I am not sure that everyone who reads this will remember Kathy Kirby, but back in the sixties, she was a renowned singing star. Learning about this biographical musical kindled some misty memories for me (only vague because her fame had waned by the time I was born) and I immediately went looking for more information on her.

It's a relatively short play, and has been teamed with a second piece, 'I Play For Me', also about a musician. To find out more, I put some questions to director Tim Heath and producer David Donegan. And you can read the interview here.

'Kathy Kirby: Icon' is on at the White Bear Theatre until 8 Nov. See this page here for more info and to book tickets.

An award winning play produced by an award winning company makes its way to the King's Head Theatre next week. I'd already heard of this piece, because it impressed one of our Edinburgh writers at the 2014 Edinburgh Festival, and I was intrigued by the premise then. It's a one-person show, written and performed by the talented Lucy Roslyn, and deals with themes of justice, murder and schizophrenia.

I was very interested in finding out more about the play, what inspired it and how it came together, so I sent some questions over to Lucy, ahead of the upcoming London run. And you can read the interview here.

'The State Vs John Hayes' is on at the King's Head Theatre from 28 Oct-22 Nov. See this page here for info and to book tickets.
London Fields Free Film Festival | various locations | 23 Oct-1 Nov
It's a free film festival, so why ask any questions? Especially if you live in the London Fields are and all this stuff be local to you. I'm quite taken by the idea of 'How We Used To Live', and 'A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night', but you take a look at this list of what's on here, and decide for yourself.

AH/HA | The Place | 23-24 Oct (pictured)
This fascinating looking dance piece is part of the previously TW-trumpeted Dance Umbrella, and is the work of Belgian choreographer Lisbeth Gruwez, who, according to the blurb, has "a real eye for detail and a wicked sense of humour". The show sees five performers dissecting and deconstructing one thing - laughter - with silly, tragic and tender results. See this page here for more info and to book.

Affordable Art Fair | Battersea Evolution | 22-25 Oct

Whether it's truly affordable or not probably depends on what your personal definition of affordable actually is, and you have to be able to afford a ticket to get in there as well. But if you have a yearning for good art, and don't have thousands to spend, this might be the event for you. I'd certainly like to have a look at it all, even if I don't end up buying. For more info, take a look at the event site here.

Circus Of The Streets | Clapham Common | 22 Oct-1 Nov (pictured)
Half term? Already feeling like the kids are getting under your feets? Why, take them to 'Circus Of The Streets'! No, really, though, I didn't pick this as a way to force a flawed rhyme scheme into today's tips, I picked it because it looks ace. This exciting show - think all manner of dangerous looking physical streety circus derring do - will be entertainment for the whole family, so think of it as a banging start to the holiday. Which means you can just make the children entertain themselves for the rest of the week. Info and tickets from here.

Sound Is Sound Is Sound | Albany Deptford | 24 Oct
The blurb says this is a celebration of " the curious mix of forward motion and DIY attitudes that have flourished in the SE postcodes", and features the likes of experimental trio Albert Newton, musician/performer Aine O' Dwyer, electric ensemble The Balloons, and grime disseminator DJ BPM. There are also some accompanying events, so see this page here for more info, and possibly further additions to the line up.

The Bear | Polka Theatre | 23 Oct-8 Nov

Ok, so even by tip number three, it's still half term, so here's one to entertain your younger children. I bet it will be really lovely, not least because it's based on 'Snowman' creator Raymond Briggs' 'The Bear', but also because it's from Pins and Needles, who have form for producing great children's theatre, and promise brilliant music, puppetry and storytelling. Plus, it's about a lovely big white bear. What four to eight year old wouldn't like that? Details and tickets here.

Burden Of Proof: The Construction Of Visual Evidence | The Photographers' Gallery | 2 Oct-10 Jan
Now, we all know that Sundays are a great day for wandering around galleries and exhibitions, so - just on a whim, obviously - I decided to select the three exhibitions I would like most to see today, and tell you all about them. This one looks fascinating, though possibly somewhat dark and gruesome, given that it focuses on the use of photography in proving crimes - there's a "some viewers might find disturbing" warning attached to this. Take a look here for more details.

No Colour Bar: Black British Art In Action 1960-1990 | Guildhall Art Gallery | until 24 Jan
This one's already been running for a pretty long time (it began in the summer) so you might have already had a look at it. If you have, go straight to tip 3. If you haven't, then stay with me for another couple of sentences. This focuses on the life works of  Eric and Jessica Huntley and the Bogle L’Ouverture Press, a publishing house and pioneering bookshop and cultural hub that they founded in 1969, and looks at black British cultural identity and the struggle of Black British Artists to be acknowledged. Important and interesting stuff. See this page here for more info.

Lee Miller: A Woman's War | Imperial War Museum | 15 Oct-24 April

If you came straight here from the previous tip, then I am really hoping you haven't also already been to see the Lee Miller exhibition at the Imperial War Museum, though you must have been fairly quick off the mark if you have. The show is a testament to Miller's extraordinary career as a photographer, but also offers a valuable insight into the effects of conflict on the lives of women, covering periods before, after and during the second world war. For more info, see the IWM website here.
Sean McLoughlin: Whatever It Takes | Museum Of Comedy | 26-28 Oct
I've heard a good many good things about young Sean McLoughlin (I can call him 'young Sean McLoughlin' because I am so very old nowadays), and the fact that he's supported the likes of Katherine Ryan and Doc Brown on tour should tell you that he's doing pretty well. In fact, the fact that he is doing pretty well career-wise, yet experiencing adversity in his personal life, is the subject matter at the core of this set. See more info and book tickets here.

