Beginning this week at the White Bear Theatre is a staging of 'This Bitter Earth' by US playwright Harrison David Rivers. This production marks the play's European premiere and is directed by London-based American director Peter Cieply. 

The play focuses on an interracial gay relationship against the backdrop of the beginnings of the Black Lives Matter movement, and explores issues of class and race. To find out more about the play, the playwright and the creatives involved in the production, I spoke to Peter ahead of opening night. 

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

'This Bitter Earth' is on at the White Bear Theatre from 21 Feb-11 Mar, 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.


Caligula And The Sea | Vault Festival | 28 Feb-5 Mar (pictured)
In a move that will come as no surprise to anyone who reads these weekly tips, this week we have another selection of Vault Festival shows to recommend for you. And we are starting with 'Caligula And The Sea', which tackles themes of power, masculinity and friendship through a "not-so-historically-accurate" retelling of stories about infamous Roman emperor Caligula. Read more about it here.

Hildegard Von Bingen | Vault Festival | 21-26 Feb
"As a child, Hildegard Von Bingen began experiencing intense prophetic – and often apocalyptic – visions and communications with God. Suffering through chronic illness, she kept these hidden from those around her until her forties, fearing she would be branded a lunatic or, worse, a witch". An exploration of the span of a woman's life, performed by a multigenerational female ensemble using voice and movement. More here.

Maud | Vault Festival | 21-25 Feb
Highly sombre themes in this one: it's a verbatim play about the horrifying murder by three white men of 25 year old Ahmaud Arbery, which took place in Satilla Shores, Georgia, in Feb 2020. It was, of course, a high profile case, not least because a video of the killing, recorded by one of the perpetrators, went viral. See the festival website here for more info and to book tickets.


In Pursuet | VAULT Festival | 25 Feb-5 Mar
It's not the first time this has happened, and it may happen again, but yes, another Vault show has made it into a different section. This one is here because it's a funny one, of course. I think we might have tipped it before and we know it's good because it's had a couple of successful runs at the old edfringe. And, no that's not a typo in the title: this is about a woman's obsession with Sue Perkins (and other things) which is why it's spelled 'purSUEt'. More here.

Tessa Coates: Get Your Coates You've Pulled | Soho Theatre | 21-23 Feb
And talking of the Fringe, here's another act we have known and loved via that August Edinburgh institution (see what I did there), it's Tessa Coates, who heads to Soho Theatre with her "third and favourite show". Looks like tickets are selling pretty well so don't delay if you want to book yourself in, head over to the Soho Theatre page here.

Sid Singh: Illegally Funny | Soho Theatre | 24 Feb (pictured)
We're going to stay at the Soho Theatre now for our next tip, for a show from another edfringe favourite, Sid Singh, but he's only on for one night, so don't miss it. "Watch a show about Sid travelling Europe, curing unvaccinated girlfriends, debating climate sceptical fathers, and finally teaching his audiences how to hack the US Supreme Court". All rather interesting, I am sure you will agree. Click here.


Afghanistan Is Not Funny | Arcola Theatre | 21 Feb-11 Mar
Time now for some theatrical shows, beginning over at Arcola Theatre with a play by someone whose work we have experienced much of up at the much aforementioned edfringe, triple Fringe First winner Henry Naylor. One of our reviewers saw this last summer and – like most of the critics, I think – gave it a very positive write up. For more information and to book, head to the venue website here.

Sleepova | Bush Theatre | 24 Feb-8 Apr (pictured)
"Join Rey, Elle, Shan and Funmi. Armed with sugary snacks, school gossip, and secret questions they can only ask each other, their sleepovas are pretty much a sacred space for them. As each year tugs them further into adulthood and life doesn't pan out quite as they imagined, they struggle to hold on to a friendship that they swore would last a lifetime". A fab sounding new Bush Theatre commission from Matilda Feyiṣayọ Ibini, more here.

The Blue Whale | The Space | 23-25 Feb
Over to The Space now for 'The Blue Whale' – or, if you're not in a position to get there physically, you can take this in online. Yay. "Loser-in-love Lewis has met a girl online. Eager to prove himself, he accepts her proposal to take part in a game where she presents him a series of challenges. As the challenges escalate, so do the stakes. A story of love, relationships and desperation in an online world". Info here.


40/40 | The Place | 23 Feb (pictured)
And now for some things that are not theatre. And aren't comedy, either, come to that. Let's start with some dance, shall we? This is a celebration of Katherina Radeva's life as a woman, a migrant and an artist, telling the stories of her forty years of hardship and tears, as well as joy and laughter. For more information on the show, and to book tickets, head to the venue website right about here.

Ethical Matters: How Great Novels Help Us Change | Conway Hall | 26 Feb
Next up, an intriguing talk – and another event you can access digitally as well as in person – from Josh Cohen, psychoanalyst and Professor of Modern Literary Theory at Goldsmiths. "Literature matters. Not only does it provide escapism and entertainment, but it also holds a mirror up to our lives to show us aspects of ourselves we may not have seen or understood". Read more about it here.

Giuseppe Verdi's Macbeth | Hoxton Hall | 25-26 Feb + 4-5 Mar
And finally for this section, some opera, and what a story to make an opera about. Verdi's Nineteenth Century work is staged here by the Uncovered Opera Company, who promise an immersive performance, sung in Italian with English surtitles, which will – of course – tell a story replete with witches and other dodgy main characters, while the themes of political corruption and tyrannical rule are as relevant as ever. Details here.


Glass Splinters | Pleasance Theatre | 24-25 Feb
This is the sort of section I usually call 'a mixed bag', though I don't recall using that phrase for a while, so perhaps there haven't been many mixed bags of late. Anyway, this first recommended 'great event' is theatrical, presented by Glass Splinters, who return to the Pleasance for two nights that mix duologues and scenes showcasing stories from obscure and forgotten women in history. Take a look here for info on what to expect.

Merboy | Omnibus Theatre | 21 Feb-4 Mar (pictured)
"Marooned out at sea and the greedy moon is fat, fed by the tide to show far and wide that I have grown". Featuring verse, storytelling and lip-synching, supported by a musical chorus of drag sisters, 'Merboy' is a queer retelling of 'The Little Mermaid' which tells the story of the "sexual awakening of a mixed heritage queer boy navigating school homophobia and the brutal complexities of the gay scene". More here.

Gift | Half Moon Theatre | 24-25 Feb
This last one is for those of you in possession of a very small babby-lamb, so it's not for everyone, but I am sure it will be lovely. HurlyBurly Theatre's 'Gift' is aimed at the very young up to the age of two, and their carers, and is a "very first opera" that celebrates nature, exploring the interconnectedness of life on earth. It features gentle classical singing and sensory play. Read more and book tickets here.
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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