MONDAY 23 MAY 2022 THISWEEKCULTURE.COM
GEOFF NORCOTT: I BLAME THE PARENTS
Headed to the New Wimbledon Theatre shortly, for the final date on a fairly lengthy UK tour, is comedian Geoff Norcott. 

The show's called 'I Blame The Parents', and in it Norcott asks what happened to the idea of personal responsibility in a world where it seems to him that whatever is wrong with your life can be blamed on someone or anything else. So… is it the parents' fault? 

The acclaimed stand-up explores that topic through anecdotes from his own childhood and, of course, plenty of jokes. 

I arranged a quick chat to find out more about the show, and about Geoff himself. 

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

Geoff Norcott performs 'I Blame The Parents' at the New Wimbledon Theatre on 29 May. For more info and to book tickets see this page here.
With August getting closer, next week we will begin our coverage of Edinburgh Festival 2022, with regular Edinburgh-related interviews here in the TW Weekly. Meanwhile, you can already tell us about your show or apply to join the review team...

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Shows to see in person in London - and online anywhere - including performances from people and companies we first discovered at the Edinburgh Festival.


THREE CHILDREN'S SHOWS>>

Science Adventures: The Power Pickle | Little Angel Theatre | 30-31 May
More children's shows for you in this first three to see section today. Not least because they're all available from this coming weekend and anyone with children knows that this coming weekend is the start of the half term holiday. And if you're in charge of kids and had forgotten that half term starts this weekend, you're welcome for the reminder and I hope it wasn't too much of a shock. If it was, this might cheer you up as it's an educational yet entertaining sounding show that explores science using fun, accessible themes suitable for a primary school aged audience. Click here.

Party | Half Moon Theatre | 27 May, 10-11 Jun (pictured)
Let's head over now to the Half Moon Theatre for 'Party', which is a show aimed at a younger demographic - ages two to six - which promises to be funny and colourful, and to feature nice music. "Afonso wants to go to his best friend's birthday party, but where is his invitation - has it been lost in the post or maybe he wasn't even invited? When it finally arrives the excitement and nerves become too much to handle. What should he wear? Will they have balloons? Will anyone play with him? And what about the cake?" For more info and to book see this page here.

Snow White | Polka Theatre | 27 May-5 Jun
"In a wild and windswept land, far, far away, a cruel queen is assured by her magic mirror that her beauty surpasses all others. Until one day, the mirror proclaims that Snow White is the fairest in the land… Join our charmingly cheerful heroine as she escapes her hilariously homicidal stepmother with help from a family of feisty woods-dwelling, banjo-strumming, washboard-wearing vegans". This sounds like a rather fun adaptation of the classic Grimm tale, "overflowing with wit and charm", and is again suitable for a roughly primary aged audience, as the suggested age range is five plus. Read more here.


THREE CALM DOWN DEAR SHOWS>>

Shall We Just Retire To The Lake? | Camden People's Theatre | 27 May
Hurrah, here comes another festival from Camden People's Theatre to look forward to, and you won't have to look forward for long because it starts imminently. It's one of the venue's biggest events - the Calm Down Dear festival - which focuses on women and feminism, and this year is curated by TW faves Figs In Wigs. There are loads and loads of shows, which is why I found it hard to limit myself to just one choice from what's on in the coming seven days, so I decided to pick three. And one of them is this, 'Shall We Just Retire To The Lake?', which is a cabaret-dance-theatre duet that uses satire and humour to expose outdated gender roles and explore how to subvert them. Click here.

Goo:Ga | Camden People's Theatre | 24 May-11 Jun
Here's one from the line up for those of you who can't make it to the actual venue - or maybe those of you who would like to take in something digitally as well as going to see some shows in-person. "In 2016, Hannah Ballou made the first incarnation of 'Goo:Ga', a live art comedy show, when she was eight months pregnant with her first child. Five years later, Ballou is expecting her second. The biological process is the same, but everything else could not be more different; her five year old wants in on the action, one co-star is in an urn, she's haunted by the ghosts of miscarriages past, and honestly she just cannot get as worked up about kid number two". Read more here.

