Everyone loves The Marx Brothers (well, you know, a lot of people do) so I suspect many of you will be attracted to this new play about a troupe of performers trying to save their theatre by pretending that the famous trio are set to perform at the venue.

I am certainly very interested in seeing it, and was eager to find out more about it, so I put some questions to the play's director, Terence Mann. Read the interview here.

'The Doppel Gang' is on at Tristan Bates Theatre from 17 Jan-11 Feb. See the venue website here for more info and to book.


There Shall Be Fireworks | New Diorama | 13-14 Jan (pictured)
I am entirely intrigued by the sound of this one, here, read the blurb and be entirely intrigued yourself, just as I was: "Inspired by the path to Afghanistan, well trodden down the ages whether by western merchants, missionaries, hippies or soldiers, 'There Shall Be Fireworks' unearths a startling true story from a 200-year-old cemetery in Kabul known as the Kabre Gora ('the Graveyard of Foreigners')". See? Head this way for more info and to book.

Gazing At A Distant Star | Greenwich Theatre | 13-29 Jan
This also sounds rather promising and comes from Sian Rowland, a playwright who has been shortlisted for the Women's Theatre Award. The play, which has its premiere at Greenwich Theatre, portrays the intersecting lives of three different people, and explores loss, those who go missing and those who are left behind. See the venue website here for all the details.

Winter Solstice | Orange Tree Theatre | 12 Jan-11 Feb
And onto another first, the UK premiere of 'Winter Solstice', by Germany's most performed playwright Roland Schimmelpfennig, as translated by the accomplished and experienced David Tushingham. It's got a great cast, and is directed by the excellent Ramin Gray, so you can expect good things from this sharp comedy about family and betrayal. Click here for more.


The Albatross 3rd & Main | Park Theatre | 10 Jan-4 Feb
It's a London premiere for this acclaimed black comedy written and directed by Simon David Eden, which is all about a down on his luck American with massive debts and an expensive ex-wife who has a sudden chance at making some solid cash. Of course, said chance is an illegal black market deal, so it's hardly going to be plain sailing... see the venue website here for all the info.

The Lower Depths | Arcola Theatre | 11 Jan-11 Feb
An excellent cast are involved in this new production of Maxim Gorky's hugely influential 1902 play about a group of homeless Russians living in poverty near the Volga river. Depicting those disenfranchised and left behind, and a society at breaking point, it's a timely and still-relevant piece. See this page here for details.

The Convert | Gate Theatre | 12 Jan-11 Feb (pictured)
"It's 1896 in Rhodesia and Jekesai has just been given her new, Catholic name. Chilford, the only black Roman Catholic teacher in the region, has decided she'll now be known as Ester, wear European clothing and speak only in English. She's torn away from everything that she knows by her fellow African who earnestly believes the promises of the white man". This piece from Tony-nominated writer Danai Gurira offers an enlightening and absorbing exploration of the imposition of western culture and tearing down of ancient tradition in southern Africa, and its effects on the individuals who lived through it. Head this way to book.


Nath Valvo - Happy Idiot | Soho Theatre | 12-21 Jan
Here's a show by another member of that esteemed club known as Edinburgh Comedy Award Nominees, and that will be because they've been coming thick and fast to the Soho Theatre lately as part of the Best Newcomers season. Nath Valvo is an Australian import, and has won much praise for his sharp and honest comedy. See this page here for all the info.

Abigail | The Bunker | 10 Jan-4 Feb (pictured)
"A man in his 40s and a woman in her 20s meet on a trip to Berlin. Across a fractured timeline, the story of their relationship, their love, and their struggle unravels before our eyes". A very promising looking production of this 2014 script by prizewinning playwright Fiona Doyle, directed by The Bunker's artistic director Joshua McTaggart. Lots of post-show events, too, during the run, head this way to find out details.

Southbank Centre's Adventures In Moominland | Southbank Centre | until 23 Apr
You may already have done a tour of this fab-sounding exhibition, because it's been on since before Christmas, but I haven't, and would love to, so I am officially transferring my desires onto you. If you've been already, you can move on, but if you haven't, I'd urge you to consider booking yourself into this exhibition, which I feel sure will prove charming and evocative. And you can take your children aged 7+ too, if you want. See the venue website here for more.


The Parachute & Watch The Ball | Jacksons Lane | 16-25 Jan
This is one from the ever-wonderful London International Mime Festival, and features two new pieces by master-puppeteer Stephen Mottram which "fuse artistry with science". 'The Parachute' tells a story about youth, love and confronting old age, while 'Watch The Ball' offers an exploration of the puppeteer's tricks. See this page here for info.

