Following the recent TW:TALKS podcasts from the Vault Festival, we conclude this trilogy of editions with a post-event chat with one of the founders of the event, Mat Burt.

One of the trio who run the big party in the vaults under Waterloo station, Mat discusses how the festival first came about back in 2012, tells us how this year's season went, and discusses future plans.

Click here to tune in to the latest edition of TW:TALKS.
If you are familiar with the output of theatre company Milk Presents, you'll possibly have realised that their work has a tendency to explore gender issues. Their latest show is no exception, a telling of the life of Joan Of Arc starring drag king Lucy Jane Parkinson.

I think the show sounds amazing, and was keen to find out more so I put some questions to writer and director Lucy J Skilbeck. Read the interview here.

'Joan' is on at Ovalhouse from 11-22 Apr, see the venue website here for more.

You may be familiar with Yolanda Mercy if you saw her acclaimed darkly comical solo theatre piece 'On The Edge Of Me', and if you are, you'll be pleased to hear that she's back with a new show, 'Quarter Life Crisis'.

To find out more about the show, and Yolanda herself, I scheduled a quick chat. Read the interview here.

Yolanda performs 'Quarter Life Crisis' at Ovalhouse from 13-15 Apr, see this page here for all the info.

FRIDAY 7 APRIL 2016 >>

Christopher Bliss' Literary Salon | Camden Comedy Club | 7 Apr (pictured)
'This show is perfect for anyone who has ever read a book and enjoys smiling and having fun", runs the blurb, and I can very much believe it is: a literary salon hosted by the excellent pairing of brilliant musical comedy type Luke Courtier, and of course, the talented Rob Carter's highly successful novelist character Christopher Bliss. Yay. Click here for more info.

Hivemind presents An Offer You Can't Refuse | Hen & Chickens | 7 Apr
I have to be honest, I have never seen this improv troupe perform, and I think they are relative newcomers, but I gather they appeared at the recent improv fest at Tristan Bates theatre, which is a good thing, plus, I really like the sound of what they are doing. I love improv with a purpose - this is crime-thriller themed - and I really enjoy long form shows. But enough about me, I think you will enjoy this too, see this page here for details.

Mark Thomas - Predictable | Hen & Chickens | 7-8 Apr
There's what I might call an epidemic of in-progress shows on offer in London at the moment, and I know, because I have to read through long lists of them all. I can't recommend all of them (and possibly wouldn't want to) but Mark Thomas is such an utterly bloody wonderful tried and tested favourite that I couldn't ignore this one. And it's in the same place as the improv show listed above, so you could see both, back to back. It could be one of the most culturally fulfilling and amused days of your life so far. Click here for more.


How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying | Wilton's Music Hall | 8-22 Apr
"Do you wish that your life was more successful? Do you yearn to reach the pinnacle of business and change the world for the better? Do you just love getting ahead?" Well maybe this show can show you how, or, if not, be extremely entertaining. As you may already be entirely aware, it's an award winning musical comedy, with score by 'Guys and Dolls' composer Frank Loesser, and follows J. Pierrepont Finch as he rises from lowly window cleaner to high flying executive. See the venue website here for more.

Diminished | Hampstead Theatre | 31 Mar-29 Apr
Actor/director/screenwriter Sam Hoare's debut play looks at society's willingness to overlook unsettling truths and asks how far we will go to assuage our guilt, explored through the story of a couple with a young baby and an apparently perfect life, and what happens to them when the cracks begin to show. For more info and to book, see this page here.

Finders Keepers | Park Theatre | 4-29 Apr (pictured)
Hot Coals Theatre are staging their 2016 edfringe hit 'Finders Keepers' at the Park Theatre, and if you know what's good for you, you'll make a point of not missing it, especially if you are a fan of slapstick, mime and puppetry. It's loosely based on the story of Moses – two quirky junk-yard inhabitants discover a baby, and try to work out what to do with it – and as it's accessible to all ages, this would make a great destination for a family outing. Click this link here for details.

SUNDAY 9 APRIL 2016 >>

Queer As Jokes | The Bill Murray | 9 Apr
As you might well deduce from the name of the show, this is a night of LGBTQ+ comedy, and tonight's great sounding line up, hosted by Kyle Wallace, consists of Rachel Wheeley, Eliott Simpson, Tom Mayhew, Rebecca Shortall, Becky Fury, and Wayne Carter. You are also encouraged to stick around after the gig to "hang out and chat with like minded people", which sounds lovely and friendly. Head this way for more info.

Grey Matters | Theatre Royal Stratford East (Gerry's) | 9 Apr (pictured)
Theatre Royal Stratford East's Young Spoken Word Company present the fruits of their endeavours, a poetic exploration of mental health. Having connected with all kinds of people to gather experiences of mental illness, and got in touch with their own sense of well-being, their aim is to talk about the words and feelings that feel taboo, and which we have difficulty expressing. Directed by slam champion Kat Francois, see this page here for details.

NewsRevue | Canal Cafe Theatre | ongoing
It's probably been a very long time since you saw a TW tip for NewsRevue, and it's not because we don't love it, it's because it's always on, and I suppose we feel as though everyone knows how excellent it is. But you know, there might be people out there who don't realise that it exists. Or do, but haven't been for a while. There's always a reason to go back because it's always topical, ever changing; and if you haven't been yet, and you love a combination of news, politics and funnies, you're missing out. See the venue website here.

