As “the man she always wanted to be”, Chloe Petts is a devoted Crystal Palace football fan who embraces and is (mostly) embraced by lad culture. Her fellow season ticket holders who sit nearby, all very manly men, accept her as one of their own but she has issues when she goes to the loo. Over the course of this low-key hour Petts considers the effects of whether she is perceived as a woman or a man by those around her, and how this relates to the right-wing instigated culture war about trans people. It’s a pointed, provocative and very funny debut with heaps of promise.
Sophie has started a new life back home in Plymouth after years of living in London. She finally has her own place, and things are going well with the woman she’s dating. However, something looms over her life that she can’t bear to let go of – the vast collection of designer clothes that takes up every spare inch of her new flat. The urge to hold onto these items that she sees as an extension of herself is all-consuming, but she also really wants to invite her new girlfriend over.
Henry (Henry Madd) has always found it easier to tell other people’s stories rather than his own. So that’s what he does in The Land of Lost Content where he turns the Pleasance Downstairs into his hometown Dulowl. As part of the Vault Festival transfer season, the show lays out the growing pains in the hearts and bodies of a group of mates that grew up in this little village that happens to rhyme with ‘dull’. Harry’s old friend Jake (Darragh Hand), who now sees him as a somewhat disloyal outsider, welcomes him at the local pub. Pint after pint, they engage with vivid memories from the old days before Henry moved away. As he tells us, their real-world adventures come nowhere close to the coming-of-age glory promised by movies.
This was a big hit at the (limited) Edinburgh Fringe this year, and comes down to north London’s Pleasance Theatre for only two performances. It tells the story of the Aurora, Colorado cinema shooting during the Dark Knight Returns movie premiere, when a shooter killed 13 people during a midnight screening. This is a serious subject for a show, and Piccolo Theatre Company put forward the story using the method of verbatim theatre, with the script constructed from interviews with four survivors of the shooting, some of whom lost someone during the attack.
The downstairs venue has a combo treat this weekend – an indie-rock gig, a spoken word poetry slam and a solo show. All of that is under the single name of head/lining, a gripping play written and performed by Charlie Heptinstall.
This is certainly a different one: a whirlwind, 75 minute-long tour through Gilbert and Sullivan’s most popular operas, with three actors and a pianist in tow to run through all the songs they can fit into that limited time period. Charles Court Opera, a talented and experienced company, do a great job with the songs, with the solo numbers being a particularly wonderful part of the show.
Something I had been looking forward to for a while now was the return of cabaret to the stage after lockdown’s easing. This event is an excellent way to restart this particular art form live and in-person. The wonderful evening at the Pleasance was curated by Newcastle’s Ginger Johnson, an associate artist at the theatre and member of Sink the Pink, an LGBTQ+ collective and club night.
Kevin arrives at his last call-out for the day, a dilapidated house in the middle of a forest near where he grew up. Li Na presents him with a washing machine that no longer spins, but as Kevin attempts to repair it, there are obvious hints that the machine isn’t the only thing that’s broken. Intertwining mythical and personal histories, Julie Tsang’s horror story is a compelling blend of the supernatural and the real.
While the UK is dealing with political transitions and scrutiny, so too is Australia. With the large size of the country and massive environmental threats (a hole in the ozone layer and the destruction of the Great Barrier Reef to name a couple), there are plenty of people trying to make change. However, there is also a group of people who truly believe climate change is a thing of fiction – the climate change deniers.
Ladykiller by Madeline Gould is a grizzly dark comedy that turns the patriarchy on its head with its feminist theme. Produced by the Thelmas and directed by Madelaine Moore, this one-woman show leaves audiences tingling with fear from beginning to end and wondering if everything is really as it seems.