MONDAY 5 FEBRUARY 2024 THISWEEKCULTURE.COM
ROBERT PENNY: TIDY
Round about now feels to me like a good time to be thinking about children's shows, especially with half term on the horizon and dull weather making it maybe more fun to be inside.

So with that in mind, I thought I'd investigate 'Tidy', a co-production from Polka Theatre and Theatr Iolo, that begins a run at Polka Theatre this week. 

It's a show for younger children, set in the forest and featuring a trio of friendly animals. I spoke to cast member Robert Penny about the play, his role in it and about the performer himself. 

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

'Tidy' is on at Polka Theatre from 10 Feb-24 Mar. For more information and to book tickets, head to the venue website here.
Shows to see in the week ahead - including performances from people and companies we first discovered at the Edinburgh Festival.


FESTIVAL STUFF>>

Waiting For God. Oh | Old Red Lion Theatre | 9-10 Feb (pictured)
I think we've been running a festival tips section for quite a few consecutive weeks now, and honestly, it makes my heart glad that we can do it again. This time we're starting over at the Old Red Lion with something plucked from their Freshfest line up, an intriguing piece with an amusing title in which God asks a human to spend some time with her. Read more about it here.

The Garden | Turbine Theatre | 9-11 Feb
And now we are making a return trip to the new musical workshopping MTFestUK, this time for 'The Garden', a magical-realist, afro-electric-folk work focusing on the need for social housing, nature and love, and following the story of Azalea, a teenage girl who is dealing with the death of her father and a difficult relationship with her mother. Info and booking here.

Adam Riches WIP (Coach Coach) | Union Theatre | 12 Feb
And so to another show in its early stages of development, from one of our favourites, Adam Riches, which is a squooshing together of his two acclaimed Coach shows, 'Coach Coach' and 'Coach Coach 2 - Coach Harder'. It's part of Vault's A Pinch Of Vault work in progress festival, taking place ahead of the returning full Vault Festival later this year. Find out more here.


SHORT STOPS>>

Gertrude Lawrence: A Lovely Way To Spend An Evening | Wilton's Music Hall | 8-10 Feb
And now for news that you'll need to act on quickly, of some short runs coming to a location near you. First up, Lucy Stevens performs this theatrical cabaret - directed by TW Award winner Sarah-Louise Young - that focuses on the life of performer Gertrude Lawrence, who was born in Clapham but ended up on Broadway. For more info and to book see this page here.

You're Bard | Fairfield Halls | 8 Feb
Oh, I do love a punny title and have been known to recommend shows almost entirely on the basis of one. But that's not what's happening here, of course, for I am telling you about this show because it's going to be great. How could it not when it's an interactive 'Shakespearience' where you get to decide what happens on stage? Head to this page here for all the details.

When The Time Comes | The Space | 6-10 Feb (pictured)
"Not too many years from now, The Chosen Ones live in a protected bubble on Sjælland in Denmark. The only place not destroyed by natural disasters… yet. This special city is called The Olympic, and the inhabitants of The Olympic live like Gods. The rest of humanity live like Rats". A love story in a broken, dystopian future, which, FYI, you can see online as well as live. Get more info and book your tickets here.


LONGER RUNS>>

Medusa's First Kiss | Little Angel Studios | 10 Feb-21 Apr
And on to some longer runs, and this one is for your older kids and therefore possibly something you could plan to see over the upcoming half term maybe? Or, you know, sooner or later. It's a punk rock musical for anyone over the age of ten, in which the gods and myth-stars of the ancient Greek world are dropped into a high school setting. Love that. Find out more here.

When You Pass Over My Tomb | Arcola Theatre | 7 Feb-2 Mar (pictured)
Now something for the grown ups out there, a staging of this play by acclaimed Franco-Uruguayan playwright Sergio Blanco, adapted and directed by Daniel Goldman. I'm very, very intrigued by this one, because it all sounds a bit meta as well as being darkly comical, as it explores male desire, friendship and eroticism, and asks whether we can learn how better to both live and die. Info here.

The Frogs | Kiln Theatre | 8 Feb-2 Mar
Kinda didn't notice when putting these longer run tips together that we had two shows with something of an ancient Greek theme. And now I realise that - with 'When The Time Comes' also having an Olympus/god theme - I could have grouped these shows together as a three to see. Too late now though! So, onto this, the very very excellent Spymonkey's "tragically funny attempt to pull off a classic Greek comedy". Can't miss this one, mate. Book here.


MORE GREAT STUFF>>

The Gentleman Of Shalott | The Hope Theatre | 6-17 Feb
Finally, to our last section of the week, more theatre for you, and it's the sort that's doing a medium length run in one of our favourite venues. This is an interesting one, a "queer adaptation of Tennyson's poem 'The Lady Of Shalott' influenced by the Theatre Of The Absurd" that explores a wide variety of themes, including isolation and neurodiversity. Click here.

10 Nights | Omnibus Theatre | 7-21 Feb
"When Yasser decides to take part in itikaf, sleeping and fasting in the mosque for the last ten nights of Ramadan, he soon regrets his decision. But as he navigates smug worshippers, shared bathrooms and recurring thoughts of chunky chips, Yasser's isolation forces him to confront a side of himself he's been trying to keep hidden". A funny and moving play about self discovery, find more info here.

Self-Raising | Soho Theatre | 6-17 February (pictured)
Finally, a show our reviewer absolutely loved when they saw it up at the most recent Edinburgh Fringe, awarding it a resounding 5/5. In it, Jenny Sealey, Graeae's award winning Artistic Director, tells her own story. "Unravelling the past and facing the future, 'Self-Raising' is a blisteringly honest, laugh-out-loud one-woman show about growing up deaf in a family with secrets". Click 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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