MONDAY 13 JUNE 2022 THISWEEKCULTURE.COM
EMMA BURNELL: TRIGGERED
Coming up at the Lion & Unicorn Theatre this week is a short run of 'Triggered', a play that tells the story of a local dispute within the Labour Party, and explores what happens when personal ambition and the desire to do good come together. 

Emma Burnell, writer and director of the show, has only fairly recently turned to playwriting during the course of a very eclectic career in the political space as a campaigner, public policy professional, writer, commentator and more. So I have for some time been interested in her work, both politically and creatively. 

I wanted to find out more about the play, as well as about Emma herself, so I arranged a chat ahead of opening night.   

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

'Triggered' is on at the Lion & Unicorn Theatre from 20-22 Jun. Find out more about the play on the venue website here.
LIVIA KOJO ALOUR: BLACK SHEEP
One of the things that we love about the Edinburgh Fringe is the presence of so many shows that don't fit neatly into the partitions of the official programme, mixing up different genres and juxtaposing them in innovative and effective ways.

When I heard about 'Black Sheep' - a new solo show by Livia Kojo Alour - I was immediately interested because it's exactly that sort of production, a theatrical blend of different elements brought together by an experienced and renowned sword-swallower and burlesque artist. 

To find out more about the show, and the creative mind behind it, I put some questions to Livia in advance of her full edfringe run. 

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

'Black Sheep' is on at Assembly Rooms from 4-27 Aug. Head to the show listing here to book your tickets. You can find out more about Livia's new poetry collection here.
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Shows to see in person in London - including performances from people and companies we first discovered at the Edinburgh Festival.


THREE FESTIVAL THINGS>>

A Festival Of Korean Dance | The Place | 17-25 Jun (pictured)
I was feeling quite sad about the fact that the Calm Down Dear Festival is over, but then I realised we have other festivals in London to talk about this week and cheered right up. The first is the Festival Of Korean Dance over at The Place, which takes place over the course of just over a week, and is one of those events you might call small but perfectly formed. There are three excellent sounding performances - a double bill from Soo Hyun Hwang and Yun Jung Lee; a piece about perceptions of beauty and femininity from Jinyeob Cha; and a show focusing on how music is created, inspired by the work of composer Isang Yun. Plus, there's a panel discussion in which artists discuss gender politics in Korean contemporary dance, and two dance films which you'll be given online access to when you book into one of the other festival events. Read more and book your tickets here.

London Contemporary Music Festival | Woolwich Works | 15-19 Jun
The well loved London Contemporary Music Festival returns and I think it might well be the first since the pandemic hit. It's so nice to see things coming back isn't it? Even if COVID is still doing the rounds. Anyway, this is five nights of differently themed/curated line-ups of fabulous acts, all under the overall title of 'The Big Sad': "This year, being broken takes centre stage. We cry, we pine, we crack up and rage; we smile vacantly into the middle distance; we hole ourselves up in bedrooms; we fail to sleep; we scroll". Expect nine new commissions and eighteen premieres, in music, dance, poetry and film, as the festival shows "how the tools of relinquishment and ruination, how states of loss and exhaustion, can be turned on their head, [and] spur recovery, intimacy and joy". See this page here for info on each of the five nights and ticket links.

Ali Woods: Best Friend Ever | Underbelly Festival (Earls Court) | 17 Jun
This isn't a whole festival, a fact that you'll no doubt have gleaned just by competently reading the title of this tip, because it's just one event in the Underbelly Festival calendar that stretches out across the summer. But it's in a festival, sort of, so that counts! If you haven't yet heard of Ali Woods, well, you have now, and surely will hear more of this comedian in the future. This preview may be for his debut stand up hour but it surely is - as the blurb points out - very highly anticipated, not least because Woods won the Hackney Empire New Comedian Of The Year competition. And what kind of set can we expect? Well, one that tackles important issues like, um, Scottish mothers, sex parties, karate teachers and mental breakdowns. "During lockdown Ali was disappointed to discover he's a terrible friend. This is the hilarious and heart-felt story of how he tried to become more helpful and less... him". Book tickets here.