Max Velocity Takes Up Space | Camden People's Theatre | 24 May (pictured)
"Three men are upturning the traditional model for spaceflight and shaping a new era. Some people don't understand this, but Max Velocity does and wants in on it. Max wants to be a space cowboy; a pioneer, a man on the edge of glory, he just needs to know you've got his back if it all goes balls up". Cambridge based theatre-maker and improviser Carla Keen is Max Velocity, in a show that promises an interactive, intergalactic planetary comedy experience, and includes mullet based humour and non-mullet based songs. So that sounds to me like a recipe for a great show. Find out more and book your tickets here. Oh, and look at the full Calm Down Here line up here, please, as I can't mention everything!


THREE FUNNY SHOWS>>

London Comedy Allstars | Underbelly Festival (Cavendish Square) | 27 May
This week I've been thinking a lot about stand-up and other types of comedy, not least because edfringe comedy press releases have been popping into my inbox with increasing regularity, but also because I am very much in need of a belly laugh. I'm thinking that the line up of comedians for this show at the Underbelly Festival is very likely to induce a whole lot of belly laughs if you're feeling the same need. 'London Comedy Allstars' is happening every Friday until the end of July, and this week's acts include lots of TW favourites: Nabil Abdulrashid, Jessica Fostekew, Joz Norris, Zoe Lyons and Abigoliah Schamaun. Head to this page here to book your tickets.

Nathan Caton: Let's Talk About Vex | Soho Theatre | 25-28 May (pictured)
Yay, more TW favourites! Well, in this case I guess it's just the one favourite, not a line-up, that favourite being the very excellent Nathan Caton doing a lovely big long show called 'Let's Talk About Vex', and doing it over quite a few nights too, which is nice. You're probably all aware of how good a comedian he is, so I probably don't need to sell this too hard, but I will just call on the show blurb to tell you a little more about what to expect: "A lot has happened since Caton last hit the road with his sensational 'The Pursuit Of Happiness' tour. As ever, he's got it all tackled in this hilarious show, covering topics such as race, politics, his passion for scented candles and being in lockdown with his girlfriend". Click here.

Shaken Not Stirred: The Improvised James Bond Film | Rosemary Branch Theatre | 27 May
"'No Time To Die' has been pulled from cinemas across the world. Desperate, Hollywood producers search for a new James Bond film. Tom Hiddleston is busy. Idris Elba has said no. Even Pierce Brosnan refuses to get involved… Armed only with your suggestions, and in the style of the world's favourite spy, Alexander Fox, Dom O'Keefe and Scott Oswald give it a shot. For your eyes only". You know how much we love improv here at TW Towers, so no surprise that we would be interested in recommending an improvised James Bond film. Definitely expect good and funny things from this acclaimed troupe. Head this way for all the details.


THREE MUSICALS>>

Tomorrow May Be My Last | Old Red Lion Theatre | 24 May-11 Jun
Look at this, we've got a whole section of rhythmical treats for all you musical lovers this week, so I hope and expect you'll all be very drawn to at least one of them. If you are a Janis Joplin fan, then it's highly likely to be this one, a one-woman show about the iconic artist by singer-songwriter and actor Collette Cooper. The (already acclaimed) production features all the big Joplin hits as well as original material. Set against the backdrop of a Woodstock-style music festival, it promises to paint a candid picture of the singer's life and troubled genius. For more information and to book tickets, head to the venue website here.

The Concrete Jungle Book | Pleasance Theatre | 26 May-11 Jun (pictured)
It's not the first time we've tipped this particular show - indeed, I think this is the third time - because we mentioned it back in its early days in 2017, and then again when it was on in London last September. But it's a great show and I want to recommend it again, especially as it has a nice long run this time around, plus this is also an updated and expanded version. It's what the title kind of conveys - a version of 'The Jungle Book' set in inner city Britain, featuring live rap music, grime, reggae and spoken word. "As the jungle's trees become tower blocks, Mo(wgli) navigates her way through relationships, unstable housing conditions and hostile creatures, trying to find the parental figures she has always longed for". Click here.

The Lion | Southwark Playhouse | 25 May-25 Jun
"With a guitar in hand, Ben confronts his turbulent life's journey from a rift in his childhood to his own brush with mortality. During 70 minutes of songs, monologues and virtuosic guitar playing, Ben tells an inspiring story of love, loss, despair and hope that reminds us how, even in our darkest moments, music, family and community can help us find our true voice and the strength to 'weather the storm'". An award winning one man folk musical telling an autobiographical story of survival, originally performed by its American creator Benjamin Scheuer back in 2014, gets a first revival at Southwark Playhouse with Max Alexander-Taylor taking the role of Ben. Read more and book your tickets here.


