MONDAY 30 MAY 2022 THISWEEKCULTURE.COM
NICO RAO PIMPARÉ: RAINER
This week sees the return to Arcola Theatre's Outside Space of award winning one woman show 'Rainer', following a short but critically acclaimed run at the venue in 2021. 

The play - written by Max Wilkinson and directed by Nico Rao Pimparé - stars Sorcha Kennedy in the title role: she plays Rainer, a delivery driver, and the play explores her life and relationships against the backdrop of gig-economy London. 

The creative team involved in this production is just bursting with talent, and I wanted to find out more about the play and about them. So I arranged a chat one of those talents - the show's director Nico Rao Pimparé. 

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

'Rainer' is on at Arcola Outside from 1-18 Jun. For more information and to book your tickets, head to the venue website here.
TOM WARD: ANTHEM
Comedian Tom Ward returns to Edinburgh this August with a brand new show, and a much celebrated 'Live At The Apollo' debut behind him, so - naturally - we are all expecting rather good - and typically offbeat and whimsical - things.

If you've somehow managed to miss his work so far, let us fill you in a bit on his achievements of the last few years: he's done three critically acclaimed solo shows at the Fringe, won the Best Newcomer gong at the 2017 Chortle Awards, and supported the likes of Jack Whitehall, Joe Lycett, Jason Manford and Sindhu Vee on tour.

I wanted to talk to Tom about what we can expect from this year's show 'Anthem', how he feels about the Fringe, and his hopes for the future, so I arranged a quick chat to find out more. 

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

Tom Ward performs 'Anthem' at Monkey Barrel Comedy from 3-28 Aug. See the edfringe website here for info and to book tickets.
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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 FUNNY SHOWS>>

Comedy At The King's Head | King's Head Theatre | 5 June
I'm in quite a good mood this week, it has to be said, because aside from the occasional rain, there's been lots of sunshine and a fair amount of warmth, as well as other nice things happening. But despite all that, I still have a bit of a yearning to be cheered even further by getting performers to make me laugh. And with that in mind, I perused comical offerings available in London this week and chose three things that I thought might fit the bill. Here's the first, 'Comedy At The King's Head', which features two very acclaimed and funny women, Sophie Duker and Sara Barron. For more information and to book tickets head to this page here.

Live At The Chapel | Union Chapel | 4 Jun
We're sticking with the funnies, obviously, as it's a section for funny stuff, but we're moving on to the Union Chapel for another line up of fabulous comedians. This lot aren't exclusively female like at the King's Head, but you know, you can't have everything. Fortunately, there is one woman - the excellent Amy Gledhill - and a bunch of admittedly also brilliant men (see, I'm not actually a misandrist), individually named Reginald D Hunter, Jamali Maddix and host Andrew Maxwell. It's a veritable soup of TW favourites. I wouldn't be surprised if tickets are flying away, so head to the venue website here ASAP to get your tickets booked.

The Still Room | Park Theatre | 1-25 Jun (pictured)
This is theatre, but it's described as a "dark and sexy black comedy", so you can expect some funny stuff here too. "Janice is a banquet waitress in a small, struggling hotel that is readying itself to host the 'Miss North West' competition in a bid to revive their floundering fortunes. In the still room, where the waiters wait, Janice also waits for her O Level results... if she gets less than four, her father says she has to move out. Bored to death and struggling to see how she can leave her home town, everything changes when a new waitress arrives. She is different to the other waiting staff, her confidence and bold ideas challenge Janice's own perceptions of the world. So begins a chain of events that will change everything". More here.


THREE FAMILY OUTING SHOWS>>

The Kiss That Missed | Greenwich Theatre | 2-3 Jun (pictured)
Okay, and on from comedy to something for the family, not least because of the half term holiday. Two of them are for younger audiences, the other not so much. This one is suitable for primary school aged children and it's based on the picture book by David Melling that's a bit of a classic now, given that it's about twenty years since it was published. It's adapted by actor and storyteller John Brolly and produced by the Minack Theatre, with original music from Ben Sutcliffe. "The Little Prince's goodnight kiss has gone missing. It's escaped into the forest where it has no business to be, so the brave and fearless knight is sent on a mission to bring it back... But is he brave and fearless enough?" Ace. Click here.

