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NEWS - London fringe theatre round up with teen tales and surreal dinner parties

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Henry V

HENRY V - Set in a First World War field hospital, Antic Disposition bring Shakespeare's play about the warrior king to Southwark Cathedral as part of a UK cathedral tour. You can see it there on Feb 2, 3, 20 & 21. For more details and other tour stops head to Antic Disposition's website.

WAR TIME COMEDY Flew the Coop is a humorous take on an amazing but controversial story based on true events: the romance between young Silesian translator Rosa Rauchbach, debonair British POW Horace Greasley and an inordinate number of stolen chickens. New Diorama Theatre 14 Feb to 4 Mar.

TEEN TALES #1 Filled with school riots, first loves, beached whales, cinema, space and sex, RUN tells the story of Yonni (Tom Ross-Williams), an orthodox, Jewish teenager, who sneaks out over the Sabbath and causes a world of trouble. The Bunker Mar 20 to Apr 1 (70 mins without interval). Also in Brighton prior to it's London run.

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Ben Whishaw is back on stage at the Almeida #almeidatheatre

So I wake up to this news in the Guardian:

August will also see the debut of Pulitzer-nominated playwright Christopher Shinn’s new work, Against. Ben Whishaw will play Luke, a tech millionaire convinced he is the next messiah, whose calling is to confront violence in America.

Which is exciting not only because Ben Whishaw is back on stage (obviously) and at the Almeida rather than in the West End but also because it's a contemporary play and it feels like a while (The Pride - half contemporary - so perhaps Cock in 2009?).

James Graham will also debut a new play about newspapers in the 1960s. Given the brilliance of This House (currently enjoying a revival in the West End) this should be cracking.


London fringe theatre news round up

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One Last Thing For Now, Old Red Lion

GENDER & RACE Am I black enough? straight enough? Jamaican enough? Created and performed by performance artist Rachael Young in collaboration with dance artist and choreographer Dwayne Antony, OUT examines and explores the stigmas associated to queerness and gender conformity within the black community. It's touring but has a short run at the Yard Theatre in Hackney from Feb 14-18 and is a 9pm start.

WOMEN'S FOOTBALL It is 1881. It is 1921. It is 2017. Four women from across the centuries live, breathe, and play football. Whilst each of them face very different obstacles in pursuing their dream profession, the possibility that the beautiful game will change their futures - and the world - is tantalisingly close. Offside is told through lyrical dialogue, poetry, and prose, placing the audience on the touchline of the game of a lifetime and its tour include a stint at Clapham Ominbus Mar 27-28.

WRITER IN CAPTIVITY Borrowing from some of his work and real events Don Quixote in Algiers tells of story of when writer Miguel de Cervantes was captured by pirates, examining truth, identity and freedom.  White Bear Theatre in Kennington 7 Feb - 4 Mar.

TOP TRUMPS At Theatre503 in Battersea there is a week of plays in which playwrights respond to the election of Donald Trump as president of the US. Timed to coincide with his inauguration, each show will feature 12 short plays including work by Caryl Churhill, Neil LaBute and Roy Williams. Theatre503 19-21 January.

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Production photos: Imelda Staunton and the Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf cast #whosafraidofvirginiawoolf

This is on my play hot list for this year as I love Imelda Staunton and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf is one of those iconic plays I've not yet seen. It also stars my Game of Thrones fav Conleth Hill and Luke Treadaway whom I haven't seen since the wonderful Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. Oh and James McDonald is directing and he's directed Mr Whishaw twice in the past (Cock and Bakkhai). So all in all, pretty excited.

It opens for previews at the Harold Pinter Theatre on Feb 22 and runs until May 27.

My love for Imelda Staunton as expressed in two reviews:

The really good Good People, Noel Coward Theatre

The meh play but outstanding Imelda (A Delicate Balance, Almeida)


London fringe theatre news round up - war, love, parties and the absurdity of modern life

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Focus Group, Ovalhouse Theatre

SURROGACY DRAMA In a surrogacy clinic in Gujarat, three women meet, all will benefit from the transaction but is it that simple? Made In India examines birth and motherhood in a brave new world. It runs at the Soho Theatre from 8-25 March.

THE WILD PARTY is the lust-fuelled story of an affair between two cabaret stars, and the final, fatal party they throw in their seedy Hollywood apartment. Join the party at the Hope Theatre in Islington from 10-28 Jan.