Handa's Surprise | Jackson's Lane | 26-30 Oct
This show is based on a book that was a huge favourite with my daughter back when she was a smaller child than she is today, and so I suspect that this lovely-sounding adaptation is something that will go down very well with your younger children, age two-ish to six-ish. It is a lovely story, set in Kenya, featuring lots of interesting animals and colourful fruits, and this staging incorporates puppetry, song and audience participation. More info right here.

Aidan Goatley - Mr Blue Sky | Hen and Chickens |26 Oct (pictured)

Mr Aidan Goatley is a bit of a TW favourite, frequently charming our Edinburgh Fringe team with his funny yet touching shows. The plethora of very warm reviews he's collected from our writers over the years ought to be proof enough that this show will be worth turning out for on a dark October Monday. More info can be found here.

Susanne Sundfør | Koko | 27 Oct (pictured)
Ooooh, now then. We are all huge fans of arty electropop singer songwriter Susanne Sundfør here at TWHQ, and if you haven't yet been exposed to her brilliance, then frankly, it's about time you were. And even if you can't make it along to this, I think you owe it to yourself to check out her five studio albums, the latest being 'Ten Love Songs', which was released in February this year. Details of the gig are here.

A Cool Million | Jack Studio Theatre | 27 Oct-14

Joss Bennathan's stage adaptation of Nathanael West's 1934 novel looks promising. Set against the backdrop of the Great Depression, it's a biting satirical comedy about a world where greed is a virtue, and apparently glories in seventy six characters played by just three performers over the course of a seventy five minute show. For more info and to book, see the venue website here.

What The Ladybird Heard | Artsdepot | 27 Oct-1 Nov
Here's another helping hand in the matter of how to entertain the little ones over the half term, and you know there's a high probability of fractiousness by Tuesday... but it's running for the rest of the week, so there are lots of opportunities to see this staging of one of well-loved author Julia Donaldson's popular children's books. Fun, noise and audience participation! See this page here for more info.

Iron M.A.M. | Camden People's Theatre | 28 Oct
The word-of-mouth on writer and performer Owl Young's solo show 'Iron M.A.M.' is that it's an excellent piece of work, and not just for fans of 'Iron Man'. Describing itself as "Caught somewhere between a TED talk and a coming of age action thriller", it promises to be an engaging and insightful show that juxtaposes the personal with the political and asks some pertinent and reaching questions. More info on the show from right about here.

Tomcat | Southwark Playhouse | 28 Oct-21 Nov
This production boasts an award winning creative team, and while that's not always a guarantee of quality, it certainly feels like a good start. The play itself, penned by James Rushbrooke, is the winner of Papatango theatre company's new writing prize, selected from more than 600 entries. Focusing on a future society where disease has been wiped out, it questions how far we might be prepared to go to keep humanity healthy. More info and tickets from the venue website here.

Storystock | Bush Theatre | 28-20 Oct (pictured)

Okay, here's my latest half term suggestion for all the family. All the many, many events that are taking place at Bush Theatre this week staged by travelling story circus Storystock, comprising all sorts of workshops and storytelling sessions, as well as special appearances from the likes of Chris Riddell, Cerrie Burnell and Judith Kerr. There's plenty of grown-up content as well as the stuff that's aimed squarely at the kids. See this page here for all the listings.
Bedtime Stories | The Albany | 29-30 Oct
This is a lovely show for families, courtesy of brilliant circus company Upswing, set in a child's bedroom and involving a journey to the moon, across seas and mountains and back again. If you want to know a lot more about the show, you can read the Q&A we did with creator Vicki Amedume earlier this year  and you can get your tickets here.

Sara Pascoe's The Salon: Scratch | Battersea Arts Centre | 29-31 Oct (pictured)

That funny and lovely Sarah Pascoe, as seen all over your TV, heads to Battersea Arts Centre to host this literary salon, as part of the venue's scratch programme, ahead of monthly Salon nights downstairs at The Book Club from November. Presumably in the grand tradition of the salons of the French literary and philosophical movements of the 17th and 18th Centuries, and therefore geared towards the exchange of ideas. See all the details here.

Poetry Can F*ck Off | The Cockpit | 29-31 Oct

I suspect this is one of those shows I can probably describe as 'unmissable', even though I haven't seen it yet. Believe me, I really, really want to, not least because one of my team saw it in Edinburgh in the summer and was utterly, completely, totally blown away, calling it "electrifying and erudite, passionate and political". Written by Heathcote Williams, this epic poem features the verse, lyrics and music of the likes of Maya Angelou, Jim Morrison, Billie Holiday, Sophie Scholl, Emily Dickinson, Martin Luther King, William Blake, Arundhati Roy, Victor Jara, Gil Scott-Heron and Lupe Fiasco. See the venue website here for more info.
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