THEATRE DIARY: August

While a lot of theatre folk head northwards over the border for all the madness of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, I’m staying in London (with the exception of a VERY exciting trip to New York at the end of the month!) and keeping myself busy with everything from the West End to the Camden Fringe, which comes to venues across north London this month.

The Importance of Being Earnest, Vaudeville Theatre (Sat 1st)

A spontaneous treat by some very generous parents of a friend, this trip makes up for the one that was sadly cancelled Importance of being earneston Tube Strike Day. David Suchet takes on the role of the infamous and brilliant Lady Bracknell – a complete contrast to when I last saw him on stage, in the beautifully tragic All My Sons back in 2010. Earnest is one of my favourite plays, with a script that never gets old and fond memories of working backstage on my school production. I can’t wait to sit back and enjoy this feel-good show.

Click here for more information.

Harry’s Girls, RADA Studios / CAMDEN FRINGE (Tue 4th)

This modernised reworking of the story of Henry VIII’s (mostly) doomed wives, this new piece from Spectra Theatre Company transports the historical figures into the glamour and murkiness of Las Vegas, where the women in Henry/Harry’s life ignite passion and, presuming some historical accuracy remains, tragedy. Throwing together English Tudor history and American modernism may initially sound like an odd move, but I think the high drama of the 16th century court could suit the adaptation well. The production will be repeated later in the month at Upstairs at the Gatehouse, so I’ll be letting you all know if it’s worth a visit!

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Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games, Dominion Theatre (Fri 7th)

Lord of the Dance

My first visit to Lord of the Dance – or any Irish dancing, for that matter. I’m going with an expert so will partly leave it to her to let me know if the technique is on point, but I can’t wait to check out the drama and the joy of this Celtic dance spectacular. The show is a re-run of the 2014 sell-out show, and while the man himself Michael Flatley has now hung up his dancing shoes, he still takes an active role behind the scenes creating the show. It’s sure to be a grand show, so it is…

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Alan and Bennett, Rabbit Hole NW3 @ The Duke of Hamilton / CAMDEN FRINGE (Sat 8th)

In another taste of the Camden Fringe, this time I’m checking out what’s on offer in my postcode as I head to the local Duke of Hamilton pub and to the Rabbit Hole theatre. Unsurprisingly Alan and Bennett takes playwright Alan Bennett as its focus, but endows him with some form of split personality: “Alan Bennett has a problem; he can’t stop talking to himself”. The question is, can Cup of Brew theatre company give this surrealist comedy the same balance of wit and poignancy as the man himself brings to his works? With a focus on this brilliant playwright and a theatre company named after my favourite beverage, I’m really hoping this one turns out to be a winner.

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Bakkhai, Almeida Theatre (Mon 10th)

BakkhaiThe second in the theatre’s Almeida Greeks season, Bakkhai follows hot on the heels of the huge success of Oresteia (which is now getting a surprising but apparently hugely well deserved West End transfer). It stars Ben Whishaw as Dionysos, and he hasn’t disappointed the last couple of times I’ve seen him on stage (in Peter and Alice and Mojo) so that’s a reason to go for starters. Add to that the presence of Bertie Carvel, best known for playing Miss Trunchbull in Matilda, a new translation by Anne Carson and the fact that I’ve never seen this Greek classic on stage before, and I think I’ll be in for a treat.

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Family Duels, Hen and Chickens / CAMDEN FRINGE (Weds 12th)

“Faux-Shakespearean tragicomedy” isn’t a genre I can say I’ve seen before, but I’m looking forward to seeing how Crooked Tree Theatre Company get the balance between comedy, tragedy, Bard-spoofing and ‘punk theatre’. With a “sadistic, senile patriarch”, “conniving, nymphomaniac, young wife”, “nihilistic step-son” and “obese, heartbroken sister”, it’s certainly a motley crew worthy of any dysfunctional family.

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Oliver!, Watermill Theatre, Newbury (Fri 21st)

Another feel-good treat after the Greek tragedy at the Almeida, I’m off to see this classic musical at the charming little Watermill Theatre in Newbury. This small venue has proved a powerhouse in recent years, producing high energy shows featuring actor-musicians. It’s a tight space, but that could prove effective in presenting the criminal underworld in the back streets of Victorian London. Oliver! was the very first show I saw in the West End at the tender age of about five, and it doubtless had a huge impact on my love of musials and the theatre in general – so I can’t wait to enjoy the revelry of ‘Oom-Pah-Pah’, the heartbreak of ‘As Long As He Needs Me’ and the wit of ‘Reviewing the Situation’ all over again.

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The Mercurious Misadventures of Hatter and Hare!, Rabbit Hole NW3 @ The Duke of Hamilton / CAMDEN FRINGE (Mon 24th)

Hatter and HareIt’s a classic of Fringe theatre to take well-known characters, real or fictional, and throw them into a new situation – see Harry’s Girls, above. Aelfa Centauri Theatre Company give this treatment to two of Lewis Carroll’s best-loved figures, sending them on “a globe-spanning pilgrimage of enlightenment, intrigue and precariously balanced crockery”. In the 150th anniversary year of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, there’s a plethora of shows appearing inspired by the classic tale. I’m hoping the company make the most of Carroll’s wacky source material and embrace the madness.

Click here for more information.

Thoroughly Modern Millie, Landor Theatre (Thurs 27th)

Millie’s back in town! Another toe-tapping musical to round off my month, this revival of Jeanine Tesori and Dick Scanlan’s roaring Twenties musical comes to the Landor Theatre in Clapham, well known for intimate and exuberant musical productions. This has all the ingredients for a late summer hit, promising to ignite south London with the slightly bonkers but utterly glorious tale of Millie Dillmount’s New York adventures.

Click here for more information.

And just like Millie, I’m off for my own New York adventures for a week at the very end of August – so keep an eye out for a special Broadway review coming soon!

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