MONDAY 2 MAY 2022 THISWEEKCULTURE.COM
STELLA POWELL-JONES: ORLANDO
Last week - in our weekly show recommendations - we let you know about the imminence of Jermyn Street's current production of US playwright Sarah Ruhl's adaptation of Virginia Woolf's 'Orlando'. 

Having written about it in the Three To See tips, I was keen to know more about the show and those involved in bringing it to the stage. 

The show is directed by the venue's former deputy director Stella Powell-Jones. So, I arranged a quick chat with her to find out about the play, and a bit about Stella herself. 

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

'Orlando' is on at Jermyn Street Theatre until 28 May. See the venue website here for more information and to book tickets.
Shows to see in person in London - and online anywhere - including performances from people and companies we first discovered at the Edinburgh Festival.


THREE FESTIVALS>>

Resolution Festival | The Place | 7 May-10 Jun (pictured)
Hurrah, today we are beginning with festivals, and I'll start with a reminder that the two we were talking about last week - Peckham Fringe and Come What May - are still very much ongoing, before I move on to the three that are kicking off this week. First up, for dance fans, it's the excellent Resolution Festival at The Place, which this year offers 22 nights showcasing short premiere performances from 66 emerging artists. There are so many nights and so many artists that it's really hard to even consider picking any out above the rest - so maybe you should just pick a night - or nights - when you know you are free and take in what's on offer. Or, have a look at the line-up here to decide which showcases most take your fancy.

Brighton Fringe digital programme | online | 6 May-5 Jun
Yay, Brighton Fringe - a festival we very much have a soft spot for here at TW Towers - begins this week, and it's full of appearances by TW favourites: the likes of Rosie Wilby (there with 'The Breakup Monologues'), Nathan Cassidy and Triptych Theatre. It's also not far from London on the train, so if the idea of a culture-led day trip interests you, take a look at the programme here. So much good stuff. But, on the basis that probably most of our readers can't make it down to the seaside, I thought we would mainly focus on the small but beautifully formed digital programme, which, like the in-person line up, is full of good things: shows like 'Planet Of The Grapes' from the super Peter Michael Marino; 'Disenchanted' - a cabaret of twisted fairy tales; and Cheryl Ho and Rachel Lee's '落叶归根 Getting Home'. To see all the shows available online go to this page here and click on the 'digital events' button near the top to filter. Happy choosing.

Circ Catala | Jacksons Lane | 4-12 May
This, I think, could be more accurately described as a 'strand', really, but 'Circ Catala' - a collection of shows taking place at Jacksons Lane - is part of 'Spotlight On Catalan Culture In The UK', an arts and culture festival running until June. The venue is hosting three very different Catalan circus events. Clown of world renown Leandre brings new company Leandre Clown to perform 'N'Importe Quoi'. Sílvia Capell brings 'Homenaje', a dark comedy combining music, text and circus to explore grief and the acceptance of pain. And Circ Pistolet present 'Quan No Tocàvem De Peus A Terra' ('Without Feet On The Ground'), which sees two friends exploring their memories and travelling back through their past to the days of childhood. For a list of the shows and links to individual listings, head to the venue website here.


THREE SAPPHIC SHOWS>>

Ladyfriends | Camden People's Theatre | 6-7 May
And now, onto some theatre with vaguely similar themes, in that they are all looking at lesbian issues. This one looks like it explores the tendency of society to deny the historical existence of lesbians: "Annie and Christabel are dating. Historians dispute this on the grounds of 'inaccuracies' and 'lack of scholastic rigour' and 'the over-interpretation of the fact that women shared bedrooms'. 'Ladyfriends' is a high-octane romp through love letters, third dates, and lesbian period dramas - via the (probably) true stories of Annie Kenney and Christabel Pankhurst. Rammed with live music and film, it digs up real-life queer history to ask the age-old question: 'are we dating, or are we just really good friends?'" Click here for more.

