If you live in the Wandsworth area, then you might already be aware of the extra explosion of culture that's been taking place there in May for a good few years now. If you haven't, and live within striking distance, you've been missing out.

If that's the case, then it's probably about time you had a read of this interview I did with Wandsworth Arts Fringe director Cath Mattos, to find out more about all the great cultural things you can partake of there this month. Read the interview here.

Wandsworth Arts Fringe takes place in lots of different venues, from 5-21 May. See the festival website here for more information and listings.

FRIDAY 5 MAY 2016 >>

Home | Ovalhouse | 5-6 May
The excellent and important Frozen Light, creators of work for audiences with profound and multiple learning difficulties, head to London's Ovalhouse for more performances of their latest show 'Home', so spread the word to those affected by PMLD. To find out more about the show and the company you could always, ahem, read our Q&A from a few months ago here, and for details about the upcoming performances, click here.

Woolly - The Morose Merino | The Arches at St Mary's Church | 5-6 May (pictured)
"Witness the tale of how one sexually frustrated, 20-something Brit dealt with rejection in the most absurd way possible: by running away to a shearing shed in South Australia. What emerged was more sheep than man. Now he's lost on the streets of London, and he's looking for ewe!" This acclaimed and hilarious comedy show from Alexander Cofield is on as part of the excellent Wandsworth Fringe, see this page here for info.

Furzedown Affordable Art Fair | Sprout Community Arts | 5-13 May
This is also part of Wandsworth Fringe but I actually didn't realise that when I put it down for inclusion in today's tippery. Anyway, it's an art fair, and it's my favourite kind, ie, affordable - the top price is £195. Exhibitors as follows: Anna Lando, Chris Lessware, Girvan Thompson, Iain Selwyn-Reeves, Jude Caisley, Julia Court, Lesley-Ann Snape, Lucinda Denning, Lynn Selwyn-Reeves, Magdalena Del Mar, Maria Storey, Marion Jones, Margaret Donaldson, Maria Storey, Soraia Waterhouse, Valerie Taylor. Click here or here for more.

SATURDAY 6 MAY 2016 >>

Cosmic Trigger | The Cockpit | 4-27 May
Back by popular demand, this play which tells the story behind well known conspiracy satire The Illuminatus Trilogy, focusing on the life and times of co-author Robert Anton Wilson, who befriended Timothy Leary, Alan Watts, and William Burroughs, took LSD and experimented with the magical rituals of Aleister Crowley... I think it's safe to say you will find this rather interesting. See this page here for info.

Dada for Girls - SPILT | The Cat's Back | 6-7 May
More from Wandsworth Fringe now, and I feel slightly scared by this, to be honest, but that's because of the accompanying images, not the content. Anway, it's good to confront your fears, and it also sounds amazing: "Bristol's all female avant-garde theatre company, Dada For Girls, are here for a night of explicit performance art annihilation. Combining cinematic liquidity with performance fluidity, this band of daredevil divas redefine the boundaries of female performance". Click here for more.

Spencer Jones Is The Herbert In Eggy Bagel | Soho Theatre | 3-13 May (pictured)
The brilliantly funny and original and award-winning Spencer Jones returns to Soho with his latest Herbert show 'Eggy Bagel', which scored the usual starry reviews in Edinburgh last summer. If you're already a fan, you've probably already booked your tickets but if you're not already a fan there's clearly something not quite right with your life (or you just haven't seen him perform yet) and you need to fix it, possibly by heading this way to book your tickets.

SUNDAY 7 MAY 2016 >>

Beerey | Theatre N16 | 7-8 May (pictured)
This is a verbatim piece tackling a difficult and not-often-covered issue, which is that of the impact on families of arrest and wrongful conviction. It tells the story of the family of Jon Beere, who was arrested in 2011 during UK drug smuggling investigation Operation Disorient, is serving 24 years in prison, and maintains that he is innocent. While he and his fellow convicts, known as the 'Freshwater Five', are still fighting for their freedom, this play focuses on those family members left behind - what happens when your ordinary family suddenly becomes the focus of a high profile drugs case? Click here for more info.

Pete n Keely | Tristan Bates Theatre | 2-20 May
"It's 1968. America's Swingin' Sweethearts, Pete Bartel and Keely Stevens, are performing live on national television! The only catch? They haven't spoken to each other in five years". The divorced pair's story is told by a series of flashbacks, building to an explosive confrontation, and featuring a soundtrack of hits from the fifities and sixties. Expect a highly entertaining, funny and touching experience from this European premiere of an off-Broadway hit musical. See the venue website here for details.

Spectral Paradigms | All Saints Church Tooting | 5-19 May
An exhibition from the Wandsworth Fringe, this, and one which sounds very interesting, featuring as it does the work of a diverse group of contemporary and new media artists working with a mixture of digital, sound, installation, video, and mixed media techniques. The display aims to investigate what constitutes truth and reality, and explore themes of what happens when the 'unreal' enters the realm of the real. See this page here for info.

MONDAY 8 MAY 2016 >>

Uncaged | Soho Theatre | 8 May
"A story of uncaged wonder and transformation, complete with cross-dressing, a huge hairy man, attempted seduction, and a plot that twists and turns" - well, I'm sold, even if I weren't already attracted to the hugely attractive idea of fabulously told fairy tales for grown ups, performed by the excellently talented and award winning Michael Harvey. For info and to book, see the venue website here.

