The Spirit part 2: The Lion, Battersea Arts Centre

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By Euan Vincent

Director Jack McNamara promised very different performances for each part of Thibault Delferiere’s Spirit trilogy. Attending Lion, we begin to see what he means. Audience filter in to find a desolate Delferiere sitting in a cage. Food is once again dangling from the ceiling, but whereas in the first it was an innocent apple, here a large chunk of meat, tantalises Delferiere from above.

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Our Man in Havana, VAULT Festival

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By Zahid Fayyaz

Spies Like Us Theatre have returned for one week with their award-winning show from 2017’s Edinburgh Fringe. A five-person adaptation of the Graham Greene satirical novel, this one-hour show follows the story of a local vacuum cleaner salesman pushed into working as a spy for MI6 in Cuba, Havana.

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The Spirit part 1: The Camel, Battersea Arts Centre

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by Euan Vincent

Accompanying the first performance of Thibault Delferiere’s trilogy (directed by Jack McNamara), is a side of A4 paper containing three quotes from Nietzsche. They depict a journey through three transmutations: the spirit as camel, the spirit as lion, the spirit as baby. Like the camel, the spirit desires to burden itself and takes on heavy loads. Once laden it transforms into a lion – where it’s power and destructiveness can create the space for the new. And in that space, the baby emerges –  wide-eyed and forgetful, the spirit can now create unencumbered. That is the journey that the trilogy promises to traverse.

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The Art of Cuddling and Other Things, VAULT Festival

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by Euan Vincent

The Art of Cuddling and Other Things might more aptly be named the art of subversion, as Circ Motif delight in carefully building a set-up before delivering a delightfully twisted punch line. The die is cast with the opening sequence. Lights fade up on two men standing 10 feet away from each other, staring in blank silence. In the corner, a multi-instrumentalist solemnly creates an ambient soundscape (think Brian Eno when he still had long hair). The two men walk towards each other and – without uttering a word – they embrace. Ahh, the art of cuddling. How touching.

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The Legend of the Holy Drinker, VAULT Festival

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by Euan Vincent

Hunchtheatre have a thing for re-inventing forgotten fiction. Their new production, The Legend of the Holy Drinker, provides a 2020 update to Joseph Roth’s 1939 novella of the same name. It mixes the time-honoured, moral fetishes of the original with the political milieu of our Brexit-addled times.

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Anansi the Spider, Unicorn Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

They say that a long time ago animals could talk, just like people do now. Anansi the spider was the smartest of all these ancient creatures, and used his intelligence for all sorts of nefarious aims. His legacy of scheming lives on as a collection of stories from West Africa to the Caribbean. This new production presents three of them where the mythical trickster isn’t always the nicest, but directed by Artistic Director Justin Audibert for 4-7 year-olds, they are engaging morality tales with music, interaction and excellent performances.

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Ladylike, Arcola Theatre

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by Nastazja Somers

Casa Festival, London’s largest Latin American arts festival is an annual event that is not
to be missed. Some of the most groundbreaking and refreshing work I’ve seen in my 8 years in London was staged at Casa, including the incredible, heart-stopping 2017 production of Mendoza, a Mexican adaptation of Macbeth. British theatre reflects British society so to say a resistance to staging international work is quite present would be an understatement.

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