ANNABELLE, GLIMMER THEATRE | London, Streatham Space Project

Recommended

Glimmer Theatre are renowned for their “Rich Theatre by Little Means”, which takes audiences on unexpected flights of fancy, crammed with good humour, live music and bold images. With their emphasis on recycled props and costumes, like a rusty hat box, a cracked slide projector, newspaper and dustsheets, Glimmer Theatre create astonishing, emotionally charged works.

In this new production, Glimmer Theatre use live music and magical visuals to tell the riotous story of Annabelle Howgego, the extraordinary fen skater who set her village free. Following a private industry performance earlier this year, Glimmer Theatre immediately received maximum funding from Arts Council England, for Glimmer Theatre’s most ambitious project to date.

Starring Sophie Crawford (War Horse, West End) and Rozzi Nicholson-Lailey (The Railway Children, Genesius Pictures), Annabelle tells the true story of Annabelle Howgego, who cast off her life as a scullery maid and became a champion fen skater. But this year, something terrible rises up from the icy river and sends the village into disarray.

Director, designer and actor Andrew Brock is known for being the driving force behind all of Glimmer Theatre’s previous productions, which have toured nationally, as well as his work for Queynte Ladies and other companies. Glimmer Theatre’s Instagram (@glimmertheatre) is also full of their trademark humour, and a window into the exciting things to come.

Annabelle is skating into Streatham Space, London on 6 December 2018, and the Undercroft, Peterborough on 14 December 2018.

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KINGDOM | London, Camden People’s Theatre

Recommended

Created by Celine Lowenthal (Show Boat West End; Shadwell Opera) and Temi Wilkey (Hamlet RSC; Pecs: The Drag King Collective), Kingdom is a surrealist love song about two queer best friends who share a bedroom.

Step inside the kingdom of a couple of high femme weirdos with a magical world of their own. Taking place somewhere between the dream world of their minds and the real-life space of their very own bedroom, this show is a joyous celebration of queer friendship and feminine intimacy.

Creator Temi Wilkey explains in no uncertain terms: “We want to make theatre drenched in queerness and femininity, exploring and celebrating the magic of genuine intimacy; theatre that can offer something beautiful to the world, as an antidote to the cynicism and cruelty that often seems to pervade it.”

Kingdom is part of AndWhat? Queer Arts Festival; an October long celebration of the newest Queer-led cultural and artistic experiences, all across London.

Kingdom will play for three performances only, so book now.

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THE WIDER EARTH | London, Natural History Museum

Recommended

In an exciting collaboration, the National History Museum will be hosting The Wider Earth, an award-winning drama about 22-year old Charles Darwin’s voyage across the globe. Fronted by six young actors bubbling with enthusiasm, the show will bring originality, energy and fun to the story of Darwin’s five-year expedition on HMS Beagle.

The production will be fast-paced and colorful, combining an original score (Lior and Tony Buchen) with live drawings (Justin Harrison) projected on a concave backdrop. The centrepiece is a revolving set (David Morton, Aaron Barton) that offers a deconstructed version of rich wood-paneled HMS Beagle, offering unexpected vistas and angles.

The production, set in the beautiful Jerwood Gallery, will be framed with stone arches and a vaulted ceiling. Seating 357 people, this sparse and elegant space will provide a uniquely immersive experience for the audience. They’ll also pass by the Darwin Centre on their way to the show, to get them in the mood.

The play’s most charming attraction may well be its thirty puppets of iguanas, armadillos and other creatures, conceived by the Dead Puppets Society. These wooden cutouts move just like real animals; the actors operate them as feral extensions of their own bodies. Seeing it all come to life was magical, and enough to warrant this reviewer buying a ticket for opening night. Don’t miss it.

The Wider Earth runs from 2 October to 30 December 2018.

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MAKLENA | London, Camden People’s Theatre

Theatre - Recommended

Following rave reviews at the Edinburgh Fringe, Night Train Theatre Company’s production of Maklena marks the English-language premiere of this Ukrainian play by Mykola Kulish, which was banned by the Soviet authorities in 1933, and lost to the world to decades.

The play might be nearly a hundred years old, but director Maria Montague’s brand-new translation is fresh as a daisy. The themes of unbearable poverty and revolution, seen through the eyes of a young girl trying to make sense of the world, remain charged and provocative.

In addition to the remarkable text itself, Night Train use puppetry and physical theatre to brilliant effect. The text veers unpredictably between moments of guttural, suicidal misery and light, madcap joy. The cast of six guide us through in a strange, sepia world, as Maklena retreats further into her fantasies, pushing her understanding of communist and capitalist ideologies to the extreme.

The music by Oliver Vibrans is rich and evocative in a way few theatre scores ever manage, and help us connect even further with Maklena’s harrowing world.

The rediscovery of such an important play, in such a perfect production, is a remarkable theatre event. A must see.

For five performances only at the Camden People’s Theatre, 17 – 21 July 2018.

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THE WORM | Katzpace, London

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Hot on the heels of his New Zealand transfer of COFFIN, Elliott Langsdon brings a short ‘Work-In-Progress’ production of his new dark dramady to Katzpace in a strictly limited run of just five performances, all about “worming” one’s way back into a relationship. COFFIN received a phenomenal reception in London, and one New Zealand critic called it “the funniest play I’ve ever seen”.

“I’ve always been drawn to Machiavellian characters like Iago,” says Langsdon, “and this play is almost a little bit like a modern-day Othello in structure, but crammed with some absolutely mad humour and surreal moments. We’ve been having an absolute ball in rehearsals. I’m really excited for people to see it.”

Meet Stefan (Sam Goodchild) and Mica (Mica Williams): two young millennials just trying to get through their hectic lives whilst maintaining their relationship and paying off their student debt. Meet Sam (Sam Stay) and Faye (Melissa Coleman): Stefan and Mica’s best friends, and closest allies, as things seem to be going south. Meet Ben (Robert Frimston): Mica’s ex, down on his luck. Returned from the past. And ready to “patch things up”.

With adult themes, strong language and nudity, audiences can expect to do plenty of worming and squirming of their own. If COFFIN is anything to go by, Elliott Langsdon is one to watch, so get on down to Katzpace and get ready for THE WORM.

3 – 7 March 2018. Book online for £10 tickets.

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