MONDAY 12 FEBRUARY 2024 THISWEEKCULTURE.COM
JONATHAN BLAKELEY: STITCHES
Coming up soon at the Hope Theatre is a solo show that really piqued my interest, partly because it addresses themes that I like to see addressed, but also because of the way the tale is told: it's the story of a life, but seen from the perspective of a toy.

The creative behind it is Jonathan Blakeley, who wrote and performs the play. I arranged a chat to find out more about him and, of course, what to expect from the show. 

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

'Stitches' is on at the Hope Theatre from 20 Feb-9 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.


KID STUFF>>

The Three Bears | Jacksons Lane | 13-17 Feb (pictured)
Thought we would start off the kid stuff right away, because it is in fact half term this week. Well, for most people, I think, there are some regional variations. Anyway, it's a perfectly good reason for a tip section, and the chance to recommend 'The Three Bears' at Jacksons Lane, the traditional tale that you all know, a lovely staging for little ones aged up to six. Click here for more info.

Remarkable Rhythm | Polka Theatre | 14-18 Feb
Over to Polka Theatre for something for your older children aged seven to twelve, and it sounds great: "When Rhythm and Glas meet at Bellevue Park they have the five days of half term to see if their friendship is worth keeping, before they go back to their separate schools. Will they find a way to create something remarkable and discover a rhythm that is theirs alone?" Click here.

Breathe | The Albany | 14 Feb
"Experience a story told from the perspective of an acorn; the hectic forest floor, thrumming underworlds, and dazzling heights of icy branches". Another fab sounding show, this time suitable for ages five to eleven, that explores the inner workings of trees through storytelling, puppetry and live camera work, plus a soundtrack of drum & bass and folk songs. Info here.


VALENTINES-ISH>>

Lonely Hearts Cabaret | Pen Theatre | 16 Feb (pictured)
I think it's important to establish that this section has that 'ish' in it for a reason, which is that these are not all suggestions for a romantic evening out, even though there's something of a Valentine theme, though it might depend on what sort of couple you are, I guess. Anyway, this one's a special Valentine's cabaret promising "humor, heart, and a touch of the unexpected", so I am sold. Details here.

F*ckboy Fairytales | Etcetera Theatre | 14 Feb
"Watch Eleanor's love life unfold, as she escapes the grasp of her ex-boyfriend and finds liberation in the dating game. This racy one-woman show, comic and tragic in equal measures, lets us in on the secret to finding freedom in our most intimate moments". This sounds fun, whether you're heading out as a pair or on your own on Valentine's Day. More here.

The Other Side Of Love | Golden Goose Theatre | 15 Feb
This one's a fundraiser described as an 'alternative' Valentine's event because "not every story ends with 'Happily Ever After' after all", and it's a cabaret of musical theatre hits, the kind that demonstrate the messy and complicated side of relationships and love. Expect songs from 'Chicago', 'Waitress', 'Dear Evan Hanson', 'Rent', 'The Last Five Years' and 'Six'. info here.


CLASSIC-ISH>>

Lear's Shadow | Jack Studio | 13-24 Feb (pictured)
I think the 'ish' is maybe doing less heavy lifting in this section, but let's see. This first one has been created by Shakespeare veteran Colin Hurley using only the Bard's words, and promises to be an inventive reflection on the classic play. "An old man in a dressing gown shuffles into the space carrying a box. Out of the box pour the objects, people, wrongs, jokes, mistakes, laughter and regrets that make up a life". Click here.

A Midsummer Night's Dream | The Cockpit | 14-17 Feb
Over to The Cockpit and this offering from The Bridge Theatre Training Company, which offers a new take on the Shakespeare classic, and which I feel might have been a little at home in the Valentines-ish section. "Shakespeare's hymn to the imagination and the power of love. A riotous, sexy, joyful comedy that's definitely not suitable for children!" See the venue website here.

The Lady With The Dog | Playground Theatre | 13-18 Feb
As you all know, a classic can be something other than a Shakespeare related production, so here I present, for your delectation, the staging of an adaptation of a short story by Anton Chekhov, possibly his most well known and well loved. Oh, and it's all about falling in love, and our attitudes towards sex and romance, so it's another very suitable show to be seeing around Valentine-tide. Info here.


SHORTER RUNS>>

Love Songs And Poems And Animal Drawings | Wilton's Music Hall | 13 Feb
There are actually three whole imminent one-off shows that I wanted to recommend at Wilton's Music Hall this week, so I just picked the first one, which is by the excellent John Hegley. But let me tell you that you can also see Tim Key and Rob Newman. As I write they all have limited availability, so you'd better get your skates on if you want to see any of them, see the venue listings here.

Do I Raise My Hand | Pen Theatre | 19-24 Feb
"Temz Thomas has had what he would describe as the 'perfect life', so he's surprised when he finds himself in a therapist's office, a profession he has very little regard for. Forced to attend six sessions on his family's orders, will Temz' perception of his 'perfect life' survive under scrutiny?" The latest work from writer-performer Akin Wright, creator of previous hit 'I Am Not Black'. Click here.

Protest | Brixton House | 13-16 Feb (pictured)
Over to Brixton House for this new play by Hannah Lavery, directed by Natalie Ibu, about three girls - Alice, Jade and Chloe - who choose to stand up for what they believe in, despite the injustices stacked against them. As the young women take on the issues that concern them, the show explores the power of friendship and the importance of believing in your own voice. More info on the venue website here.


LONGER RUNS>>

Turning The Screw | King's Head Theatre | 14 Feb-10 Mar
Final section and it's some longer theatrical runs for you, so you can still go and see this lot in March if you can't make it this week. Gosh, March feels a long way away though doesn't it? Anyway, this is set at a key point in the life of composer Benjamin Britten, during a time of 'pink panic', and as he's working on an opera based on Henry James. Lots more info on it here.

Shifters | Bush Theatre | 16 Feb-30 Mar
"Tragedy brings Des and Dre crashing back into each other's lives, carrying new secrets and old scars. Caught in the space between memory and reality, they must struggle to navigate the shifting borders that threaten to rewrite their past and reshape their future". A story about the enduring power of love, written by Benedict Lombe, directed by Lynette Linton and starring Heather Agyepong and Tosin Cole. Details here.

Cable Street | Southwark Playhouse Borough | 16 Feb-16 Mar
Last tip of the week, and it's for a musical. And I imagine the title will have given you a clue as to which famous incident in London's East End this one's all about. "Sammy, Mairead and Ron are carving out their own futures on Cable Street when Oswald Mosley's British Union Of Fascists start to march on East London. As the people raise their voices and take a united stand against hatred, the lives of the streets' residents are changed forever". 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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