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.
Laughter is an infiltration strategy, and Liv Ello surely knows it. Part heavy-handed satire, part side-splitting clown show, this is a highly confrontational solo piece. The show uses humour to break down barriers and get audiences to face difficult topics around migration, politics and compassion.
Colin Clutterbuck, a British diplomat stationed in an unnamed African nation, is arrested and accused of supporting the president’s opposition with the aim of starting civil war. Clutterbuck claims her community outreach work fosters democracy and civic responsibility amongst the country’s citizens, newly freed from a dictatorship. Her captor, Pacifique Muamba, uses western imperialist techniques of torture to get her to admit what he thinks is the truth.
Project Atom Boi follows the story of Yuanzi (Xiaonan Wang), a doomer who, pressured by a self-indulgent Filmmaker (Francesca Marcolina), starts re-exploring the memories of her childhood in China. Yuanzi grew up in Factory 404, a Cold War ghost town in the Gansu province that was built in the fifties with the sole purpose of hosting a nuclear weapon. As Yuanzi travels back in time, we also meet her childhood best friend Erdan and her grandfather (both played by Kelvin Chan).
At the start of this piece that is definitely not about Hong Kong, we are asked not to take photographs. This is because the performers, who are absolutely not from Hong Kong, could face persecutions under China’s National Security Bill if they were caught making a show about Hong Kong. But this is all hypothetical, because this physical theatre show is not about Hong Kong.
Toye is 16 and ready to change the world. But first, he has an audition for a music scholarship at a private school, all his coursework, his friends always want him to hang out, and his dad is ill. He also wants to while away the time reading up on the Black British people and history that’s left out of the inadequate school curriculum. In short, he’s very busy and trapped in a racist and inflexible education system that he wants to change but also exploit to his advantage, and the pressure is starting to get to him.
This is the UK Premiere of Alhierd Bacharevic’s epic political and fantasy thriller, by Belarus Free Theatre. The original novel is banned in Belarus and the theatre company are now based in the UK, after seeking asylum following the Belarusian authorities attacking them for their plays and politics. It originally ran in 2019 in Minsk, and then across Europe in secret venues. The Barbican show – postponed from 2020 – is on a much larger scale, which works wonderfully with the epic feel of the show. The Russian invasion of Ukraine is present in mind whilst watching the show, making it seem even more prophetic than it may have been a couple of years ago.
Between Ben Yeoh and David Finnegan, there’s an impressive array of interests, knowledge and skills. Theatre, economics and climate change are among them. Their lecture-performance amalgamates these three topics into an engaging, informative and interactive presentation that gives a wide-angle view on what we can do to save the planet.
In 2002, Suzan-Lori Parks set herself the task of writing a play a day for 365 days. Parks
would eventually release the performing rights for $1 per play, sparking a continent-wide theatre festival that took Parks’ work, and theatre, to a host of new audiences and venues. Theatre Uncut follow a similar ethos.
Making a show political without feeling like a rant is a tough nut to crack; too much seriousness and you’re the news, not enough and you look misguided. The company Papergang Theatre make it look easy. They’ve incorporated just about every performance medium: dance poetry, lecture, video. This is proof that less is not always more.