Roman emperor Caligula has provided numerous artists with inspiration, and this year’s Vault Five artist Yuxuan Liu is no different. He has devised a new interpretation of Caligula’s story particularly focusing on the ruler’s megalomania, his queerness, and a bargain he made with Neptune as a young man in exile on Capri. Puppetry and set design effectively complement the script, and the prominent theme of nature’s power resonates strongly in the context of the climate crisis.
Period dramas have become the ultimate weekend watch according to trending British media. And while Ladyfriends, written and directed by Clodagh Chapman, is pretty much suffragettes Christabel Pankhurst and Annie Kenney’s story, this isn’t one of those dramas. Ladyfriends starts from the premise that Annie and Christabel are dating. Though historians dispute this based on ‘lack of scholastic rigour’, Chapman’s take doesn’t engage in these controversies and sees Chris and Annies’ dating as a fact. To her, a more exciting endeavour is to explore how people relate to history, and what lays behind re-visiting it and pursuing new readings.
Devised by Bodies For Rent theatre company, Nocturnal Fantasy takes place at a one-bedroom flat where four people gather (Pedro E. Ferreira, Naima Sjoholm, Aman, Timotheus Widmer), each for different reasons. A party kicks off and, as their moods are pumped up by drinking, they create imaginary spaces that start as playful sketches and eventually take on a surrealistic twist where memories and delusion merge.
In some of the recent popular discourse on the abuse that pollutes the theatre industry, hierarchies and the power they bestow on those at the top have – rightly – been criticised. A rehearsal room mostly populated by freelancers, but run by a single salaried person on staff with the production company or venue, creates a massive power imbalance that can be weaponised. Of course, many rehearsal processes are steered by good people who don’t exploit their position, but in my 20+ years of working in theatre, I’ve rarely seen these hierarchies dismantled, either partially or fully, when the production company operates with one in place. Power is clearly and consistently utilised, with the person in charge easily visible at all times.
Memes, mysteries and musical showboating – the indie karaoke anthem gets a very British tribute.
Tim and Hannah really want it all, so they pack nostalgic pleasure points, one after the other, into their tribute to the Killers’ breakthrough 00’s anthem. “Mr Brightside” hit the UK charts 16 years ago and it hasn’t left since, setting sweaty dancefloors, muddy fields and plush, well-lit living rooms into a comparable frenzy. And those are just my memories.
On the eve of her 22nd birthday, Kerry Frampton got pregnant, catapulting her into the life of a young mum. Fast forward 22 years later, and daughter Matilda is wondering how on earth how her mum did it.
I’m greeted exuberantly by one of the actors, who are mid-yoga warmup when I arrive. Though I try my best to quietly enter their rehearsal space, I’m flustered by a series of train and tube delays that mean I arrived nearly half an hour after I intended and it’s impossible for me to not be noticed. I self-consciously wave, smile, and settle into the chair that’s closest to the door. There are musical instruments, costume, sound equipment and lots of ‘stuff’ everywhere in their Tooting rehearsal room overlooking a school’s playground. And indeed, glitter.
1. What is ‘Exceptional Promise’?
a. Another name for a UK Tier 1 visa
b. An interactive game show-slash-performance piece
c. A critique of the cesspit that is London’s housing market
d. All of the above
If you answered ‘D’, then you win! You’re one step closer to getting the keys to your dream house. But first – you need to survive the rest of the rounds and beat your other two opponents, otherwise you’re doomed to dodgy landlords and housemates forever.
The patriarchy has a lot to answer for, including what must be a ridiculous profit margin for the hair removal industry. Women have had it drilled into them, both explicitly and subconsciously, that having body hair is ugly and dirty. So we wax, shave, epilate, thread and laser ourselves to smoothness – and ingrown hairs, razor burn, and expense. Gorilla, the alter-ego of Girl, is sick of it.
Time. Generally, I never seem to have enough of it. Occasionally – rarely – I have too much to wade through before reaching something I’m eagerly anticipating – a holiday, the weekend, time with a friend I haven’t seen in awhile, or a desperately needed lie-in. Yet for Norman and Vivian, the elderly couple in Ridiculusmus’ new show about ageing, time is a languid, sluggish force. Every weighty moment is stretched to its limits, threatens to stall, and is marked by discomfort, weakness and struggle.