MONDAY 21 MARCH 2022 THISWEEKCULTURE.COM
BENNY AINSWORTH, SALLY PAFFETT, AND MICHAEL PARKER: VERMIN
When I first heard about 'Vermin' - a new show previewing this week at the Etcetera Theatre ahead of a run at the Brighton Fringe in May - I thought it sounded like just our sort of thing, a new funny play with some interestingly dark themes. 

I was also interested in the team behind it. 'Vermin' is the work of Triptych Theatre - a company founded by Benny Ainsworth, Sally Paffett and Michael Parker - and was written by Benny, is performed by Benny and Sally, and is directed by Michael, while being produced by them all. 

I spoke to the Triptych team, to find out more about the show, the company, and what we can expect from them now and in the years to come.

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

'Vermin' is on at London's Etcetera Theatre from 25-26 Mar, for info and to book head to this page here.


THE SOUND + VISION COMEDY CONFERENCE: SPEAKERS ANNOUNCED!

Don't forget, ThisWeek Culture is teaming up with the Sound + Vision festival and conference in Cambridge this April to curate and host a day of conversations and panels all about the business of comedy in 2022.

We'll be joined by brilliant people from across the comedy community to discuss how you go about pursuing a comedy career today - plus we'll put the spotlight on the key trends, developments and debates in the sector.

Topics set to be covered include:
- Pursuing A Career In Comedy In 2022
- Podcasts, Patreon, YouTube, TikTok And Beyond - Making Comedy Online
- Comedy And Livestreaming - What Next?
- The Future Of The Edinburgh Fringe

Confirmed speakers for the Sound + Vision Comedy Conference include: Hils Jago from Amused Moose, Lola Oyewole from TikTok, John Harris from Acast, Tom Brandt and Jason Wolfe from NextUp Comedy, Kaiya Milan from The Floor, comedy PR experts Gaby Jerrard and Flick Morris, media and entertainment lawyer Raffaella De Santis, and comedians Jay Foreman, Robyn Perkins and Kate Smurthwaite.

Sound & Vision is a multi-venue festival and conference taking place in various venues across Cambridge from Thursday 21 Apr to Saturday 23 Apr. The festival will feature over 70 acts - both new and established - from the worlds of music and comedy, while the conference programme will put the spotlight on the music, comedy and creative industries.

CLICK HERE to find out more about the TW curated comedy conference.

CLICK HERE to get tickets for Sound + Vision 2022.
Shows to see in person in London - and online anywhere - including performances from people and companies we first discovered at the Edinburgh Festival.


THREE THEATRE RUNS STARTING THIS WEEK>>

Diaries Of A Somebody | Seven Dials Playhouse | 22 Mar-30 Apr
Yay, it's tips time again, and I thought we would start this week with some chunky runs that you actually have plenty of time to see, so, if you don't have time this week, remember to stick them in your diary for later. First up is 'Diaries Of A Somebody' at Seven Dials Playhouse (which is the venue formerly known as The Actors Centre/Tristan Bates Theatre, if you're not yet aware of that). It's a work that uses verbatim the contents of Joe Orton's diaries: "The year is 1966. A shabby bedsit in Angel. Joe Orton, who lives with his lover Kenneth Halliwell, is becoming the most successful young playwright in Britain. His West End hit 'Loot' is voted play of the year. His work is adapted for TV. The Beatles demand that he write their new movie.‍ In eight months he'll be brutally murdered by the person closest to him". Click here.

Black Love | Kiln Theatre | 28 Mar-23 Apr (pictured)
"Meet Aurora and Orion. Sister and brother. Constellations in time. More than blood. More than just fam. Inside their small London flat, memories of their parents' black love surrounds them. When that love is threatened, they must first find understanding and connection before they can begin to find a way back to one another". Another show at a venue that used to be called something else - for the Kiln Theatre used to be called the Tricycle Theatre - and it's Paines Plough's highly acclaimed musical 'Black Love', which is described as an "explosion of form-busting storytelling" that "celebrates and investigates the black experience through music, real-life stories and imagined worlds". Crikey, why would you want to miss that? Head to the venue website here to book your tickets.

Daddy | Almeida Theatre | 26 Mar-30 Apr
It's a pity the Almeida Theatre has only ever been called the Almeida, really, otherwise I could have called this section "plays on at renamed venues" or something like that. As far as I am aware, though, it's been known as Almeida since it was born, because it's named after the street it's on. Anyway, enough blether and on to 'Daddy' by Tony Award winner Jeremy O Harris, which is the show that gets a UK premiere there this week. "A young black artist meets an older white art collector. A gospel choir emerges from an infinity pool. A mother stops at nothing to save her son's soul. In this Bel Air tale of love and family, intimacy is a commodity and the surreal gets real. When it's summer every day, when even is it?" Read more and book tickets here.