The Ministry Of Lesbian Affairs | Soho Theatre | 5 May-11 Jun (pictured)
"When banks and sandwich shops have more pride than we do, where can we go to be with our tribe? It's 2022. There's a rainbow flag in every high street window and no lesbian bar. Enter The Ministry Of Lesbian Affairs: a lesbian choir on a mission to unite a disparate and dwindling community. Led by a world-weary conductor, the choir flirt, gossip and attempt to sing their way onto the main stage at Pride". The brilliant Iman Qureshi is the writer behind this musical comedy, directed by Hannah Hauer King, which promises to be a heartwarming piece about "love, queerness, and belonging". Tickets look like they are going fast, so head this way soon if you want to see it early in the run.

Juniper And Jules | Soho Theatre | 3-14 May
We're staying at Soho Theatre for 'Juniper And Jules', which is about "relationships, queer identities, and how we choose to love", and is also a past winner of Show Of The Week at Vault Festival. Here's who it's all about: "Juniper has liked girls, (only girls), for as long as she can remember. Jules didn't realise she could like girls because no-one ever told her it was an option. Jules isn't naturally monogamous, she doesn't think. She's always liked to be different. She wants to make new rules. Juniper is more interested in peace and quiet and happiness (and making sure the washing-up gets done by bedtime)". Visit the venue website here for all the info and to book tickets.


THREE RUNS STARTING THIS WEEK>>

Untitled Sparkly Vampire Play | Omnibus Theatre | 3-21 May (pictured)
And now it's time for some theatre without a connecting theme, but which are all running for a fair amount of time. First up is the amusingly titled 'Untitled Sparkly Vampire Play' from Ashley Milne which, as you might expect, has a connection to 'Twilight', and is described as a "reaction to compulsory heterosexuality, obsessive teenage girldom, and the feeling of being young and entirely alone", so I am very interested in seeing it, I must confess. "Izzy is trying to run a Twilight book club. She's sunk a lot of man hours into it. It really has to go well. Only her secret boyfriend, Edward Cullen, keeps rocking up to split apples in two, think about sucking her blood, and work through an identity crisis. And maybe, possibly, she's realising that she could find actual, real love with someone actually real". Read more about it here.

Foxes | Seven Dials Theatre | 3 May-11 Jun
This isn't the first run of 'Foxes' and I know that we have tipped it before, but that's because it's really good - award nominated - and you all should see it, and my opinion on this has not changed at all. I expect at least some of our readership has seen it already, but for those of you who have not, let's fill you in a bit. The play, set among London's Caribbean community, is the debut work of Dexter Flanders, who explores the complexities of sexual identity and its potential impact on those around you. "When one kiss has the power to destroy everything, one young black man struggles to keep up". For more info and to book tickets, see this page here.

24, 23, 22 | Omnibus Theatre | 3-21 May
"It's just a day. Just an ordinary day. At the beginning of the day, Fran is late for work. At the end of the day, Brendan is bleeding out in the street. It's a day where time begins to flow forwards and spiral backwards for these two strangers. Music pulses. Beats blast. Fran progresses through the worst day of her life. Brendan rewinds through the last day of his life. Soon they'll meet in the middle, and we'll find out what has happened to him, and what will happen to her". This gig theatre show is another you might be already familiar with, I think, because it's one of the works that the excellent Chronic Insanity staged online in 2021, and which we covered at the time in this Q&A with writer Douglas Deans. Great to see it's doing a run at Omnibus Theatre, see this page here to find out more and get your tickets reserved.