THREE FUNNY SHOWS>>

Larry Dean: Fudnut | Bloomsbury Theatre | 18 Jun
That last entry in the festival section has made for a handy segue into this set of three tips, given that we have some more stand-up comedy for you now. And we kick off with a comedian who, like Ali Woods, will be heading northwards later this summer for a full run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe with this very show. And Larry Dean has, of course, been a TW favourite since we first saw him expertly plying his trade up in the Scottish capital back in.... I want to say 2015...? And naturally, since then, he's gone from strength to strength, what with winning the Amused Moose Award and being nominated for the Edinburgh Comedy Award as well as appearing on TV in shows like 'Mock The Week' and 'Live At The Apollo'. If you've somehow managed to miss him over the last few years, rest assured this guy is a verified comedic talent, and head this way to book yourself some tickets.

Knock2Bag Comedy Night | Moth Club | 16 Jun
Okay, let's leave those one comedian solo shows alone for a minute and head over to the Moth Club for a comedy night with not one, not two, not three... but about... four comedy acts, I think? Though it's possible there might be more, because this is a regular night, and I'm pretty sure I've seen line ups for it that were longer. But you know, honestly, I'm fine about it if there are just the four, because presumably they'll have more time each to make us laugh. Anyway, you're probably all wondering who those four comedians are, so I will go ahead and tell you that the headliner is the much acclaimed Paul Foot, and he is joined by three other legends: Nick Helm, Freddie Meredith and Alex Nash. If, like me, you are more than tempted by that line up, click here to book.

Brodi Snook: Handful | Soho Theatre | 15-18 Jun (pictured)
Finally, let's get back to some more of that solo stuff, and yes, we're definitely going for a woman-show this time, given the parade of comedic males that we've waded through thus far. This one does have something in common with some of the previously tipped shows, however, because it's another debut hour. However, this time it's the debut that Snook performed back at the 2019 edfringe (and she's been back there since with another critically acclaimed show). That debut show is called 'Handful' and it "navigates the toxic sausage-fest that is life", apparently making a lot of angry men on the internet even angrier. "Small town big idiot and general sarcasmo Brodi Snook was once told on a first date that she was a handful. May he rest in peace". Head to the venue website here for find out more and sort tickets.


THREE FAMILY SHOWS>>

The Elves & The Shoemaker | Half Moon Theatre | 16-17 Jun (pictured)
Right, onto some stuff for small people, and we start with a stage adaptation of a story that surely all the grown-ups will remember? And it's a really good version by the excellent Theatre Of Widdershins, who have been performing this for quite a few years. In fact, I once took my now-teenage daughter to see it - though presumably it may have gone through some changes since then. The beautiful puppets look the same though and the mouse still looks as cute, and I just know your three to seven year olds will be enchanted. "Shooooooooooooooes! Ah, new shoes. Delightful on the feet. Soft, dancing shoes; swarthy pirate shoes; silver buckle and silken soles. No one makes shoes like an elf". For more info and to book your tickets head to the venue website here.

Comedy Club 4 Kids | Underbelly Festival (Cavendish Square) | 18 Jun + 9 Jul
Well, look at this one. It could have been in the festival tips. It could have been in the comedy tips. But here is where it ended up, because ultimately it's a family thing. And, incidentally, another show that I've attended many times in the past with a young person, and I enjoyed it just as much as the child in question. Because basically, it's line ups of your favourite comedians doing their thing but, you know, not swearing or delivering material only suitable for adults. But you probably already know this - not least because this is far from the first occasion on which we have tipped this show. This weekend's fab line up consists of Ada Campe, Alexander Bennett and Howard Read. Don't even think about it, just click here now to book your tickets.

Twelfth Night | East London Shakespeare Festival | 16 Jun-7 Aug
Shakespeare may not be quite the best option for tiny tots, but East London Shakespeare Festival's production of 'Twelfth Night' will definitely be family friendly, and also raucous and musical, so that ought to definitely appeal. And, of course, the great thing about these performances is that they take place outside, as the show tours the eastern park and community spaces of London, and the company cultivates a nice relaxed festival vibe. The tour starts this week at Higham Hill Hub, and continues on to Fellowship Square, Wanstead Park, Leyton Jubilee Park, Hoxton Community Gardens, Highams Park, Clissold Park, and Springfield Park. For lots more information and to get yourself booked in, head to this page here.