THREE ONLINE THINGS>>

Old Friends | The Cockpit | 23-24 Mar
And now for some stuff to take in at home, wherever you are, via the magic of the internet. And this show from writer and performer Tamara Micner - a "90s sleepover" to be delivered through the power of Zoom - looks rather good. "How long has it been since you spoke with your childhood best friend? How often do you miss them? Grab a blanket and a pint of Ben & Jerry's and join Tammy for a good old-fashioned sleepover - with a Zoom twist. Complete with PJs, midnight feast and Truth Or Dare… we will reminisce about that one true friend who got away and explore who's replaced them, or hasn't. Can we enjoy the close friendships as adults that we revelled in as kids? When can we finally mourn our friend breakups with ice cream and bad TV?" Click here.

Ethical Matters: The Meat Paradox | Conway Hall | 28 Mar
"'Should we eat animals?' was, until recently, a question reserved for moral philosophers and an ethically minded minority, but it is now posed on restaurant menus and supermarket shelves, on social media and morning television. The recent surge in popularity for veganism in the UK, Europe and North America has created a rupture in the rites and rituals of meat, challenging the cultural narratives that sustain our omnivory". This sounds like an interesting talk at Conway Hall (for yes, it's on in-person, as well as via Zoom, so you can actually go and be there in the flesh if you want to). It's by writer, campaigner and food policy expert Rob Percival, writer of 'The Meat Paradox', which looks at our relationship with meat and how society can balance needing to eat with wishing to be kind, basically. For more info and to book, see this page here.

Piss and Bile | The Space | 22-26 Mar (pictured)
This is yet another live and in-person show that you can absolutely see at The Space, but which I have put in the online section because there will be an opportunity to see it online. So, London dwellers who are looking for an out, don't scroll on by, especially as this promises to be a hilarious show about being a sad twenty-something. "Have you ever found yourself experiencing that feeling of being stuck? Of feeling listless and unanchored, peppered with flashes of total existential dread? Are you constantly questioning whether you can ever be successful, fulfilled, financially stable or even happy? Same". Head to the venue website here to find out more.


THREE COMEDY THINGS>>

Arabs Are Not Funny | Canada Water Theatre | 26 Mar (pictured)
I feel as though we've been neglecting the comedy a bit lately and I am not quite sure why. Perhaps there was less of it in the last few weeks or perhaps we just got distracted by too much alluring theatre. But that's a very good reason to make sure we have a distinct comedy section this week, I reckon. And we start with 'Arabs Are Not Funny', which, I must assure you up front, is not a show by racists saying bad things. On the contrary - as I am pretty sure you won't be surprised to hear, or may well already know, given that it's a regular thing - it's a stand up night featuring comedians with 'roots in the Arab world'. And this particular line up involves some absolute crackers: MC Isabelle Farah appears alongside Esther Manito, Celya AB, Talal Karkouti and Hilal Kassem. For more info on all the acts and to book tickets, head to this page here.

Lucy Porter & Brenda Gilhooly: Add And Delete | The Bill Murray | 28 Mar
This looks to me like a recipe for success: the excellent pairing of Lucy Porter and Brenda Gilhooly in a chat show where guests get to airbrush their lives a bit. Here's an explanation of how it works: "Guests tell Lucy and Brenda about their triumphs and tragedies, and they get to add some things they wish they'd done, and delete some of the stuff they're less proud of. Using the magic of (amateurish) photoshop, low-tech video editing, live performance and with a little help from some famous friends, Lucy and Brenda create a new and improved version of their guests' life stories. Expect laughter, tears, shocking revelations, and almost inevitably some nudity". Hurrah. Click here.

Sorry | The Free Association | 26 Mar
You may (or may not) know that we are big fans of improv here at TW Towers, and have been for a very long time, taking in our first improv comedy shows when were pretty much toddlers. Well, young people away from home for the first time, which is similar. There are, of course, always lots of opportunities in London to see improv comedy. But a lot of them are regular shows that just keep going on and coming back, courtesy of organisations/venues like The Free Association, and because they are always there, we sometimes forget to talk about them. Anyway, we are recommending a show on at The Free Association this week from 'supergroup sensation' Sorry - aka Liz Kingsman, Alison Thea-Skot, Sophia Broido and Naomi Petersen. Head to this page here to book your tickets.


