"We all know the stereotype: a teenager, wearing a tracksuit, smoking a fag, pushing a buggy, on her way to Lidl with her ASBO children that live off cheesy chips and must be rescued by Jamie Oliver".

Libby Liburd starts a short tour of London at the Park Theatre this week, with a brilliant-sounding show that shines a light on what it's really - really - like to be a single mother, and challenges the persistent and damaging stereotypes as mentioned above. I put some questions to her, ahead of her first performance. Read the interview here.

Libby performs 'Muvvahood' at The Park theatre from 3-4 Nov, at Poplar Unionon 7 Nov, at Mirth, Marvel & Maud on 23 Nov, and 30 Nov-1 Dec at Pleasance Theatre. See this page here for a tour overview.


You might, in previous years, enjoyed the fruits of the Voila! Festival at The Cockpit, a series of events with the French language at its core. If so, you'll no doubt be delighted to hear that it's now called Voila! Europe, and is expanding in remit and size.

To find out more about the festival, in both its previous and new form, I spoke to Dave Wybrow, artistic director at the venue, and producer of Voila!, and Sharlit Deyzac, programmer of the festival. Read the interview here.

The Voila! Europe Festival is on at The Cockpit Theatre, Etcetera Theatre, and Applecart Arts from 8-18 Nov. See this page here for an overview of all events

You might already be aware of The Famous Lauren Barri Holstein via her previous genre-blurring work, such as 'Splat', which won much acclaim when it was on at the Barbican Centre back in 2013. And those of you who have experienced one of her performances will no doubt be thrilled to hear that she returns to that venue this week with her latest offering, 'Notorious'.

To find out more about the new piece, and her work in general, I arranged to have a quick chat. Read the interview here.

‘Notorious’ is on at Barbican from 7-11 Nov, see this page here for more information on the show and this page here for accompanying workshop events.


Jen Wakefield - Girl In Da Corner | Soho Theatre | 3 Nov
I've not seen her perform, but I've heard tell via the ye olde edfringe grapevine that she's a very promising up and comer. This show was her ed fest debut, which sounds like it offers a combination of character comedy and stand up poetry, and boasts, amongst other offerings, a grime tutorial and a dating show concept with a questionable premise... see the venue website here for more.

FFS | Camden People's Theatre | 3-5 Nov (pictured)
This is part of the aforementioned Shoot The Breeze season over at CPT, which is a good reason already for tipping it, but it's also called 'FFS' and that's a sequence of letters I am extremely experienced at typing. And of course, on further investigation it turned out to be something I think everyone should see: a glittering cabaret style show about overcoming eco-anxiety with bearded alt-drag lady Timberlina. Info here.

Trestle | Southwark Playhouse | 1-25 Nov
"Harry feels like life is beginning to tick down, his autumn years spent quietly caring for the community he loves. Denise thinks life begins in retirement and she's dancing like she's still at high school. When their paths cross at the village hall, their understanding of the time they have left changes irrevocably. What do community, growing old, and falling in love really mean?" Stewart Pringle's 'Trestle', the latest winner of Papatango's new writing prize, gets its premiere at Southwark Playhouse and we are expecting good things. See this page here for details.


The Lighthouse | Hackney Showroom | 3-4+11-12 Nov
Well, we've just had Hallowe'en and the dark nights have got darker, so why not take in something a bit spooky and operatic? Here's my suggestion: this production of the late Peter Maxwell Davies' chamber piece 'The Lighthouse', which was inspired by the true story of the mysterious 1900 disappearance of three light house keepers from the Flannan Isles Lighthouse. Details are here.

The Diary Of A Nobody | King's Head Theatre | 31 Oct-18 Nov (pictured)
If you missed this the last time we tipped it (back in 2015) then here's another chance to see this acclaimed piece of work based on the cult Victorian novel by George and Weedon Grossmith. If you're extra interested, you might want to read the Q&A we did with the director, also back in 2015. To book your ticket right away, click here.

War Plays | Theatre N16 | 4-5 Nov
Four new plays about war, on as part of the venue's Aftershock military season: 'First Timers', focusing on the firing from an RAF jet of an advanced missile; 'Trip', about Lucy, who volunteered to fight in a foreign revolution; 'Are We There Yet', an examination of how we think about borders and human connection; and 'On Arriving at the Refugee Processing Centre, UNHCR', in which a Syrian refugee explains what she most regrets leaving behind. All the details are here.


Moonfall | The Albany | 5 Nov
A lovely one for your kiddywinks, this, a theatrical story of a journey to the moon, told with aerial circus. Two performers play multiple characters, and deliver their comical and original tale with the help of a hoop, a rope and the magical ingredient (imagination, obv). For more information, see this page here.

Poison | Orange Tree Theatre | 2 Nov-2 Dec
"We're... A man and a woman... Who've lost a child... Who first lost a child... And then... each other. Or maybe I should say: Who first lost a child, then themselves and then each other". The UK premiere of this hit play by Lot Vekemans, which asks the question of whether it's ever possible to truly move on. Head this way for details.