THREE MUSICAL SHOWS>>

Oh! Suburbia! | The Hope Theatre | 17-25 Jun (pictured
Ooohh, time for some musical stuff now, and this show by multi-award winning performer/ raconteur/ musician Bob Karper that's described as a 'One-Man Avant-Garde Theatrical Revue'. "Bob's sheltered, hum-drum suburb in the American Midwest transforms into a rollicking number-packed show full of surprising, funny, intriguing stories, songs and film. Part tongue-in-cheek, part profound, and all true, with an audio cast of UK seniors considering the lofty questions of life: Where are the suburbs of our consciousness? The suburbs of ourselves? And is there any greater injustice than getting blamed for something your sisters did?" Click here for more.

Soho Songs: A New Song Cycle by Barb Jungr and Mike Lindup | Crazy Coqs | 20 Jun
This sounds amazing, and is the work of an excellent pairing, who were both inspired by years of working in and visiting Soho to create a fab sounding song cycle about it. "Soho. A magical place. Where everyone comes to make their dreams come true. A pub bar. A day dawns. The homeless person sees everything. The landlady prepares for another bloody scrap to keep her pub open, as Soho is eroded by developers' who eat the past and regurgitate everything into another block of super flats. Trafficked women, bouncers, the pit musician, drag queens and burlesque dancers, croupiers, actors and luvvies, dancers and chancers; they all come to the legendary Shangri-La pub to share their stories, have a laugh or to tell their tortured tales. As the night welcomes another dawn, the disco lights spin on, the glamour fades and the homeless man returns to his pitch. Come and join us at Shangri-La before last orders". Click here.

Dido | Greenwich Theatre | 17-19 Jun
"Carthage is divided between the powerful Queen Dido and her nemesis the Sorceress, two women whose fates mirror each other and whose rivalry may destroy everything. In this immersive retelling of Henry Purcell's classic opera, All Aboard Opera! puts the fate of Dido, and her fateful love for the wanderer Aeneas, in the hands of the audience. The audience will decide whether to support Dido and her glorious empire, or the Sorceress and her magical illusions. They then choose how the story progresses, voting at the end of each scene to manipulate the story's ending". How exciting is that? Interactive and immersive opera! With an all female cast! What are you waiting for? Head to this page here to find out all the details.


THREE PLAYS WITH MENTAL HEALTH THEMES>>

Red Pill | Lion & Unicorn Theatre | 14-18 Jun
Yes, I know some of you might not feel inclined to read on, given the ever so slightly doom laden possibilities implied by the title of this tip section, but I'm sure you also know that many great works have been based on such themes. And also, these all look rather good. Starting with 'Red Pill', whose title might be evocative for those of you who've ever been down certain rabbit holes. The play is about Chris, a nerdy young man who is living with the threat of poverty and the disappointment of unrequited love, and who ends up in a deep depression, before finding himself drawn into gamergate, and then into alt-right spaces. It's described as a cautionary tale of the character's journey to radicalisation and an exploration of the development of the alt-right. See the venue website here.

Ten Days In A Madhouse | Jack Studio | 14 Jun-2 Jul (pictured)
"1887, New York. Reporter Nellie Bly, the pioneer of investigative journalism, fakes insanity and is admitted to an asylum to expose the treatment of its patients. Her report shocked the world and shone a light on those society had chosen to forget. 'Ten Days In A Madhouse' is a warning to us all - reminding us that true power is not measured by how institutions impose authority, but by the compassion they show, especially in moments of crisis". This sounds like an amazing piece, which promises to bring this true story humorously to life using immersive sound and video design, and is the work of an award nominated team - So It Goes Theatre, creators of the acclaimed 'Moby Dick'. For more info and to get your tickets see the venue website here.

Sad Vents | White Bear Theatre | 20-25 Jun
And finally, another show about difficult stuff that promises to make you laugh anyway, in this autobiographical one woman tragicomedy from writer and performer Eleanor Hill, which features lots of interesting staging elements like live projections and getting the audience to interact using their phones. "Eleanor is a loud, brazen and darkly comic theatre-maker, who has decided to take some terrible things that happened to her and turn them into a play. Sounds pretty intense, right? But it is funny, she promises. Somewhere between 'Euphoria', Instagram Live and all those Netflix trauma porn documentaries you just love watching; audiences will leave feeling exposed and alive, reconsidering what and why they share online, who it's really for and how they consume the lives of others". More here.