THREE INTERESTING SHORT RUNS>>

I Miss Amy Winehouse | The Lion & Unicorn Theatre | 22-26 Mar (pictured)
Yes, I miss Amy Winehouse too, which is why this show jumped out at me when I was attempting to work my way through all the stuff that's on in London this week. I should also explain, probably, that like the previous three tips, this is a comedy show, so would have been just as at home in the previous section, but the comedy section was so full it spilled out into the next one. It will, of course, deal with some rather serious themes like grief and death, but you should expect that stuff to be dealt with very deftly by excellent writer/comedian/journo Suchandrika Chakrabarti, who "spent her youth partying in Camden, but sadly never got to meet her musical hero. She'll take you back in time to put that right". More here.

This Be The Verse | Hen & Chickens | 24-26 Mar
And from comedy to a more theatrical experience for you, and just the sort of thing we at TW get excited about, a collection of short plays. 'This Be The Verse' consists of three works, all investigating the same theme - difficult relationships between parents and children - with each writer taking a look at a different character and situation. The results promise to be "hilarious, frustrating, and cathartic", while also touching on some sensitive subject matter with references to suicide and bereavement. There's 'Anadiplosis' by Will Bishop, 'Canary' by Colm Gleeson and 'Just Be Good' by Billie Collins, and it all looks rather promising, in my humble opinion. For more information and to book your tickets, head to the Unrestricted View website here.

Pink Mango Does The Birth Of Venus | Pleasance Theatre | 25+28 Mar
"When two alien women wash up on the shores of Earth all the way from Venus to lose their virginity, they are in for a shock to discover what lies before them". Yes, it does sound a bit crazy, I agree, but don't be afraid, you'll be in safe hands with energetic comedy duo Pink Mango (yes, this is more comedy that fell out of the comedy bag), who promise a "dance filled risqué journey of a lifetime". This is another of those shows that was supposed to be on at the sadly cancelled Vault Festival, but was - I think - on at the Brighton Fringe last summer to a very positive reception. Anyway, I think you'll find this will be lots of fun. Click here to find out more.


THREE FAB THEATRE SHOWS>>

Who You Are And What You Do | Bread & Roses Theatre | 22 Mar-2 Apr
Right, some more theatre for you, but stuff that's running a bit shorter than the theatre we told you about at the top, so don't dally, because it all looks very very good. First up is an in-house Bread & Roses production, 'Who You Are And What You Do' by Hugh Dichmont, a 2019 Bread & Roses Playwriting Award Winning play, directed by Bread & Roses Emerging Director 2020/1 Tom Ward. The piece tells a number of interweaving stories about the social pressure to be consistently happy, and explores themes of conflict, addiction and "struggles of searching for the best version of ourselves". Read more about it here.

Psychodrama | Battersea Arts Centre | 23 Mar-9 Apr
"Racing across the savage inner-landscape of the human mind, two unlikely (anti)heroes pursue a nightmare vision of freedom through spiraling episodes of intense sensuality and phantasmagoric violence. A celebration of the corrosive power of storytelling that asks who are all those voices inside your head? And how did they get there? And if you could silence those voices… would you?" Excellent UK/Spanish experimental theatre group Sleepwalk Collective and writer, performer and musician Christopher Brett Bailey are behind this really compelling sounding presentation and I am most intrigued: "A gooey, drippy dream of a show, a pop-cultural exorcism, a runaway train riding a burnt synapse through the centre of your skull". Yikes. Click here.

Human Nurture | Soho Theatre | 22-26 Mar (pictured)
And so to our final recommendation for the week, which, I'll warn you, has already sold out its first two performances, so make sure you get in there and book your tickets if you want to see it. It's 'Human Nurture' by Ryan Calais Cameron, and it's about Roger and Harry, whose friendship is so close and enduring that they could be brothers: they share everything, except race, as one of them - Roger - is black, and one of them - Harry - is white. "When Roger is rehomed, Harry is left behind in the care system, and these brothers start to walk down different paths. When Roger returns to celebrate Harry's birthday, his new name Runaku isn't the only change, and this dream reunion becomes much more complicated". Read more and book your tickets here.
At TW:CULTURE we champion the best in fringe theatre, comedy and culture.

Year round, we pick the best shows happening in London and online each week, providing handy Three To See recommendations and interviewing the people behind those productions.

Plus each summer we also cover the biggest cultural event in the world: The Edinburgh Festival.


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