MONDAY 6 NOVEMBER 2023 THISWEEKCULTURE.COM
AI AND THE CREATIVE INDUSTRIES
This week we are launching TW Backstage, articles, interviews and podcasts all about the business of culture - putting the spotlight on trends and debates in the creative industries, and talking to key people working in theatre, comedy and culture at large.

In this first article, TW Co-Editor Chris Cooke looks at the impact of artificial intelligence on the creative industries and - in particular - the debate around copyright and AI, and whether creators and copyright owners have control over the use of their work by technology companies to train generative AI models.

CLICK HERE to read this TW Backstage article.
Shows to see in the week ahead - including performances from people and companies we first discovered at the Edinburgh Festival.


FUNNY STUFF>>

Tom Stade: Natural Born Killer | Leicester Square Theatre | 11, 16, 18 Nov
Oooh, the evenings are dark now, aren't they? Well, that will happen when you live in a place that insists on the whole daylight saving thing, I guess, but it does still somehow tend to take me by surprise. Anyway, that being the case, I am going to assume everyone wants nice, fun, laughy things to do on these dark evenings. And, to that end, we'll start by recommending that you see Tom Stade, because he's a bit of a legend. See this page here for more.

Dan Jones / Jake Baker Comedy Double Bill | The Pen Theatre | 11 Nov
This is a dedicated stand-up tips section and it is greatly pleasing to me that I managed to squeeze in four comedy acts instead of three by picking this handy double bill over at The Pen Theatre. One of our Edinburgh Fringe reviewers loved Dan Jones' 'This Seems Ambitious' when he saw it this summer and, although we didn't manage to get a reviewer along to Jake Baker's 'Alone Together', I have heard lots of good things about it from highly discerning people. Click here.

Alexander Bennett: I Can't Stand The Man, Myself | Pleasance Theatre | 9 Nov (pictured)
And so to the final stand-up of this here section and this much acclaimed show that Alexander Bennett previously performed up at the old 2023 edfringe, from which you can expect very good things. "Do you have a critical inner voice? Join Alexander as he interrogates his own, tries to kill it, then comes for yours. A show about hating yourself and, amongst other things, choosing not to". More here.


MORE FUNNY STUFF>>

Feeling Afraid As If Something Terrible Is Going To Happen | Bush Theatre | 10 Nov-23 Dec
Okay, well we have some more stand-ups for you later in this section, but first we're going to have some funny theatrical stuff. Well, except that, although this is in fact a play, it's about a stand-up comedian, and it's a monologue, so it might be a bit like going to see a stand-up. It is a play though, a hilarious one with dark themes, and it's really very highly critically acclaimed: our reviewer gave it 5/5 in Edinburgh and - not only that - it came away from the Festival with a Fringe First and one of the Stage Awards. Click here.

Flip! | Soho Theatre | 7-25 Nov (pictured)
Another play for you now, a satirical one penned by Racheal Ofori, directed by Emily Aboud, all of which bodes very well. "Meet Carleen and Crystal. Two best friends with a lot to say and a growing online following. Until their latest post sees them go too far... The new social media platform FLIP! offers them a second chance. Superstardom, influence, money: it's all just a click away. FLIP! is the answer to everything they've ever dreamed of. But at what cost?" Get more info here.

Brown Sauce | The Bill Murray | 7 Nov
And finally, at the end of this second section of funny stuff, I offer you a whole lot of stand-up types, all in one show. Six, to be precise, all lining up for 'Brown Sauce', an established night featuring South Asian (and other Asian) comedians. This particular edition will show off the talents of Sharlin Jahan, Sunil Patel, Pateek Srivastava, Su Mi, Priya Hall and Leila Navabi. Head to the Angel Comedy website here for more information and to book.


CHILDREN'S STUFF>>

Big Bad Me | Little Angel Theatre | until 19 Nov
And now for some kid stuff. There will probably be quite a lot of kid stuff tips over the next few weeks, I think, because it's that time of year when shows that are going to run for the festive period often get started. That said, two of these are shorter stops, don't let me fool you into thinking you've got ages to see them. Anyway, here's your first one, it's the story of Little Red Riding Hood, but told from the wolf's perspective, which is interesting. Info here.