THREE SHORT THEATRE RUNS>>

A Thousand Paper Cuts Still Skin Deep | Baron's Court Theatre | 24-28 May (pictured)
Right, enough of all that music and comedy stuff, time to get back to theatre. And this here is a show at Baron's Court Theatre that's got me all intrigued. 'A Thousand Paper Cuts Still Skin Deep', written by Hector TJ Huang, is set in Taipei and London and has an East-Asian all-LGBTQ+ cast. It sounds like it's angsty but also humorous, which is good. "Two timelines, two cities and four queer friends. One anonymous hookup, one ex-(platonic) girlfriend, one potential boyfriend, and 1000 paper cuts that hurt way much more than they appear to - they cut deep into your soul where nobody can see". Find out more on the venue website here.

Aphiemi | Golden Goose Theatre | 24-28 May
"Oliver arrives at his family home, twenty years since he was last there. He finds the home unchanged and his younger sister Lainy now caring for their elderly mother. Bad memories of their childhood come flooding back and Oliver asks for his sister's help in bringing some peace to their lives, but for this he will need the ultimate forgiveness from his sister". This is kind of one for you fans of ancient Greek tragedy (I know there must be hundreds of you out there), as it's a re-imagining of Aeschylus' 'The Libation Bearers', written by Vicki Berwick and directed by David Frias-Robles. Head this way to book your tickets.

Chewfest | Lion & Unicorn Theatre | 23-28 May
And finally in this section, not a play but a festival. Actually, it's described as a "multi-arts festival", so perhaps it's not strictly a theatre festival, but I don't know, looking through all the events it seems like most of it is theatrical in some way, so it can stay here in this section and hopefully feel at home. Anyway, this festival is brought to you by OFFIE winners Chewboy Productions, working in in association with Gutter Street, Visability Film Festival, Proforca Theatre and Yellow Hat Productions to create events focusing on the surreal, the abstract and the experimental. Head to the Lion & Unicorn website here to find out more.


THREE EVEN SHORTER THEATRE RUNS>>

A Room Of One's Own | Greenwich Theatre | 27-28 May
Final section, and it's even more theatre, all of it good, but not on for very long, so don't let your chances to see these shows pass you by. We're heading first to the good old Greenwich Theatre for a rather interesting production, in which Rebecca Vaughan performs a Twenty First Century take on Virginia Woolf's 1928 exploration of the impact of poverty and sexual inequality on intellectual freedom and creativity. "Take a wry, amusing and incisive trip through the history of literature, feminism and gender. Meet Charlotte Brontë, Jane Austen, Aphra Behn, and Shakespeare's sister - Judith! Travel to the far-flung future of… 2028. But whatever you do, Keep Off The Grass". Click here.

Tubes And Tribulations | The Hope Theatre | 29-30 May
"23 year old Lexie spends a lot of her life on the Tube. And if she's honest, the Underground is pretty much the only place her life makes any kind of sense. She's pretty sure life isn't meant to feel this empty, that it shouldn't just be about a job you hate and the growing feeling you're being left behind, but maybe she isn't meant for more than that. But one night she has a drunken and unexpectedly vulnerable moment with a stranger on a platform - a stranger who seems purposeful, put together, and frankly everything she's not. Can a chance encounter, fuelled by a little fate and a lot of alcohol, change everything?" A new play, written and directed by Vivi Bayliss, that's rather caught my attention. See this page here for info.

Za'atar Rain | The Space | 24-27 May (pictured)
Finally, let's head to The Space (or not, actually, if you can't, because you can see this via livestream on 26 and 27 May) for another fascinating sounding show: "Maya is haunted by telephone calls and weird visions, only to discover that behind them stands a Lebanese girl called Luna, who implores her to come to Beirut. As Maya lives in Israel, Luna's request should be impossible to turn into reality, but she is compelled to embark on this journey. The encounters she has along the way, with Elon Musk, a sarcastic pigeon with a penchant for ABBA, a no-nonsense Jordanian Border guard and a sheep with a Scottish accent, punctuate and propel this journey into forbidden territory". See, fascinating. Get 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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