Lily And Bear | ArtsDepot | 5 Jun
"Lily likes nothing better than to imagine and draw the things she loves. She draws cats and birds, boats and houses, and one day she draws a bear who comes to life. Lily and Bear play pirates, sing, and partake in all manner of bear activities, discovering the joys of sharing along the way". Another show for small ones, and another based on a picture book, and though this one's less venerable in terms of age than the previous one (it was published in 2015), it's quickly become a well loved work. This is a musical adaptation with animation and puppets and sounds all kinds of lovely. Recommended for younger children aged up to six years - head to the venue website here for all the details.

Line Of Fire | Crypt | 1-5 Jun
This one's here because I think it would make a great family outing, but your family does need to consist of older people, really, as this is only recommended for those over the age of fourteen. I do think that it would be fun for older teens though, so bear with me. 'Line Of Fire' is on at Crypt, which, as those of you who have been paying attention will know, is a venue run by Parabolic Theatre, which stages work of the immersive kind. This show is by emerging company Cross Stitch Theatre and is an interactive 1940s set murder-mystery. "Another air raid, another body in a bombed out building, another senseless victim of war. This corpse, however, is different. The man died before the bomb fell. With the powers that be deeming his death unimportant, no one can bring this young man justice. No one that is, except you". Click here.


THREE THEATRE SHOWS STARTING THIS WEEK>>

No Particular Order | Theatre503 | 31 May-18 Jun (pictured, photo by Eivind Hansen)
Time for some definitely grown up theatre now, and all of these are on for a fair few dates so you can either see them this week or plan ahead. Definitely make a date in your diary, though, for this play by acclaimed playwright Joel Tan, shortlisted in the 2018 Theatre503 International Playwriting Award. It's a play that spans 320 years and depicts the unfolding of life under a despotic power via snapshots of ordinary people's existence. "Through the lives of ornithologists, bureaucrats, soldiers and tour guides, 'No Particular Order' charts the fall, rise and continuation of a single society, asking the same repeated question 'Is it empathy, or power, that endures?'" Learn more here.

Starcrossed | Wilton's Music Hall | 1-25 Jun
And now over to Wilton's Music Hall for a twist on a Shakespeare classic - do I need to name it? You know from the title, don't you? Alright, I'll make it clear, it's 'Romeo And Juliet', but in this version it seems that it's not really the time-honoured doomed couple taking precedence in the proceedings; in fact, it could probably have been renamed 'Tybalt And Mercutio'. For yes, in this critically acclaimed play by Rachel Garnet - which premiered at the New York International Fringe Festival in 2018 - those sworn enemies are secret lovers, "separated by family feuds but drawn together by an unexpected love and passion that cannot be ignored...or admitted". Head to the venue website here for more information and to book your tickets.

The Haunting Of Susan A | King's Head Theatre | 1-26 Jun
"In the very middle of this room - on this spot right here - two men would be beating at each other with their fists. No referee, no holds barred, no rules... All that fear and adrenaline and anger - it must have left an echo in this room". A new, site-responsive play from a playwright that needs no introduction - and who is, of course, currently co-artistic director at King's Head Theatre - Mark Ravenhill. It's a piece that explores the power of the mind to see the unseen, and how past cruelties can haunt the present, and is inspired by the writer's love of the work of MR James. "Are you ready to unravel the mystery of Susan A? Not for the easily frightened". I'm sure you're all up to the challenge though - see the listing here for details and to sort out your tickets.