The Lightbulb Princess | Polka's Adventure Theatre | 8-12 Nov (pictured)
"Can you help a very unusual princess solve an unexpected problem? Without the twinkle of fairy lights, the holiday season could be cancelled!  It's up to our intrepid explorer, her pals and YOU to illuminate the world again". This sounds fun and rather interesting, as it promises to explore the science behind electricity whilst entertaining with songs and storytelling. It's suitable for those aged four and up, see the venue website here.

The Snow Queen | Polka Main Theatre | 11 Nov-21 Jan
Now this one does run up to and beyond Christmas, so you could save it for closer to the big day if you want. But, you know, there's no reason why you can't go this week, especially as it's a blooming classic like 'The Snow Queen'. Maybe you could go this week and then go again another time. Anyway, I don't think I need to tell you the plot, or that you can expect magical frosty things, so I'll just mention that it's recommended for ages six to twelve. More here.


MUSICAL STUFF>>

Masque Of Vengeance | The Cockpit | 7-9 Nov
Yay, I like it when there are enough musicals to make a musical section. Though to be fair, I am using the term musical fairly loosely here. I mean, most people think of modern musical theatre when they hear "it's a musical", right? Well, this is a tragicomic chamber opera based on Jacobean playwright Thomas Middleton's rather famous work 'The Revenger's Tragedy', and I am quite excited about it. Head to the venue website here for all the gen.

Hansel And Gretel | Jacksons Lane | 10-19 Nov
This is another show that might be good for a family outing, actually, as it's said to be suitable for "all ages", though you'll probably be the best judge of how suitable it will be for your smaller ones. It is, of course, the opera by the original Englebert Humperdinck, sung in German with English surtitles, which obviously tells the well loved tale of Hansel and Gretel, who overthrow the witch and free all the children (played by local kids) that she has changed into gingerbread. Details here.

Two Strangers (Carry A Cake Across New York) | Kiln Theatre | 9 Nov-23 Dec
You know how I was talking about what you'd think about when we refer to 'musicals'? Well this time we really are talking about modern musical theatre. This is a new British one by Jim Barne and Kit Buchan, and it sounds rather fun. It's about Dougal, a "naive, impossibly upbeat Brit" who flies to New York for his dad's second wedding, and is met at the airport by the sister of the bride, a busy New Yorker with little time to spare. I think I can see where this is going. Click here.


THEATRICAL STUFF>>

Scratches | Arcola Theatre | 7-11 Nov
Final section and this week it's not a mixed bag, because it's actually all theatrical stuff, as you may well have worked out because of the fact that I called it 'theatrical stuff'. This one's a new play about self harm and recovery, which, despite the serious subject matter, is also funny. "Meet girl. For too long, she's been hiding her scratches with unfashionably long socks, clever white lies and period pads. But now she and her fabulous best friend are here to set the record straight". Info here.

Good Cop, Bad Cop 28 Festival | The Space | 17-18 Nov
This one is actually a little festival featuring plays, discussions and workshops presented by Rising Tides to coincide with the COP28 Summit. I'm intrigued by the sound of 'Newbie', a climate change comedy: "It's Jackson's first day as a drone pilot, protecting the sparse farmland of Kent, when he loses his entire unit over France. Aided by his irritated colleagues, Air Traffic Control, and an Eagle, he sets out on a search mission that could change the landscape forever". Click here.

Tiger | Omnibus Theatre | 7 Nov-2 Dec (pictured)
And finally, a brilliant new play that explores the mysteries of grief and promises to blur the lines between comedy and tragedy, and what is real and what's imaginary. "Alice is grieving and she's lost her way. Oli is a doctor but he can't make her better. Struggling to make rent, they advertise for a flatmate and a mysterious stranger called Tiger arrives: they're the strangest person you could meet, but to Alice, Tiger makes perfect sense". Head to the venue website 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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