The Retreat | Park Theatre | 2 Nov-2 Dec (pictured)
A new comedy drama from a fab set of creatives. The play is by Sam Bain (of 'Peep Show' and 'Fresh Meat' fame, those of you who have been asleep at the back) and is directed by the fabulous Kathy Burke. It's about Luke, who has left his high-flying City life for the peace of the Highlands, but struggles to escape the past. See the venue website here for more information.


Edgar Allen Poe - The Haunted Place | Wilton's Music Hall | 6 Nov
An evening of discussion, live poetry, immersive audio and Poe-inspired music, celebrating the work of the literary master of the macabre. Speakers include actor Paapa Essiedu; academic Dr. Linnie Blake; BBC Radio 3 broadcaster Kevin Le Gendre and musicians Beibei Wang, Mirayam Solomon and Roderick Corbeau. See this page here for lots more information.

Contractions | New Diorama Theatre | 1-29 Nov
"Are your employers concerned about your welfare? Do they have a duty of care? Emma thinks so, but when she begins a relationship with colleague Darren, her Manager suggests she might be in breach of contract. A series of bizarre meetings follow, during which the consequences of Emma's actions take on a disturbing quality..." A revival of Mike Bartlett's dark comedy, first staged at The Royal Court in 2008, from the UK's only professional deaf-led theatre company Deafinitely Theatre. See the venue website here for details.

Mother Courage and Her Children | Southwark Playhouse | 2 Nov-9 Dec (pictured)
You might already have seen a production of this play at some point, given how many there tend to be, but it's always worth seeing another, given its status as an undisputed classic piece. Plus, this staging is using Tony Kushner's great and relatively recent (2006?) translation, and features that nice Josie Lawrence in the title role. See this link here for more.


Sirens Of The Silver Screen | Upstairs At The Gatehouse | 7 Nov
I was obsessed with black and white films as a child (which was weird, because it all went colour long, long before I was born) and that's possibly why this caught my eye. This is about three iconic women in particular - Judy Garland, Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe. See this page here for more.

All In | New Diorama | 7-11 Nov (pictured)
"A wild ride through vastly different, seemingly unconnected worlds, where everyday situations take unexpected turns into the absurd and intimate. Dictatorships, nightclubs, national anthems, education and self help manuals combine in an epic journey that questions how free we really are from the tyranny of the crowd". Acclaimed Barcelona based company Atresbandes explore the millennial condition via their trademark blend of physical theatre and text. Details are here.

Flycatcher | The Hope Theatre | 7 Nov-2 Dec
This promises to be a darkly comic thriller in which "no one is seen for who they really are". Madelaine, a waitress with a buried past, orchestrates the coming together of a number of seemingly disparate characters and draws these unsuspecting victims into her own psychological trap with heartbreaking and catastrophic (but hilarious...) results. See the venue website here for information.


The Dark Room | Theatre503 | 8 Nov-2 Dec
A UK premiere for this thriller by Australian writer Angela Betzien, produced by Paperbark Theatre, who specialise in bringing Aussie stuff to an international audience, and whose critically acclaimed debut production 'This is Where We Live' you may remember. A tale of six lost souls who collide in a lonely motel room, which explores how society allows the mistreatment of the most vulnerable, and the degree to which we're responsible for each other's lives. See the venue website here for more.

Poetry House | The Cockpit | 8-9 Nov
The Voila Europe festival, showcasing work from across Europe and the UK, kicks off this week at The Cockpit and other venues, and this is one of the earliest events. It's described as "dramatic celebration of Europe's greatest poets" - Rimbaud, Lorca, Keats - and is performed mostly in English by a Lecoq trained cast. For info on the festival as a whole, click here, and for information on this particular show, see this page here.

The Butch Monologues | Theatre Royal Stratford East | 8-10 Nov (pictured)
A collection of secret stories that explore sexuality, vulnerability and desire, developed from interviews with butches, masculine women, gender rebels and transmen from around the world. It's performed by The Drakes, a London based private members' group who came together back in 2012 to promote female masculinity and butch pride. For details, head right this way.


Floods | Camden People's Theatre | 9 Nov
A look at two women's attitudes to the ethics of reproduction in an over-populated world, exploring our fears for the future, being resourceful when resources are diminished, and what is left for the next generation. Expect an inventive and funny piece and an insight into some rather difficult matters from London based all-female ensemble Urban Foxes Collective. For information and to book, see the venue website here.

M.A.I.R.O.U.L.A | Etcetera Theatre | 9-12 Nov (pictured)
M.A.I.R.O.U.L.A is an acronym, as you can see, but I'm not sure what for - I think this is something you'll probably find out if you go and see the show, which is by acclaimed Greek playwright Lena Kitsopoulou, and promises to include talk of sex, death and watermelons. This is another show on as part of The Cockpit's Voila Europe season, but this is on at Etcetera Theatre so don't get mixed up about that. Click here for details.

No Place Like Hope | Old Red Lion Theatre | 7-25 Nov
"Anna and Becca aren't where they're supposed to be. While serving a community punishment order Becca is sent to a hospice to work and meets Anna, a cancer patient". An unlikely friendship based on honesty ensues, in this award winning play by Callum McGowan, written to pass the Bechdel test, and staged by an all female team in partnership with cancer care charity Victoria's Promise. See this page here for more.
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