THREE THEATRE SHORT STOPS>>

Foundations | New Wimbledon Theatre Studio | 5 Jun
All of the shows in this section are doing shorter-than-short runs, so there's no room for complacency here - you have to act quickly or miss out. First up is 'Foundations' at the New Wimbledon Theatre, which is probably also another candidate for a family show, if you're looking for such a thing, as it's described as suitable for audiences aged nine to 99. "MJ is a human who is sick of moving boxes around all day like a robot. Pins is a robot who doesn't fit into the underground. When they meet in the space between their worlds, they form a friendship that blurs the boundaries between human and machine. A Pixar movie brought to life on stage using physical theatre and puppetry, 'Foundations' is a whimsical production that tackles what it means to be human in an age of technology". Intrigued? Click here.

I Love You But F*ck Off | Camden People's Theatre | 31 May (pictured)
You will surely not have forgotten that Camden People's Theatre is currently staging its feminist festival Calm Down Dear at the moment, and although we haven't dedicated a full section to it this week, we're very much aware that there's lots going on and frankly you all need to take a look at the full line up here. But the show I was most attracted to when looking at what's on this week is 'I Love You But F*ck Off', admittedly initially because of the somewhat provocative title, but I was also drawn in by the contents of the show, in which a mum and daughter duo "attempt to untangle themselves from one another and retrace the events that defined them without ending up in a close spoon or physical fight". For more info and to book yourself in, get along to this page here.

Offside | multiple venues | 6, 7-8, 17, 27-28 Jun
It's not the first time we have tipped Sabrina Mahfouz and Hollie McNish's 'Offside', but it's been a few years since then, plus even if I'd tipped it last month I'd probably want to tip it again because it's great, and it won much critical acclaim when it was on tour back in 2017 and 2018. Now it's on tour again and you can see it in four London venues, two of which are football clubs. For yes, if you hadn't realised yet, this is a play about football, specifically women's football, and its effect on different generations of women. It's on at Greenwich Theatre on 6 Jun, at Leyton Orient FC on 7+8 Jun, at The Library at Willesden Green on 17 Jun, and at Queens Park Rangers FC on 27+28 Jun. In between those dates, it's calling at a number of regional venues, so take a look at this page here if you're interested in seeing it outside London.


THREE MORE INTERESTING SHOWS>>

The Collab | The Space | 31 May-11 Jun
And finally, onto the mixed bag, which is actually two thirds theatre, and definitely interesting theatre too. This one, as is often the case now with shows on at The Space, can be seen via livestream as well as in the flesh, which is nice. "Ella Blair is a rising star in the online video scene. Together with the help of her friend, Kat Daniels, a budding fashion photographer, Ella is building a platform and a business around sustainable fashion. When an opportunity arises to 'collab' with superstar influencer Max Jessup on his latest video art project, Ella jumps headlong into it...but at what cost? A story about fame, friendship and the #MeToo era in the online sphere". Click here.

Dreamers 夢中人 | Omnibus Theatre | 6-11 Jun (pictured)
"To dream 發夢: a 2019 Hong Kong euphemism for attending a protest. Don't say you protested, say 'I dreamed I was out on the street last night' and by keeping it at that remove, in the real unreal, maybe you can talk about what happened without paying a price for it. The price was paid: the introduction of the National Security Law by the Beijing government in 2020 saw the destruction of the free press, mass arrests of the democratic opposition and the seeming end to a 30 year tradition of holding a public vigil for Tiananmen. What of the dreamers, and their dreams, now?" Papergang Theatre present this "difficult show to make", an exploration of the aftermath of the 2019 Hong Kong protests. Click here.

Liszt Mosaics | Sadler's Wells | 3 Jun
And so to our final tip for the week, a fab sounding dance performance focussing on the music of Franz Liszt and his peers - alongside some of the finest pieces of Hungary's national romanticism that inspired him - and uniting folk music elements with classical works and traditional choreography from Hungarian culture. The show will feature musicians and dancers from the Hungarian State Folk Ensemble of Budapest, plus artists such as violinists Alexandre da Costa and István Pál Szalonna, Maestro Oleg Caetani, the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra and folk singer Eszter Pál. Book tickets and find loads of info about exactly what music to expect here.
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