Brennan Reece - Everglow | Soho Theatre | 16-21 Jan (pictured)
Just yesterday, you may remember, we recommended Nath Valvo, who is an Edinburgh Comedy Award Newcomer nominee. And, aren't you a lucky lot, here's another Edinburgh Comedy Award Newcomer nominee for your consumption, this time the very up and coming Brennan Reece with his critically acclaimed show 'Everglow'. Definitely another one for the diary, see this page here for more.

The 2017 London Jam | Wilton's Music Hall | 16-19 Jan
"The UK's leading festival of improvised performance", presented by The Showstoppers in association with Extempore Theatre and Something For The Weekend, and featuring appearances from Austentatious, Mischief Theatre and a number of international improv outfits. There are workshops as well as performances, take a look at the venue website here for info on all the events.


Holding The Man | Jack Studio | 17 Jan-4 Feb
A production of a multi-award winning adaptation about growing up gay in Australia: "Tim catches a glimpse of handsome school mate and captain of the football team, John. Their first kiss is an exciting game. Their 15 years of life together a constant battle against discrimination, separation and temptation, all set against the pivotal events that define the era they live in. But there is an enemy present that no love can conquer". See the venue website here for details.

The Collector | Greenwich Theatre | 17-21 Jan
And here's another award winning piece for you, inspired by writer Henry Naylor's own experiences of a visit to Bagram Airbase in 2003, which tells a tale of murder and betrayal in occupied Iraq focusing on a local translator with liberal ideals and his fellow countryman who is a supporter of the old regime. For info and to book see this page here.

Mae Martin And Friends | Soho Theatre | 17 Jan (pictured)
We love Mae Martin so much that we don't really care who her friends are, but as it is, her friends are an utterly brilliant bunch this month: Three you'll have heard of - Tom Allen, Lou Sanders, Aisling Bea - and one you might be less familiar with, The Sufferettes, acclaimed Canadian improv duo. This will, I confidently predict, be a goooood night. Head this way to book.


Theatre Re - The Nature Of Forgetting | Shoreditch Town Hall | 18-20 Jan
This sounds rather intriguing, a piece from the excellent Theatre Re about memory, which explores the fact that forgetting is an inability to remember, not necessarily a loss of information. It's inspired by the work of theatre director Tadeusz Kantor, recent neurobiological research and interviews with people living with dementia, and you can find out more information about it right here.

Dirty Great Love Story | Arts Theatre | 18 Jan-18 Mar
This made a massive splash up at the Edinburgh Festival a few years back, winning a Fringe First for its writers, who also performed the show. Now it's back for its West End debut starring a new cast comprising Felix Scott and Ayesha Antoine, and it's definitely one for these dark wintry days, a very funny and engaging play. See this page here for all the details.

The Doppel Gang | Tristan Bates Theatre | 17 Jan-11 Feb (pictured)
"As the Blitz tears through London, a group of hopeless entertainers devise a daring plan to save their theatre from closure, by masquerading as The Marx Brothers. If the audience falls for the act, their one-night performance could save the day, but is everyone playing the same game, or is there more going on behind the scenes at the crumbling old theatre than meets the eye?" Well, I don't know about you, but I'm sold. Click this link to book your tickets.


Top Trumps | Theatre503 | 19-21 Jan
Are you depressed, sickened and grieving that the next POTUS is seemingly an argumentative man-child with no idea what he's doing? Perhaps this will help. It's a festival of short plays, all focusing on the president-elect's first one hundred days in office and accompanied by panel discussions, designed to explore the direction things might take and provoke thoughts and action with regard to this utter disaster (my words, not theirs). See the venue website here for more info.

Stuart McCallum and Mike Walker - The Space Between | King's Place | 19 Jan
One thing I have really been getting on with of late is the sweet sound of guitar, thanks to my other half's current tendency to play his a lot, so it's hardly surprising that this caught me eye this week. Virtuoso guitarists Stuart McCallum and Mike Walker play music from their second album 'The Space Between', which was released a couple of months ago to critical acclaim. See this page here for details.

Colin Hoult | Pleasance Theatre | 19 Jan (pictured)
This is a work in progress but I have no problem at all recommending it, because it's the work in progress of the hugely talented Colin Hoult, who'll be showcasing material from his favourite characters Anna Mann and Andy Parker. So that's basically two shows in one night, which is a bargain. Click this link here for more.
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