No Place For A Woman | Theatre503 | 3-27 May
The brilliant Small Things Theatre present this piece about the wife of a commandant who is throwing a party, and asks her husband to bring home champagne; instead he turns up with a ballet dancer from the camp. What follows is what's described as an extraordinary story exploring "the strength of marital love, the redemptive power of dance, and the survival of two women who live as neighbours - but are worlds apart". To find out more, see this page here.

Out There On Fried Meat Ridge Road | Trafalgar Studios | 2 May-3 Jun (pictured)
This production of a cult US comedy had an award-nominated sell out run at The White Bear earlier in the year (we tipped it then too, but if you missed it, you have another chance now, so I think it's important that we point that out) and has now transferred to Trafalgar Studios for a healthy five week run. I think you'll be sad if you miss it, so click ye this link here to book your tickets.

TUESDAY 9 MAY 2016 >>

Trainspotting | ArtsDepot | 9-13 May
If you still haven't seen King's Head Theatre and In Your Face Theatre's production of 'Trainspotting' despite your myriad opportunities to do so, then here's another, especially handy if you live up north London way. It's an excellent, immersive, visceral staging of the story which captures the essence of the critically acclaimed film and book, so I can't think why you haven't been yet. Come on, book here.

Jonny And The Baptists - Eat The Poor | Soho Theatre | 8-10 May (pictured)
TW favourites Jonny And The Baptists bring their latest show - another Edinburgh hit - for a run at Soho Theatre, and let me tell you why we love these guys so much. Yes, they are talented, yes they are hilarious, and yes they make fantastic shows, but they manage to do all that while making brilliant, compassionate, political and social observations. I love that. This explores the gap between rich and poor, and the fact that a third of the country's population lives below the poverty line. Which is grotesque. See this page here for details.

The Conversation | Camden People's Theatre | 9 May
"Lauren attempts to create a safe space where you can feel relaxed and invited to enjoy yourself with the help of her hosting. All of this is for you, and she won't let you forget it. She's pulling out all the stops on this special night. Although, while striving to set herself high expectations, she may fail to meet them. You may feel the urge to leave, and you are welcome to, whenever you want. But oh baby, please don't go, she just wants you to stay". An autobiographical piece of performance art dealing with the subject of consent, which I think is a really, really important topic at the moment. Part of CPT's Hotbed festival, head this way for info.

WEDNESDAY 10 MAY 2016 >>

Louise Reay - Hard Mode | The Arches at St Mary's Church | 10-11 May (pictured)
Award-winning comedian Louise Reay presents this award-nominated show, which is comedy crossed with immersive theatre, and is a satire about censorship which the audience experiences through the life of an artist working under an authoritarian regime. How would you act if you were always being watched? If you could not speak freely? Part of Wandsworth Fringe, see the website here for more.

John-Luke Roberts Builds A Monster | Soho Theatre | 9-13 May
The brilliant, absurdist John-Luke Roberts heads Soho-wards for a run of this show depicting an actual monster from the world of nightmares having a go at creating a comedy hour. Definitely funny, possibly frightening, and absolutely guaranteed to be weird. The blurb tells you to be afraid: I tell you to put any fear behind you and book your tickets for this. Right about here.

Snowballing | Camden People's Theatre | 10-11 May
"Rebecca and Greg both like sex. They like doing it. They like thinking about it. They like watching it. Sometimes, it's the only thing they talk about. And now they're making a show. A sex show". Another one from CPT's Hotbed Festival of Sex, which, let's face it, is tapping into a topic most of you will have at least a passing interest in. Rebecca is the excellent veteran theatre director Rebecca Atkinson Lord and Greg is that Greg Wohead whose stuff we are always talking about, so you can feel assured that this will work out well. Click here for details.

THURSDAY 11 MAY 2016 >>

Nova Insula | Putney Library Basements | 10-14 May
Another great sounding event from Wandsworth Fringe, this time a new site-responsive cinematic deconstruction of Shakespeare's 'The Tempest', which blends performance with multimedia and interactive installation. The bard, told through video projections, sensory spaces and live-media interactions - interesting, yes? See this page here for more.

Desiree Burch - This Is Evolution | Soho Theatre | 11-13 May (pictured)
Not entirely sure it's wise to tip this show, not because there's anything wrong with it, but because I am worried all the tickets will be gone before you get there. That said, if there are those of you out there that haven't yet come into contact with this class act, then it's about time you pulled your socks up, because at this rate US import Desiree Burch will be all famous and stuff and you won't be able to say "Oh, I saw her live when she was on her way up". Excellent, award winning, and completely hilarious whilst dealing with important shit. Click here.

Richard III | Arcola Theatre | 11 May-10 Jun
Another Shakespeare for you, this time a slightly more traditional production, though I wouldn't call it conventional, and, as you are almost definitely aware, it's a gripping play, a compelling story of a ruthless and power crazed, lying and cheating tyrant. What's more, this version stars the excellent RSC Associate Artist Greg Hicks and is helmed by acclaimed director Mehmet Ergen, Arcola's artistic director. See the venue website here for details.
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