Theatre of Gulags tells a story of art and resistance within USSR labour camps. Panning across five detached, yet narratively linked stages, this theatrical installation follows the story of four artists: theatre director Les Kurbas, director Natalya Sats, musician Vadim Kozin and writer and puppeteer Hava Volovich.
In May 2021 I, a Jewish man, tweeted my thoughts about David Baddiel’s Jews Don’t Count. In response, I received a swathe of antisemitic messaging, including a direct message telling me that this person wished that the Nazis had won.
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.
As writer and performer Kim Scopes points out, bisexual representation on our stages and screens is limited. When a bisexual character appears at all, they are usually defined by their sexual activity and reduced to shallow, biphobic stereotypes. So a whole show about being attracted to more than one gender, made by a bisexual/queer person, is hugely exciting. Unfortunately, despite many great ideas and individual moments of excellent execution, this production feels like a disjointed work-in-progress with sections that only tenuously connect to each other.
The Archive of Educated Hearts shows a steely determination to deliver a hopeful and uplifting whirlwind tour through the lives of four women affected by breast cancer. Casey Jay Andrews presents this deeply personal, yet painfully universal, experience with the utmost kindness and calm. This provides the audience with a space to celebrate the women who make up the narrative of the piece, and also take time to reflect on their own experiences of cancer.
Pissing from tall buildings, pulling strangers, waking up somewhere you don’t remember – these are the hallmarks of an absolutely banging night out for some people. But when outrageous behaviour at the weekends starts creeping into the week, then every day, this is a problem.
A fox runs into the road and forces the driver coming towards it to swerve and almost crash. Is it the fox’s fault if the person dies, or does it matter if the driver runs the fox over to save themselves? Which life is worth more? And if you grow up in South London should you be punished for carrying a knife to protect yourself? Or if you stab someone as self-defense is it still a crime? This complex and delicate issue is handled beautifully in David Alade’s Fox Hunting.
Why is the sky blue? What is there to do in Argentina? Why is the sea green? How regularly are young people in the UK and around the world watching pornography? And – more importantly – what affect is it having on their sexual and mental development? These are just some of the questions raised in Abbey Wright’s brand new Why is the Sky Blue?
Can violent criminals be rehabilitated, and can their victims ever forgive them? The Listening Room says yes.
This verbatim piece tells the stories of three violent crimes, primarily from the perspective of the perpetrators. Some character background sets the scene for climactic moments where they commit their offences, but at least half of each of the five characters’ stories spotlights the rehabilitation process and mediation between the assailants and their victims.