THREE WOMAN FOCUSED SHOWS>>

Showwomen | Jacksons Lane | 16-18 Jun (pictured)
I think one could argue that there are woman-focused shows all over the tips today, but I suppose these ones called out to me extra hard as being such, and I like to talk about woman-shows, not least because of the historical lack of good roles in traditional theatre, etc. Anyway, this isn't really theatre, I don't think, or at least, if it is, it's got lots of interesting other stuff in there. It's a new show from Olivier award winner Marisa Carnesky and is described as a "feminist rewrite: the untold herstory of British working-class entertainment from immigrant, queer, activist and occult perspectives". Carnesky narrates a blend of live action, interview, archive footage and performance from three guest acts: Fancy Chance, hairhanger and comedian; spoken word and sword artist Livia Kojo Alour (who, coincidentally, is our ThreeWeeks Edinburgh interviewee this week); and physical and fire performer Lucifire. Read all about it here.

Diversifications | Old Red Lion Theatre | 14 Jun-2 Jul
Another play with comedic elements but rather serious themes, as it's about three women who meet in a waiting room, all three waiting to receive the results of genetic testing. "With emotions running high and the clock ticking, they share their most intimate thoughts and yearnings and soon realise that each of them have something the other one craves: children, career, freedom. Three women. Three generations. Same desire: change. By the end of their encounter, they decide to walk out of the clinic without getting the results. Playing 'genetic roulette', they start living by new rules and follow their dreams. However, their decision has dire consequences. A year after they have passed, their husbands / partners meet to try and understand the logic behind that spontaneous, yet fatal decision". For more info and to book, head to the venue website here.

SOE | The Space | 17-19 Jun
Here's a good one for those of you who are looking for theatrical stuff to take in at home, for yes, this is a Space show, and it's another that they'll be streaming, therefore broadening your cultural delivery options. Hurrah. But of course, you can also go and see it in the flesh, should you be able to. The show is about a subject I'm always quite drawn to - the women who served as agents in the Special Operations Executive. "'Madeleine' is the codename for one such agent. Flown by moonlight into France in 1943, her job is to keep her circuit of agents connected with London. She cannot trust anyone. Now the war is over. Vera Atkins is on a quest to find the truth. Of all the cases of her twelve missing women agents, there is one that haunts her the most - 'Madeleine' - the Indian princess, Noor Inayat Khan". See the venue website here for info.


THREE MORE GREAT THEATRE OPTIONS>>

Darkie Armo Girl | Finborough Theatre | 14 Jun-9 Jul
This week's final section is not a mixed bag genre wise, like it often is, but instead another collection of fabulous theatrical works for your delectation. This first one is a new solo play from British-Armenian writer and performer Karine Bedrossian (see, this could also have been in the woman section, couldn't it?), based on real life experiences. "1915. The Armenian Genocide. Families are marched across the Syrian desert to their death. Those who survive are scattered around the world. 1974. An Armenian family fleeing a civil war arrive in the UK with £35, a suitcase and the address of a relative. 1976. One careless mistake. Nine months and one near fatal C-section later, Karen Mary Bedrossian is born into a perfectly fine life and grows up in a perfectly fine house in Richmond, Surrey. But inside her lies a secret deep, dark pain that rips her to shreds on a daily basis". Book your tickets here.

The Fellowship | Hampstead Theatre | 17 Jun-23 Jul (pictured)
"Children of the Windrush generation, sisters Dawn and Marcia Adams grew up in 1980s London and were activists on the front line against the multiple injustices of that time. Decades on, they find they have little in common beyond family... Dawn struggles to care for their dying mother, whilst her one surviving son is drifting away from her. Meanwhile, high-flying lawyer Marcia's affair with a married politician might be about to explode and destroy her career. Can the Adams sisters navigate the turmoil that lies ahead, leave the past behind, and seize the future with the bond between them still intact?" A new play from the much acclaimed and awarded Roy Williams, directed by Paulette Randall, and featuring a fab cast. Read all about it here.

I Want Hercules | The Vaults | 14-16 Jun
This last one's quite intriguing, a new thriller about the murder of a family from Eleanor Zeal, which explores masculinity and injustice, and is directed by Louis Chan. "The MAN detective Jayson is confronted with the task of solving an unusual murder of mythical proportions, can he do it? Will his toxic masculinity give him strength or leave him in ancient ruins along with the city of London. The POLICE is the civil force for the prevention and detection of crime and the home of detective Jayson's job. Cells, offices and files - so many files - all of which Detective Jayson holds close to his heart. The MYTH is on the run. How do you stop something greater, more powerful than you. How do you stop yourself?" How indeed? See this page here to find out more and book yourself in.
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.

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