In the middle of a dark room, I am ushered into what looks like a largish, stand-alone cupboard. With a spotlight above a single chair facing a perspex sheet covered with a window blind, there is an immediate sense of the audience becoming the performer. Given that the four mini-plays making up this event are semi-improvised character pieces relying on audience interaction, this feeling is apt. As much the playlets are highly theatrical and often disarming, they are also intimate and conversational. In a time where many of us are learning how to just be in the same space as another person, unmediated by a computer screen, Theatre for Two is comforting and familiar as well as challenging what has become normal disconnect from people and the world we live in.
The lights dangling over the audience in the intimate pub garden theatre look rather like anal beads. It’s a great choice by lighting designer Richard Lambert because they suit the joyously raunchy tone of this adult panto in Vauxhall, or rather, the charming mountain village Vaüxhallen. The town’s residents we meet over the two hour-long show are all out for some action and adventure – in every sense of the word.
Emily Jane Rooney longs for a world that doles out praise for being happy rather than being skinny, and where people can comfortably be their true selves. On the other hand, she wants the posh kid she works with to just fuck off. This clever use of contrast – switching from warm and vulnerable, to biting and sharp, and back again – keeps this one-woman show consistently engaging and fun despite a few underdeveloped moments that don’t fully cohere with the rest of the narrative.
A Faustian farce, Get Fit With Bruce Willis stars Chris Brannick as Mike, an ageing Jimmy Somerville impersonator, on a quest to find fame and fortune. His wife (Karen Kirkup) is looking outside of their marriage for lust and excitement. After figuring out he’s more Harry Hill than Jimmy Somerville in the looks department, he decides to re-brand himself somewhere in the middle – as Bruce Willis.
Ever wanted to be famous? Now you can! For the small price of your dignity, you can attend Erinn Dhesi’s “How To Be An Influencer Whilst Alienating People” workshop. The hour-long lecture covers career options, how to boost engagement and, like, a super- important message about identity.
Oli and Leah are a queer couple who have just inherited a house. Well, Oli has, and Leah as their devoted, loyal partner has come along for the ride despite her misgivings about what this milestone in normativity will do to their carefully curated queer existence. But with books going missing, wires tripping and odd sounds coming from the basement, it soon becomes clear that perhaps the house is just as unsure of them, as they are of it.
Forget trying to get your Friday Forty tickets to Cursed Child. Dumbledore is So Gay is a play so good you won’t need a philosopher’s stone to give you life.
Meet our hero, Jack – a teenage boy who hates French, got sorted into Hufflepuff, and who is in love with his best friend Ollie. Life is not going to be easy for him growing up gay during the heyday of Harry Potter. His story is told in three acts.
This is the question I get the most often when I mention institutionalised homophobia in a country I’ve left, Hungary. And it’s not so bad there in this regard, they ‘only’ have a ban on marriage equality, same-sex joint adoption, and Gender Studies. After all, a Pride march isn’t the same without skinheads booing from the cordons, and pulling out of Eurovision because it doesn’t agree with traditional national values (read: because it’s too gay). It could be worse.
“It’s a sexy song about eating.” Francesca Forrestal says to the front row, before Oddball begins. She’s referring to “Bon Appetite” by Katy Perry that plays on a pre-set loop. At the same time, she’s limbering up – swinging her arms, chatting nonchalantly with the audience, and building a familiar relationship she carries throughout the performance – when the show has begun and latecomers enter halfway through one of her speeches, she unflinchingly welcomes them and instantly settles back into the script as though nothing happened. The ease with which she captivates and holds the room is enchanting in itself.