THREE INTERESTING EVENTS>>

It Don't Worry Me | New Diorama | 3-7 May (pictured)
I suppose it's a bit of an odd section title, that. I mean, calling these shows 'interesting' might suggest the rest of the shows we're tipping this week aren't interesting or something. I guarantee you, that all the shows recommended here are in fact, very interesting indeed. But, I don't know, I suppose these three have something that maybe makes them a little bit different, and are extra interesting in that way. This show is here because it's described as being "somewhere between theatre, performance art and hallucinogenic experience" which... well, you can't deny that is rather interesting. "Stripped down to their pants and socks, but deadly serious, two performers interrogate the tension between art and political correctness. Meanwhile, three audience members have turned up dressed in the style of Robert Altman's 1975 film 'Nashville', apparently expecting a different show altogether..." Yes, interesting. Click here.

Belarus Free Theatre - The Master Had A Talking Sparrow | Stone Nest | 3-10 May
This one's a little bit different in that it's performed in Belarusian, so might be of particular interest to those who have an understanding of the language, though those without will be provided with an English translation via headset if required. Another way in which it's a little bit different is the fact that dinner and drinks are included in the cost of your ticket, because it's an immersive theatrical dining experience, first performed in Minsk in 2017, which explores the 'hidden histories' of Belarus through the medium of a family's birthday celebrations. It's inspired by Zmitser Bartosik's book of the same name, which tells the stories of Belarusian WW2 survivors, and is presented again now in response to events in Ukraine. Read more here.

Enclosed Spaces | Golden Goose Theatre | 3-7 May
This one's a little bit different in that it's not just one play on offer, it's a collection of four short plays, and you may know how much we at TW Towers enjoy collections of short plays. They are all written by Kia Kielty and Annie Knox, and are connected by the theme of being trapped, but have different characters and styles. One is about two women who connect with each other from separate toilet stalls in a busy nightclub; another sees a duo engaged in a verbal battle while stuck in a lift; a third sees a young woman waiting in a hospital room on the receiving end of questions she doesn't want to answer; and the final play is about a woman trying to hold onto her relationships while battling with her own self-criticism. Read more about it here.


THREE MORE FAB SHOWS>>

Glacier Lake | OSO Arts Centre | 3-8 May
So now we have three fab shows. And I suppose I ought really to clarify that every show that we've recommended today is fab! I just wanted a nice inviting title for this particular section that's mostly theatrical but has something you might call a musical in the middle. First up is this new thriller by very good novelist and former 'Doctor Who' script editor Andrew Cartmel. "Sandy always loved the lake house. After her mother died it became a special retreat for her and her father Otto. Their safe, secret place. But now a young man called Daniel has arrived, with secrets of his own, and troubles to share. These cold mountain waters will show Sandy, Daniel and Otto their reflections all too clearly. And they're deep enough to drown in..." Book here.

Joshua (And Me) | Pleasance Theatre | 3-7 May (pictured)
"Hannah lives by the seaside with Mum, Dad, and two brothers, Ben and Joshua. The brothers are very different. Ben lets Hannah in his room, they play spies together, and, sometimes, he even gives her a hug. These things aren't possible with Joshua. It's like he speaks a different language. We have to learn about each other's worlds, says Mum". This is a one woman show with original music - I told you there was a musical thing in the middle - and it's about being a sibling to someone who is autistic. It's by Rachel Hammond, based on her own life, and stories from other siblings. For more information and to book, see this page here. Oh, and while you're on the Pleasance website, check out 'I Couldn't Do Your Job' too - it's a verbatim play about being a paramedic.

Abigail | The Space | 3-7 May
Final tip for the week is 'Abigail' at The Space, which you also have an opportunity to see a livestream of on 5 May, which is good news for those of you who can't make it along to the theatre. Whenever I hear the name Abigail I think of Salem, which is possibly a testament to the enormous impact 'The Crucible' had on me when I first saw a production of it as a teenager. And this, as I suspected even before I read about it, focuses on the real life character of Abigail Williams and explores the emotional and psychological effects an event like the witch trials might have had on a young girl in this situation. The show promises to create a "world that is alive with music, passion, danger and deceit" rather than the "the staid, inaccessible story of the history books". There are post show Q&As on the 4 May and 5 May too. Check out the venue website here to find out more.
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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