After previous runs at the Soho Theatre in the upstairs space and at Edinburgh Fringe, this American comedian returns to the to the bigger cabaret space for her most recent, hour-long set. This is the story of Emily Wilson’s starring role in the first X-Factor USA, first as part of a duo and then later in an ill-advised, 10 kid group.
Ildiko is half German and half Hungarian. Rosie is half English and half Irish. The two women explore what this might mean, along with how culture, ancestry and migration, make us who we are. Their journey takes the form of an elegant cabaret similar to vintage variety TV shows. Traditional music and folk songs intersperse poignant extracts of personal narrative to make this moving patchwork of stories and anecdotes that make them who they are.
This new musical showcases the lives of five fabulous, historical women through the framework of two young people experiencing an interactive museum. The show is filled with catchy, original numbers and engaging choreography with prominent musical motifs that thread through the performance.
In 1965, a Canadian couple give birth to identical twin boys, Brian and Bruce. When Bruce’s circumcision is botched and he is left without a penis, a doctor convinces his parents that the best way forward is to raise him as a girl. He thinks that with hormones and clear gender roles, Bruce – now Brenda – will be able to lead a normal life. The desperate parents eventually agree. This true story, dramatised by two adult performers and a zoo of soft toys, emphasises how enforcing strictly-defined gender binaries and stereotypes can have far-reaching, tragic consequences.
James Rowland’s Songs of Friendship trilogy focuses on the equally hilarious and moving antics he got up to with his best mates Tom, Sarah and Sarah’s partner Emma over the years. These include stealing a friend’s remains and giving him a Viking funeral, and donating sperm to Sarah and Emma. This show is situated outside of that group of friends. Instead, it focuses on another mate who is far less conventional. Though Rowland’s work here is not as neat or as focused as his previous shows, his seemingly truthful delivery and comic timing are as engaging as ever.
Originally staged in London in 2019 at the Southbank Centre, this part-revue, part-fashion show has been rebooted and now has a long residency at Camden’s iconic Roundhouse venue for around 50 dates. The concept consists of a narrative of the life and times of fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier, put together to include a multitude of his fashion designs and a large cast of dancers.
Unfussy and rich – that’s what Eating Myself is, in a good way. Although, one of the key takeaways from this one-woman show is that no rich Peruvian dish goes without a fuss. Eating Myself is an endearing monologue by Pepa Duarte about food that navigates the intersections between body stereotypes, family, traditions and cuisine.
Guido Garcia Lueches is an actor from Uruguay who lives and works in the UK, which means that xenophobia and racism shape his day-to-day life. When he’s not attending auditions where he is asked to embody Latinx stereotypes, he regularly endures microaggressions from British people. This constant stereotyping is so unrelenting that he’s made a satirical, interactive show about the importance of fitting in as a migrant.
Burnt Lemon have taken their acclaimed 2019 Edinburgh Fringe hit Tokyo Rose on the road with a retooled cast, score and book and a good deal of anticipation. The bones of this new version of the show remain the same, telling the story of Iva Toguri, a Japanese-American radio journalist wrongly convicted of treason in 1945. As in the original, themes include xenophobia, cultural identity, and scapegoating, all with a six-strong female cast. The show opens with the high-energy and undeniably catchy “Hello America” – attention well and truly grabbed. Unfortunately, the number also represents the pinnacle of what is otherwise a flat, one-note production. The book (by Baldwin and Yoon) is generally good, retaining some of the smart, self-referential moxie that made the show charming in 2019, but is let down by the weakness of the score.
Maybe You Like It Productions has just finished a run at the Camden Fringe premiering their comedy Pleading Stupidity, a show written and directed by Caleb Barron and inspired by the real case of the ‘Dumb and Dumber bandits’, as the media called them. The show tells the story of two Aussies who robbed a local bank during their gap year in a Colorado ski town, whilst wearing name tags from their jobs and making no attempt to hide their accents. The crime was solved in eight minutes.