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COMING SOON My London fringe theatre picks

Haven't seen any of these but they do sound good...

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Pop Up Opera's I Capuleti e I Montecchi

DOUBLE BILL As part of its Cash, Capitalism and Corporations season, Battersea Arts Centre has two plays which can be seen individually or as a double bill. DenMarked by Conrad Murray (22 Feb – 11 Mar) is an autobiographical hip hop theatre show featuring live mixed segments of beatbox, guitar and Shakespeare-infused storytelling.  And Fire in the Machine by Sounds Like Chaos (22 Feb – 4 Mar) is a show by young people from in and around Deptford that tackles outdated values of the education system, set within a warped 1980s karaoke party.

OPERA First opera I saw was Pop Up Opera's Cosi Fan Tutte performed in a room over a pub in Mayfair and I really enjoyed it. They are bringing their version of I Capuleti e I Montecchi (sung in Italian with English captions) to The Vaults where it conjures an atmospheric and intimate environment that places spectators at the heart of Bellini's moving love story. If you've not seen an opera before this is a inexpensive way of trying it out. Mar 20-23, The Vaults.

FEMALE TAMBURLAINE Christopher Marlowe was only 23 when he wrote, Tamburlaine, an electrifying theatrical study of tyranny and ambition  Some 430 years later Yellow Earth Theatre bring this rarely performed, complex drama to the Arcola Theatre with Lourdes Faberes taking the lead. 15 Mar - 8 Apr, 8pm start with a run time of approximately 2 hours plus interval.

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REHEARSAL PHOTOS: Daniel Radcliffe and Joshua McGuire in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Old Vic

Here they are, Daniel Radcliffe (Rosencrantz) and Joshua McGuire (Guildenstern) rehearsing ahead of the opening of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (the only Tom Stoppard play to date that I really like, but that might just be me). It's the Hamlet story told from the perspective the two minor characters and its very clever and funny.

It opens for previews at the Old Vic on 25 February and then runs until April 29.

 

 


That was January in London theatre land

Guards at the Taj
Guards at the Taj, Bush Theatre

January was a fringe fest for me with some cracking productions. I definitely recommend Out There On Fried Meat Ridge Road at the White Bear (finishes Feb 4) and BU21 at Trafalgar Studios 2 (finishes Feb 18) and from the off West End sphere Dirty Great Love Story at the Arts Theatre is a real hoot (finishes Mar 18).

And while I was busy...

* Biggest news, obviously, is Ben Whishaw treading the boards at the Almeida again. He's moved on from playing a Greek god in Bakkhai to playing a tech billionaire who thinks god is talking to him. It's a new play called Against by Christopher Shinn and to say that I'm excited to see it, is an underestimate.

* The Ben Whishaw news has almost over shadowed the announcement of a new James Graham play, Ink, at the Almeida as part of the the same season. This time Graham is taking on Fleet Street at the end of the sixties. Given how much I enjoyed This House, this has a lot of promise.

* The Bush Theatre reopens its doors after redevelopment work and kicks things off in April with Jamie Lloyd directing Guards at the Taj by Rajiv Joseph. It seems to be a theme for Jamie Lloyd this year to direct in smaller theatres - his current production is Pitchfork Disney at Shoreditch Town Hall which will be followed by a new Philip Ridley play Killer at the same venue.

 

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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.