Saturday, September 18

London

Catching Comets – Pleasance Theatre
London

Catching Comets – Pleasance Theatre

Imagine that an extinction-level event that threatens the fate of humanity is unfolding right before your eyes. You there? Good, now imagine the heart wrenching moment where you know you have to break up with your partner. While it is unlikely that you’ve actually lived through both of these extraordinarily scenarios in the same lifetime, chances are your imagination is likely to associate a grandiose quality to the first scenario and a smaller, more contained quality to the second. In writer and director Piers Black’s play Catching Comets, audiences witness the interplay of these two scenarios – a disaster movie about the end of the world and a rom-com about falling in (and out of) love – each playing out at the same time. After an acclaimed run at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2019, this one-...
Call me Madam – Upstairs at the Gatehouse
London

Call me Madam – Upstairs at the Gatehouse

When all a country has to offer is babies and cheese, it’s little wonder they need help. Enter the good old USA with their helpful loans and Bob’s your side of chicken. Except, that’s not quite how things pan out. ‘Call me Madam’ is set in 1950, in the years following World War II, when Truman was rolling out the Marshall Plan to help finance the economic recovery of devasted European countries. If you’re thinking this is political, don’t, it’s purely a backdrop for what is essentially a double love story. At a time when women were expected to make home, Sally Adams (Rosemary Ashe), is bound for the Grand Duchy of Lichtenburg in her newly appointed role as ambassador. Her creds: Parties and socialising. Next, enter Cosmo Constantine (Richard Gibson), a man who cannot be bought, a ma...
The Memory of Water – Hampstead Theatre
London

The Memory of Water – Hampstead Theatre

English playwright Shelagh Stephenson’s comedy returns to the Hampstead Theatre, where it was first staged in 1996, in a new revival directed by Alice Hamilton. The play deals with themes of grief and remembrance told through conversations between three sisters (and their partners) in the aftermath of their aged mother Vi’s death. Between managing the arrangements for the funeral and coming to terms with the reality of their mother’s demise, the sisters, namely Teresa, Catherine and Mary, begin to unpack incidents and conversations from the past. These “fleeting” strolls down memory lane are neither pleasant nor particularly therapeutic, for their confronted by personal demons and shared resentments they’ve held on to for far too long. The tension between them is characterized by the dysf...
The Duration – Omnibus Theatre
London

The Duration – Omnibus Theatre

“You will not be punished for your anger; you will be punished by your anger” The printed program for Bruce Graham’s The Duration carries this simple yet moving quote by the Buddha that foreshadows what’s in store at the Omnibus Theatre that evening. Set in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks in the United States, Graham’s play explores the legacy of the devastating incident through the lens of a family trying to come to terms with their loss and anger. The show commemorates the 20th anniversary of the incident, at a time when there has been a resurgence in interest in the geopolitical scenario of Afghanistan. With the Taliban overthrowing the elected government last month, there is a renewed criticism of the US government’s reaction in the years that followed the bombing, tracin...
The Woman in Black – Fortune Theatre
London

The Woman in Black – Fortune Theatre

Stephen Mallatratt’s adaptation of Susan Hill’s best-selling novel returns to the West End with a special reopening at the Fortune Theatre. For director Robin Herford, the project was inspired by an innate urge to mount grandiose artistic output using scarce resources, an endeavour which led him to approach his friend, the late Stephen Malattrat, to adapt Hill’s story with a dozen odd characters into a brisk two-hander play. The show premiered in 1987 at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough and transferred to London a year later, playing at the Lyric Theatre, Strand, the Playhouse and finally moved to the Fortune, where it’s been on for over thirty years. Whereas the original plot of the novel focuses on the everyday happenings and conversations in a small English town haunted by ...
Waitress – New Wimbledon Theatre
London

Waitress – New Wimbledon Theatre

After a premature West End closure due to the pandemic, Waitress, the smash-hit musical comedy written by Sara Bareilles is opening up (again), kicking off its UK tour at the New Wimbledon Theatre. Based on Adrienne Shelley’s cult film of the same name, the show tells the story of Jenna, a talented pie-baking waitress with a big heart whose life unexpectedly changes when a new doctor arrives in town. Several cast members from its West End run have returned to reprise their roles, most notably Lucie Jones who plays the lead, Jenna. From her debut in 2019 to coming back after the show’s closure, Jones has grown in leaps and bounds in her portrayal of Jenna. From her beautiful rendition of ‘What Baking Can Do’ to the incredibly emotional ‘She Used to Be Mine’ which received a well-earned ...
Dear Elizabeth – The Gate @ Theatro Technis
London

Dear Elizabeth – The Gate @ Theatro Technis

Dear Elizabeth (written by Sarah Ruhl) is an exploration of the deep yet complicated friendship between American poets Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell. Ruhl’s script is a vast selection of the letters the two wrote to each other over several decades, and each night a fresh pair of unprepared actors arrive to take on the roles of Bishop and Lowell, unaware of what they’ll be performing. This interesting if not risky concept means that each audience will have a somewhat different experience, and while the letters are funny and searingly honest there wasn’t enough there for me to make up for the lack of characterisation. I found it frustrating being offered a window into the lives of two fascinating people but not being able to dig deeper into their personalities and motivations. Th...
Salomé – Southwark Playhouse
London

Salomé – Southwark Playhouse

Salomé written by Oscar Wilde, was originally written in French in Paris 1891, and was later translated into English.  For many years, Salomé was banned from British theatres due to a censorship law forbidding the staging of scriptural characters.  It wasn’t until after Wilde’s death in 1900, that a private performance took place in London (in 1905), and then later in 1931, the first public performance took place.  Critics at the time believed that time had lessened the impact of such a play and were less than enthusiastic. Lazarus Theatre Company have taken up the challenge of staging this play, but in their own style.  Their reimagining of classic tales brings a freshness to the telling of the stories and after performing Salomé previously at the Greenwich Theatre...
Alcina: Grimeborn Opera Festival – Arcola Outside
London

Alcina: Grimeborn Opera Festival – Arcola Outside

Now in its 14th year, the Grimeborn Opera Festival returns at the Arcola Theatre’s new outdoor space, Arcola Outside. Almost a year and a half after the act of singing was largely prohibited due to the pandemic, Arcola Artistic Director Mehmet Ergen felt thrilled to host the Grimeborn programme in their new and safe outdoor theatre. In its fourth outing at the festival, London-based Ensemble OrQuesta returns with a contemporary treatment of Handel’s compelling opera of desire, power and rage. Written in the 18th century by the German-British Baroque composer, the opera seria's story was originally taken from Ludovico Ariosto's Orlando furioso. The original story is set in enchantress Alcina’s island where she rules a magnificent palace full of former lovers and muses that she’s lured u...
When Darkness Falls – Park Theatre
London

When Darkness Falls – Park Theatre

If you have a liking for ghost stories, then make your way to the Park Theatre in Finsbury Park. James Milton and Paul Morrissey have written and directed a modern take on the genre, which is intriguing, well-acted and excellently presented. The staging is the disorganised office of John Blondel, a teacher and historian, on the island of Guernsey. For his weekly Vlog on the subject of paranormal events on the Channel Islands he has invited a young man to recount some of the extraordinary tales of the supernatural, for which the islands are apparently renowned. Although an avowed sceptic, as the stories unfold, he becomes increasingly involved in a series of stories which become more than fiction. Apparently based upon true events, the five stories which were told by the visitor, kno...