MONDAY 4 DECEMBER 2023 THISWEEKCULTURE.COM
JADE LEANNE BENJAMIN: RAPUNZEL
As you all surely know by now, for you can't have missed it, the Christmas show season is well under way and we are always excited to feature such events here. Another thing we are always happy to talk about is Theatre Peckham and the myriad brilliant things that happen there. 

Beginning there this week is this year's Christmas show, an atypical take on 'Rapunzel' featuring fabulous music and modern, pertinent themes. 

Acclaimed music creator and actor Jade Leanne Benjamin plays the villainous Cassie in the piece. I spoke to her to find out more. 

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

'Rapunzel' is on at Theatre Peckham from 5-24 Dec, see this page 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.


CHRISTMASSY STUFF>>

21 Round For Christmas | The Park Theatre | 6-8 Dec (pictured)
Well gosh it's really really December now, isn't it? So here are some shows giving off absolute Christmas vibes by having the actual word 'Christmas' in their titles, in the case of two of them, and 'Snow Globe' in the case of the third. First up is this acclaimed one-woman "festive romp" written by Toby Hampton and Matthew Ballantyne and starring Cathy Conneff as Tracy, who is in the middle of cooking Christmas dinner for a very large family. Info here.

A Christmas Carol | Jacksons Lane | 10 Dec
Next up, it's a version of 'A Christmas Carol', you'll not be surprised to hear, given our yearly predilection for at some point tipping pretty much any staging of it that we come across. This one is a one-woman interactive puppet show from the highly regarded Grethe Mangala Jensen that's suitable for everyone aged over three. Expect lots of fun and songs alongside the traditional Christmas tale. See the venue website here for more information and to book tickets.

Into The Snow Globe | Arcola Theatre | 9 Dec
"Alex is moving house and about to start a new school, but he doesn't want to. He wishes upon a Shooting Star. He wishes that he could live in a magical winter wonderland, a place that is peaceful and perfect, just like his snow globe. However the snow globe world is not as perfect as it seems". Another family show for you, this one, definitely suitable for tiny tots, featuring a snowman, a polar bear and a dancing candy cane. More here.


SHORT STOPS>>

Bring Your Own Baby Comedy | ArtsDepot | 7 Dec
Well, those last two were for the kids, really, weren't they, so let's do something nice for the parents now. And yes, If I were the owner of a somewhat small baby at this time of year, going to a comedy show with a great line-up without having to find a babysitter is exactly the sort of pre-Christmas treat I would be hoping for. For lo, those of you who haven't heard of it before, this is a comedy show, and yes, you can bring your baby along to it. Info here.

A Most Ridiculous Heist | The Space | 7-9 Dec
"A wave of crime descends on the quiet town of Cheltenham. Gangster boss Don Davide and his band of useless thieves are roaming the town for their next heist when they stumble upon the very rich and very bored Lady Hurf and her entourage". Unless this is somehow stealth-festive, this one doesn't look like it's Christmassy at all, so might be a good option for those of you seeking respite from the onslaught, and it promises to be a definite caper. More here.

An Attempt To Lose Time | Camden People's Theatre | 5-6 Dec (pictured)
You know me, I'm automatically interested when I see the word 'time'. Well, you may not, to be fair, but take it from me, I am. Time passing, time travel, time frozen, anything. This show's intriguing, a "playful meditation" on the subject by Miranda Prag, who can't stop thinking about time, either, apparently, and muses on whether it's possible to live without time, and what time really is, in any case. Read lots more about it on the venue website here.


LONGER RUNS>>

Unfortunate: The Untold Story Of Ursula The Sea Witch | Southwark Playhouse Elephant | 8 Dec-17 Feb (pictured)
A bunch of longer runs for you now, not Christmas shows, but they're on over/in the run up to Christmas and they'd all definitely make a great Christmas treat. This one, an absolute smash at the recent edfringe, is a parody musical that sees 'The Little Mermaid' villain Ursula under the spotlight, with her version of what really happened. Expect a "tell-all tale of sex, sorcery and suckers" complete with filthy humour and pop songs. Click here.

Spy Movie: The Play! | The Hope Theatre | 5-23 Dec
"When all of the major studios in Hollywood reject his newest script, a frustrated screenwriter invites you, an audience of independent movie producers, to a one-night-only live presentation of... 'Spy Movie: The Play!' We'd tell you the plot, but we'd have to kill you... and we haven't finished it yet". This is described as a love letter to spy films, the movie business and fringe theatre, and also threatens to make you laugh a lot. Just my kind of thing and probably yours too. Book here.

Fairytale On Church Street | The Cockpit | 8-30 Dec
Yay, it's another family show! And, despite what I said about this section not really being Christmas shows, this one kind of is – in that it's on for Christmas and in that it features magical stuff and fairy tale characters: "The Big Bad Wolf wants to blow down the neighbourhood to build luxury flats, Mother Hood is behind on her rent, Robin Hood has somehow managed to lose his arrows, and someone keeps breaking into houses and eating all the porridge! What we need is a hero!" Info here.


MORE GREAT STUFF>>

Cassie Workman: Aberdeen | Soho Theatre | 5-16 Dec
Final section for this week, and let's start over at Soho Theatre with Cassie Workman and 'Aberdeen', which won a Fringe First at the Edinburgh Festival back in 2022, as well as much general acclaim, and is focused on beloved and lost musician Kurt Cobain. "'Aberdeen' is an epic, about loss, music, and memory; an extraordinarily heartfelt love poem, to the voice of a generation". Don't miss your chance to see this truly memorable performance. More here.

Vinegar And Brown Paper | Old Red Lion Theatre | 5-9 Dec
"In 1868, Charles Dickens sits down opposite Kate, a twelve-year-old American girl, on a New England train. She is sassy and tells the most famous man of the age that she skips the boring bits in his books. It is not the usual fawning appreciation he is used to, but he is captivated by her direct openness and her stories of life in small-town Maine". Love the sound of this, a story about the impact on a life of a chance meeting on a train. More here.

Futures Festival: Crazy 4 U | Pleasance Theatre | 8+9 Dec
Aaaaaaand finally... the last tip of the week. And, just like we did in the final choice of last week's Three To See recommendations, we're headed over to the Pleasance Theatre's Futures Festival, which focuses on works in progress. This week we're rather drawn to Saffia Kavaz's 'Crazy 4 U', a compelling sounding clown cabaret, but there's other stuff too. Check out all the listings for all of the festival on 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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