RETURNING HIT After a critically acclaimed run at The King’s Head Theatre earlier this year, Strangers In Between, the award-winning Australian play about a 16 year old boy who runs away to Sydney, is back by popular demand returning to kick off the 2017 season from 10 to 04 Feb.

CONDENSED CLASSIC Arrows and Traps Theatre have condensed Dostoyevsky's classic novel Crime and Punishment into a 90 minute three-hander and you can see it at the Jack Studio in Brockley from Feb 7-25.

SECOND WORLD WAR DRAMA Flew The Coop takes a darkly funny and highly imaginative look at two of the Second World War’s most singular characters: Rosa Rauchbach – a young Silesian woman who disguised her Jewish roots and took a job as a translator at a Prisoner of War camp, where she embarked on an affair with Horace Greasley, a debonair British Prisoner of War. Catch it at the New Diorama Theatre in Euston from 14 Feb to 4 Mar.

LOVE AND IDENTITY Can you fall in love with someone if you don’t know their gender?  Peter is about to find out when he falls for the sexually ambiguous ‘Blue’. Boy Stroke Girl runs at the Etcetera Theatre in Camden from Feb 28- Mar 12.

ABSURDITY OF LIFE The inner world of a desperately lonely man emerges from a seemingly light-hearted focus group about individually wrapped Mr Kipling cakes. Focus Group is on at the Ovalhouse Theatre in Oval from Jan 31 to Feb 4.
 

 


London fringe theatre news round up - Vault Festival special

Image003The Vault festival with it's eclectic mix of plays, comedy, cabaret musicals and more kicks off on Jan 25.  For the unfamiliar, it's held in the labyrinthine and atmospheric tunnels underneath Waterloo station - you can hear the trains rumbling overhead. The venues ooze character and there are bars and cozy nooks to hang out in before and after the shows. Here are some things to look out for and I'll update as I get more info. All shows are 60 minutes long without an interval.

BLACK COMEDY Space Play is a new black comedy which sees a lone astronaut stranded on a disintegrating space station as he struggles to get back to earth. It runs from Jan 25 to Jan 29 and starts at 6pm.

SOUND AND MOVEMENT An operatic queen bee and choir tell the story of a swarm of bees journey to a find a new hive. Swarm is on from Feb 8 to Feb 12 and is a 7.30 start.

VERBATIM  14 voices. 5 actors. 1 year. A Year From Now is a combination of verbatim and physical theatre and asks where you see yourself a year from now. From Jan 25 to Jan 29 starts at 18.10.

LIFE DRAMA Two stories interweave but are they connected? This Must Be The Place sees two friends, fugitives from their problems, try and start again in the big smoke but find themselves waiting on the margins still.
Feb 8 – 12, 7.45pm start.

ONE WOMAN SHOW #1 A squatter's tale performed by Jolie Booth, HIP transports the audience, to a cosy living room with hypnotic OHP, cushions, incense, tequila and nibbles. Feb 1-5, 6.30pm.

ONE WOMAN SHOW #2 Robyn Paterson’s one-woman family drama The South Afreakins is inspired by her own parents’ experience of emigrating from South Africa to New Zealand, she rapidly switches between Helene and Gordon to create a very human story of loss and family. Feb 15-19, 8pm.

 

 

 


London fringe theatre news round up - five for January

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Brains, Theatre N16 from Jan 11

DARK AND OFF KILTER - Fresh from a stint at the Edinburgh fringe, Dame Nature: The Magnificent Bearded Lady comes to Wilton’s Music Hall telling the story of a bearded lady forced to examine her marriage. It runs from the 10-14 Jan.

ZOMBIES It could be a clever parody of privatising healthcare... with zombies. Or it could be a rom-com adventure... with zombies. Either way - there are zombies. Brains runs at the Theatre N16 in Balham from 11-14 Jan.

POLITICAL COMEDY Go back to the late sixties and see this way-ahead-of-its-time comedy programme, complete with the occasional cock-ups, the original warm-up and incredible sound-effects… nostalgic and very, very funny. Men From The Ministry runs at the newly revamped White Bear Theatre in Kennington from 3-14 January.

CONTEMPORARY STORIES Following its award nominated, sell-out run at Theatre503, Stuart Slade’s BU21 follows six Londoners in the aftermath of a fictitious terrorist attack, based on real testimonies gathered from a variety of terrorist incidents including the 7/7 bombings, 9/11, the Paris attacks and the 2013 Westgate shopping mall attack. Catch it at Trafalgar Studios 2 from 4 Jan – 18 Feb.

