MONDAY 9 OCTOBER 2023 THISWEEKCULTURE.COM
KATH HALING: THE LEAST WE COULD DO
I was very much interested as soon as I heard about 'The Least We Could Do' - which opens this week at The Hope Theatre - for a number of reasons. 

Firstly, the play is about what happens when the media or the public turn on people who are in the public eye, and the effects of the witch-hunts that often ensue. Secondly, it's a debut play and we love to hear about those.

And thirdly, it's a debut play from someone whose career has hitherto been more focused in the music space, and I was really interested to find out about the motivation for this new direction. 

The talented creative behind 'The Least We Could Do' is Kath Haling. I spoke to her, to find out more about her career and the play. 

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

'The Least We Could Do' is on at The Hope Theatre from 10-28 Oct. For more information and to book tickets see the venue website here.



JAMES ROWLAND: PIECE OF WORK
We've been big fans of James Rowland for quite some time now, having first witnessed his work at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe a fair few years ago. We like him so much, in fact, that we gave him one of our ThreeWeeks Editors' Awards back in 2018. 

The reason for all this love is, of course, the brilliant shows he creates and performs, so we were delighted to hear that his latest - the highly critically acclaimed 'Piece Of Work' - is headed for a short run at Camden People's Theatre this week, before beginning a UK tour. 

I thought it was definitely time for a catch-up with James, so I arranged a quick chat ahead of the upcoming run. 

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

'Piece Of Work' is on at Camden People's Theatre from 10-14 Oct, for more info and to book, head to the venue website here.  



JOHN MCKAY: DEAD DAD DOG
It's been 35 or so years, but I reckon some of our more seasoned readers are old enough to remember the first staging of John McKay's 'Dead Dad Dog', which premiered back in 1987 at Edinburgh's Traverse Theatre to much acclaim. I was really pleased when I heard that a revival of the show would be taking place this month at the Finborough Theatre. 

Since that staging of his first play, McKay has gone on to high profile things as a writer and director in TV and movies, on such films as 'Crush' with Andie MacDowell and 'We'll Take Manhattan' with Karen Gillan, winning awards - not least a BAFTA and an Emmy - and also working on one of my favourite ever TV shows, 'Life On Mars'. 

Anyway, all things considered, I wanted to find out more about the play and the playwright, so I spoke to John ahead of this month's run.

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

'Dead Dad Dog' is on at the Finborough Theatre until 28 Oct, 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.


CHILDREN'S SHOWS>>

Nest | Polka Theatre | 11-15 Oct (pictured)
As I think I might have said last week, we're probably now into that whole needing indoor things to do with the kids time of year, so let's have a nice section just for small ones. We'll start over at the lovely Polka Theatre with something for the aged three to seven demographic. 'Nest' is a very physical show featuring clowning, original songs and shadow play that tells the story two birds making their home in a tree in the city. For more information and to book tickets head to the venue website here.

Jack! | Lyric Hammersmith Studio | 14 Oct
"For as long as tales have been told, the character of Jack has been a constant presence in stories. Sometimes clever and cunning, sometimes lazy and foolish, but always coming out on top, fairy tales, folklore and nursery rhymes are full of tales of a lad named Jack". This sounds like a fun one, for ages five and up. It's a new musical featuring traditional stories, original songs and live music and storytelling, and it sounds like you might end up singing along. All the info here.

Baby Broadway Family Concert | Jacksons Lane | 15 Oct
If you're a family of musical lovers then here's another show to take in with little ones (this time aged up to seven-ish, though it's said to be suitable for all). If you haven't heard of Baby Broadway before, then let me tell you about it: it's an interactive family concert featuring West End singers and songs from hit musicals like 'Mary Poppins', 'Frozen' and 'The Little Mermaid', which you can sing and dance along to. See the Jacksons Lane website here to find out more.


FUNNY STUFF>>

Elias Werner: Live and Deaf | The Pen Theatre | 12 Oct
Right, now for something specifically for you grown ups, especially those of you in need of a little jollity in your life. Surely that's everyone? But if not, head on down to the next section to find tips for some more serious stuff. Meanwhile, potential gigglers out there, we have three recommendations for you, beginning with Austrian comedian Elias Werner, from whom, I understand, we can expect some seriously witty and promisingly dark comedy. See this page here for more info.

Viggo Venn: Tour Preview | Soho Theatre | 10-14 Oct (pictured)
And up next, another citizen of Continental Europe - this time a Norwegian one - and one you've probably almost definitely heard of given his recent 'BGT' success. But honestly, if you're a proper comedy / clown / edfringe fan you'll have been aware of his work for quite a few years. Anyway, following a sell out run at the Edinburgh Fringe, he's on tour and you have the chance to catch the show over at Soho Theatre. Expect some very entertaining and goofy stuff. Click here for more.

