much about: they are, frankly, people you will have seen on the telly, even if you haven't yet experienced the joy of seeing them live. The headliner is Phil Wang, but honestly this reads like a list of all-headliners, because it's hosted by Ivo Graham, and also features Nick Helm and Sophie Duker. Anyway, it's bound to be a good night so head this way to book yourself a ticket.

Starving Dingoes | The Place | 12 Feb (pictured)
And finally, more dance for you, a fab piece from Léa Tirabasso. "'Starving Dingoes' portrays the urgency to live, furiously and passionately. It is a race for five dancers, who through the body and its language, explore the vital, albeit brutal, necessity to stay together, like a pack of grandiose and obsessive, primitive and bestial beings. It plunges into the dreamworld of childhood; that of regained freedom, poetry, brutality and violence. It is the observation of the smallness or the depth of humanity without artifice, with a smirk, to forget time and quench our hunger for life. Because death, you know, is just around the corner". Click here.
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