LOVE STORY The Bunker's inaugural season finishes with Abigail, a love story set in Berlin. In a world where so many things are out of our control, what happens when the one thing you think you need is the one thing you cannot have? It runs from 10 Jan to 4 Feb.

 


Christmas comes to London's fringe theatres - a round of up festive treats

A Christmas Carol (c) Mat Johns (6)
A Christmas Carol (c) Mat Johns

PANTO Ricky Whittington and his Cat is a timely, satirical and funny take on old-school panto featuring song, dance and a WEALTH of comic talent and guest cameos. Catch it at the New Diorama from December 12 to January 7 with a special New Years Eve performance and party.

HUMANETTE PUPPET COMEDY An absurd and endearing portrait of Christmas, like The Royle Family meets Phoenix Nights, in miniature Holy Presents is on at the Camden People's Theatre from 6 to 17 December.

COMEDY The BAC has a season of festive fun including two festive stand up shows: A John Kearns Christmas (6-10 Dec) and Josie Long Hosts Christmas This Year (13-17 Dec). For more details head to the BAC website.

SIMON STEPHENS' CHRISTMAS Not his actual Christmas but his play Christmas which Theatre N16 is reviving for a run from 11 to 22 December. It's one week ‘til Christmas. A bleak bar in the heart of London’s East End. Landlord Michael Macgraw is setting up for the Saturday punters - all two of them; young Billy Russell, a foul-mouthed football fan and Seppo the barber with an odd fondness for Drambuie and dreaming of Vienna. Christmas, a time for family, goodwill and peace to all men, but not for these three.

OPERA PANTO The King's Head Theatre in Islington has chosen Pinochio for it's festive treat. Performed by a cast of Charles Court Opera with a whale-full of jaw-dropping musical numbers from pop to opera, and puns and tomfoolery galore, this year's 10th anniversary celebration promises to be the biggest and best yet. It runs from Dec 1 to Jan 7.

DINNER & CHRISTMAS CAROL Dickens' classic festive tale comes to the Above the Arts Theatre in Covent Garden served over a two-course dinner. Food and theatre are dished up from Dec 12 to 31.


London fringe theatre news round up - opera, circus and more

Rehearsal Shot (c) Vantage Point (6)
This Might Be It rehearsal (c) Vantage Point

2017 SEASON ANNOUNCEMENT Print Room  at the Coronet in Notting Hill has announced five plays for the first half of next year opening with Howard Barker's In The Depth of Love followed by Out of Blixen directed by Kathryn Hunter. For full season details visit the Print Rooms website.

TEEN DRAMA More to look forward to next year, Southwark Playhouse has announced a production of The Diary of a Teenage Girl which opens on Mar 1, 2017 and runs until Mar 25. It's a coming of age story as told through the eyes of a teenage girl growing up in 1970s San Francisco.

THE ONE I CAN'T PRONOUNCE Director Jimmy Walters returns to the Finborough Theatre with a new production of Tony Harrison’s The Trackers of Oxyrhynchus in its first London staging for nearly 30 years. It will run from Tuesday 3rd – Saturday 28th January 2017.

CONTEMPORARY ISSUES Theatre N16 plays host to new company Vantage Point and their first show This Might Be It, which examines our relationship to technology in the digital age - think Black Mirror on stage from a millennial perspective. It runs from Dec 4 - 8.

PUB OPERA I saw my first opera in a small room above a pub a couple of years ago and despite my scepticism really enjoyed it - you are certainly never going to get that close to the singers at the ROH. If you aren't sure whether opera is your thing, pub opera is a brilliant way to try it out and as an experience after all you won't be sitting that close to the singers if you go to ROH. This is my preamble to the King's Head Theatre announcing its opera season for next year. It includes new collaborations with Olivier Award-winning librettist Amanda Holden and Charles Court Opera, the return of internationally acclaimed opera director Paul Higgins and a new production of Tosca from the King’s Head Theatre’s Artistic Director Adam Spreadbury-Maher. For more details head to the KH website.

CIRCUS French Compagnie XY, widely regarded as one of the leading contemporary circus companies in the world, will return to London for the UK premiere of their spectacular new show It’s Not Yet Midnight….This poetic and jaw-defying spectacle will run at the Roundhouse in Camden from 10th – 23rd April 2017.