The Magic Of Terry Pratchett | Bloomsbury Theatre and Studio | 12 Oct
Not sure if this strictly counts as comedy genre-wise, but it's definitely funny, as well as interesting and poignant, and obviously it will be highly appealing for all you Pratchett fans out there. Another show that had a successful run in Edinburgh and - even though I said that thing about this appealing to Pratchett fans - our edfringe review noted that it "does a fantastic job of navigating both the super-fan and the novice through the story of Pratchett's life, work and legacy". Head to this page here. And find out more with this podcast interview we did with the show's creator at the Fringe.


SHORT STOPS>>

Thought Monster | The Hope Theatre | 15-16 Oct
And so now onto all that serious stuff I promised you. Well, it's not all serious, to be fair, it's just theatre-y stuff which means you can expect some of it to be serious and some of it not-so-serious, as I'm sure you're entirely capable of having worked out for yourself! Anyway, the first tip is for 'Thought Monster', which is about OCD and a struggling teen with a wild imagination. Expect "singing, darkness, light, healing, forgiveness, and an epic dance number". Head this way to book your tickets.

Please Don't Hurt Me | Brixton House | 12-14 Oct
Now that I've said 'theatre-y' I am not sure this one really fits into that bracket given the description. It sounds really interesting though, because it's a "multidisciplinary artistic exploration into individual and universal experiences of romantic love, our desires to be loved, our self discovery both in love and in heartbreak, and the very simple notion that we don't want to be hurt, especially by those we love". It's an international effort, a collaboration between creatives from the UK and Mexico. More here.

Melonade | Camden People's Theatre | 10-11 Oct (pictured)
Yet another show that feels less like theatre and more like something else, and which also, in fact, promises to be funny. For it's a "fun, fierce and full-of-glitter game show" that takes a look at how government policy in education discriminates against neurodivergent people, whilst also celebrating neurodivergence. As someone who has seen first hand how the education system treats young, non-neurotypical people, I'd say this is a really important topic to be covering. Read more about it here.


LONGER RUNS>>

Meetings | Orange Tree Theatre | 14 Oct-11 Nov
I think this section might turn out to be more uncomplicatedly theatrical, if not all actually serious. First recommendation is for a staging at the Orange Tree Theatre of 'Meetings', the late Mustapha Matura's 1981 comedy play about identity, belonging and the cost of progress. "Suited, booted, and stuffed with American burgers and fries, Hugh walks out of a meeting and buys a mango on the street. To the bemusement of his high-flying wife Jean, Hugh becomes obsessed with the foods of his Trinidadian childhood". Click here.

Elephant | Bush Theatre | 14 Oct-4 Nov (pictured)
We've tipped this one before, almost exactly a year ago, when the show had a successful run at Bush Theatre as part of their Protest series, a response to the killing of George Floyd. Now it's returning to the venue but, from what I understand, it's a new, expanded production, so if you saw it last year it sounds like there's every reason to go back. If you didn't manage to see it, it's "part gig, part musical love story, part journey through Empire". Read more about it right about here.

The Diviners | Golden Goose Theatre | 10-28 October
"Four broken AI entities are trying to make sense of the world but no longer have the correct information. These are The Diviners. In their fragmented state they explore a nether world, between the lines of stories and through unheard harmonics of music. Is this where the truth really lies?" Veteran company People Show present this intriguing production featuring secret guest artists at every performance. Take a look at the venue website here for more information and to book tickets.


MORE GREAT STUFF>>

That Face On Screen | Orange Tree Theatre | 10-13 Oct
Another show we are tipping for a second time, in this case because last time we tipped it as an in-person show and this time we are recommending that you take it in digitally, if you didn't manage to see it in recent weeks. 'That Face' is Polly Stenham's very high acclaimed 2007 debut play about the secret lives of the rich, centring on Martha, her dysfunctional relationships with her children, and the return from overseas of her estranged husband. To arrange to view it, head to this place here.

Nina Simone - Legacy | Barbican | 11 Oct
The final two shows in this week's traditional mixed bag are linked by the fact that there's a musical element, which is nice. Here Olivier Award-nominated performer and activist Josette Bushell-Mingo revisits 2017 success 'Nina - A Story About Me And Nina Simone' via the premiere of documentary film 'Call Nina'. It follows the performer behind the scenes of the show, exploring her relationship with Nina Simone and the continuing need to fight racism. The screening is followed by a panel discussion and concert. Click here.

Queen Marie Of Romania | The Space | 12-14 Oct
This one's an opera about a historical figure, which rather ticks some boxes for me. Marie was the granddaughter of both Queen Victoria and Tsar Alexander II of Russia, and the show tells the story of her life from the time of her marriage to Crown Prince Ferdinand of Romania in 1893 until her death in 1938, during which time she served as a WWI nurse and as a diplomat at the Treaty Of Versailles. It explores themes of love, death, devotion to duty and personal conflict. Head this way to find out more.
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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