MONDAY 10 APRIL 2016 >>

Women Redressed - Act II | Jermyn Street Theatre | 10-13 Apr
Anyone who acknowledges the under-representation of women in the arts will be interested in taking in some of the second instalment of Sheer Height Theatre's Women Redressed Festival, which aims to give emerging UK writers a platform for works dealing with contemporary women's issues. Expect short plays focusing on women, and challenging perceptions of gender, see this page here for more.

Drew Taylor and Steffan Evans - Tales From Wales | Hen & Chickens | 10 Apr
Two very up and coming Welsh comedians head for Hen & Chickens with this, their debut touring show, in which they address topics such as Welsh identity, being bilingual, and playing hours of Subbuteo as a child. I haven't seen either of them perform, if I am honest (I usually am, to be honest) but the word of mouth on these guys, as well as the word of various critics, is very strong. Head this way for details.

Lost Property | Jacksons Lane | 10-11 Apr (pictured)
"No matter what he does Tweedy gets into a mess, but he can always find a creative way out of it. Tweedy will never get too big for his pants; his pants will always be too big for him." This family friendly show from well-loved slapstick veteran Tweedy depicts him giving up his clown work, giving into society, and getting a 'real job' in a lost property office. He's brilliant, don't miss it. See the venue website here.

TUESDAY 11 APRIL 2016 >>

Queen Of Carnage | The Space | 11-15 Apr
It's a live art adaptation of Purcell's 'Dido and Aeneas' that is based on the original score and narrative but adds other elements of performance, opera, digital imagery and visual art. It aims to explore the boundaries of morality and love through gender non norms, and offers a bit of a twist on the well worn tale. I must say, I am fairly intrigued. For more information, see the venue website here.

Hervé | Tristan Bates Theatre | 11-12 Apr (pictured)
This is on as part of Tristan Bates Theatre's First Festival, which is all about solo performance, and here at TW HQ, it has to be said, we are also all about the solo performance. We love one-person shows. And we know for sure that this will be super, because we saw it a few years ago when it was on at the Edinburgh Festival, and we were blown away by Hervé Goffings' beautiful performance. See this page here for more.

Shit Faced Shakespeare - Much Ado About Nothing | Leicester Square Theatre | 11 Apr-16 Sep
If you've not seen Shit Faced Shakespeare in action yet, then I will hasten to explain, that yes, what you are assuming is in fact, correct: Shit Faced Shakespeare perform Shakespeare plays with one cast member completely blottoed. Is that a word? Well I suppose their word is "shit-faced" so lets go with that. Luckily, the rest of the cast will be sober in control of the ship. Click here for details.


Joan | Ovalhouse | 11-22 Apr
Drag king champion Lucy Jane Parkinson plays the title role in this one-person show from award winning producing company Milk Presents. And if you are wondering which Joan that might be, then yes, it's Joan Of Arc, history's greatest gender-warrior. Expect a fusion of theatre and cabaret featuring uproarious songs and an examination of what it means to " stand out, stand up and stand alone." See this page here for more info

Lou Sanders - What's That Lady Doing? | Soho Theatre | 12-15 Apr (pictured)
We saw this show up in Edinburgh last summer, and loved it, so I can guarantee you will enjoy it. Lou Sanders is known for her surreal humour and eclectic performances, you may have seen her on TV, and what's more, according to her blurb she is "has no criminal offences and is fully CRB checked". Quick, head this way to book your tickets for a set our reviewer described as "the absolute best kind of bonkers".

Steve Furst - In Character | Tristan Bates Theatre | 11-15 Apr
A second pick from the previously mentioned First festival of solo performances over at the Tristan Bates Theatre. This time it's veteran comedian, writer and actor Steve Furst playing a collection of pretty disparate characters - the likes of waltzer-owner Ernie Vas, The Mayor of Kentish Town, and former stunt man Dave Pike. See the venue website here for details.


Quarter Life Crisis | Ovalhouse | 13-15 Apr (pictured)
"Alicia is a hot mess. She doesn't know what she's doing with her life. Swiping left, swiping right to find the perfect match. Everyone around her seems to know where they're going in life, but she's just trying to find ways to cheat growing up and keep her 16-25 railcard". In this solo coming of age comedy mixing music, spoken word and audience participation, Yolanda Mercy asks the question of what it means to be an adult, and when, exactly, do you become one? See this page here for more info.

Guards At The Taj | Bush Theatre | 7 Apr-20 May
It's a European premiere for this award winning and comical play, first seen in New York in 2015,  from Pulitzer Prize nominee Rajiv Joseph. It is set in 1648 in Agra, where the iconic Taj Mahal is under construction and very close to completion, and focuses on two guards who must resist the temptation to turn around and look at the building, because the emperor has decreed that no-one shall look at it until it is finished. For details, see the venue website here.

Smother | Theatre Royal Stratford East | 13+15 Apr
Award winning choreographer Andrea Walker is the creative force behind this acclaimed and fast paced dance piece which features a cast of seven dancers and explores the relationship between two young men. The show was a bit of a hit at the Edinburgh Festival last summer, and, handily, we did a Q&A about it then, so if you want to know lots more, see that article here. And to book your tickets, head this way.
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