MONDAY 23 JANUARY 2023 THISWEEKCULTURE.COM
ZAK ZARAFSHAN: THE BOYS ARE KISSING
I was interested as soon as I heard about 'The Boys Are Kissing', on at Theatre503 until 4 Feb.

It's the first play from Zak Zarafshan, who connected with the venue via its 503Five writers' programme, and it sounds like a really intriguing debut which takes on some very pertinent themes. 

I had a chat with Zak to find out more about the production - directed by Theatre503's Artistic Director Lisa Spirling - as well as the inspiration behind the play and his journey as a playwright more generally.

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

'The Boys Are Kissing' is on at Theatre503 until 4 Feb. See the venue website here for more information and to book tickets.
Shows to see in the week ahead - including performances from people and companies we first discovered at the Edinburgh Festival.


VAULT FESTIVAL>>

Degenerate | Vault Festival | 24 Jan, 15+19 Feb
Hurrah, the glorious Vault Festival is back after too long away, so of course we must have a full section of tips. But how to choose when the schedule of events is so tempting? Promise me you will check out the full line up here, as well as taking note of our recommendations. Our first is for the fab-sounding 'Degenerate', an "experimental coming of age comedy, from someone who has already come of age". More here.

All Falls Down | Vault Festival | 24-28 Jan (pictured)
Next up, one from a favourite company of ours, Chronic Insanity, who present this interactive, improvised storytelling show that sees a group of friends stranded in the wilderness after a plane crash, and attempting to survive while trying to make contact with civilisation. The audience helps guide the characters through this and their decisions affect the course of the narrative. All the details here.

Women's Writes Fest | Vault Festival | 27 Jan+3 Feb
This is a collection of plays and you know that we are suckers for that sort of thing. And you're probably aware that we're also fans of the sort of event that gives exposure to the work of women, and the sort of work that features female characters that are real and complex. This event offers all of that, so no wonder it made it onto the list. For more info and to book, see the festival website here.


FUNNY STUFF>>

Quip Shed Comedy | Marylebone Theatre | 28 Jan
There's lots of comedy on at the Vault Festival, of course, but there's also lots of funny goings on in other parts of the capital this week. So let's talk a bit about some of that. Starting over at the Marylebone Theatre with regular night Quip Shed Comedy, which has a line up of veritably familiar faces for your delectation - Ed Gamble, Fern Brady and Ahir Shah, hosted by Michael May. Click here.

Yes Queens | King's Head Theatre | 28 Jan
Another woman-focused event for you now, and what a bunch of women. 'Yes Queens' is a female-led improv comedy night and those performing will be familiar to those improv aficionados who've seen shows like 'Showstopper' and 'Austentatious'. It's on the last Saturday of each month, but appearing on 28 Jan are Sarah-Louise Young, Amy Cooke-Hodgson, Monica Gaga, Charlie Russell and pianist Duncan Walsh-Atkins. Details here.

Crizards | Soho Theatre | 26-28 Jan (pictured)
Well reviewed up at the old edfringe, and directed by Edinburgh Comedy Award winner Jordan Brookes, so you can expect good things. "The UK's lowest energy double act explore tales from the not-so-wild-west. Expect songs, characters, rootin and tootin from two best friends dressed as cowboys". So that all sounds like fun, doesn't it? Head to the venue website here for more.


SHORT STOPS>>

The Red Within | Drayton Arms Theatre | 29-30 Jan
Right, now for some theatrical stuff, though these won't be around for long so don't hang about if you fancy seeing any of them. First is 'The Red Within', which is an intriguing sounding play by Oihane Rodriguez about "family, religion and spirituality, female anger, addiction, trauma, witches and everything in between", focusing on Rosario, a successful writer, and her journey through trauma. Info here.

Life Before The Line | The Cockpit | 29 Jan
You know we like to tell you about shows that did well up at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe? Well, here's another show that did well up at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. "Jewish teenagers Esty, Allister, Danny and Sara are sitting in a revision session about to take their GCSEs when the terrorist alarm rings. And this time, it might not be a drill. Trapped in their RS classroom, they have all the time in the world to think". Click here.

Burglar Bill | ArtsDepot | 22 Jan (pictured)
It feels like a while since we tipped any children's shows (though that may not be as true as I think it is), but it's probably fair enough given how many children's shows we recommended in the run up to Christmas. Anyway, this one - as you may be aware, if you are a keeper of kids - is inspired by Janet and Allan Ahlberg's picture book, and it features puppets, original music and songs. Book here.


LONGER RUNS>>

Welcome Home | Soho Theatre | 26 Jan-11 Feb
Now some longer runs - though, they're not hugely long to be honest, so don't dally about getting along to see them. The first one is back over at Soho Theatre, an autobiographical piece written and performed by Willy Hudson. "Recovering from a bad breakup, Willy moves back to his parents' house. But waiting there is the thing that's been controlling him since birth - his childhood church. It's time to take on the church and avenge a lifetime of shame". Click here.

Pick And Mix | Pleasance Theatre | 24 Jan-4 Feb
"Three lasses. One lad. And a bucketload of teen angst. When Olivia, Kim and Alisha all take a fancy to the same local lad, friendships and families are torn apart. Lies are told, secrets are spilled and their lives are about to change forever. A coming of age story of sisterhood, sex ed and sanitary pads". A first full length play from the first winner of the Kay Mellor Fellowship, Kat Rose-Martin. Head this way for more.

How Not To Drown | Theatre Royal Stratford East | 26 Jan-11 Feb (pictured)
Another edfringe success for you, this one from award winning company ThickSkin, and a show that elicited a rather impressed review from one of our Edinburgh writers back in 2019. It tells the true story of eleven year old unaccompanied asylum seeker Dritan, who, after the end of the war in Kosovo, is sent on a perilous journey to a new life in Europe, ending up in the British care system. See the venue website here for all the info.
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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