Coming up at The Hope Theatre this week is the premiere of historical comedy 'Foul Pages' by actor, playwright and former literary manager Robin Hooper, helmed by the venue's award-winning artistic director Matthew Parker.

Starring in the show is the excellent Ian Hallard, who you'll know from the likes of 'The Boys In The Band', 'Lovesong Of The Electric Bear', and his various appearances on the telly. I arranged a quick chat with him, ahead of opening night. Read the interview here.

Foul Pages is on at The Hope Theatre from 20 Feb-17 Mar, see this page here for more info and to book tickets.

You might have seen 'If We Got Some More Cocaine I Could Show You How I Love You' when it was on at the Old Red Lion Theatre a wee while ago, but if you didn't, definitely be happy that you have another chance to see this acclaimed production at Vault Festival this month.

To find out more about the play and the creative team behind it, I spoke to the play's director, Thomas Martin. Read the interview here.

'If We Got Some More Cocaine I Could Show You How I Love You' is on at Vault Festival from 14-25 Feb. See this page here for all the details.


One Item Only | Ovalhouse | 16-17 Feb (pictured)
There've been lots of plays and events of late dealing with the topic of refugees - what they're fleeing from, their journeys, what happens once they try to start a new life. This one's aimed at children, though, and I haven't come across many of those. The hero at the centre of this show's story must make a journey across continents and must travel light - if you could take one item only, what item would you take? Very tough decision, see the venue website here for details.

Angry | Southwark Playhouse | 14 Feb-10 Mar
"A spaceship hurtles towards a black hole. A book-loving couple flee a burning city. A bloodshot eye conjures up kisses and wild animals. The world premiere of Philip Ridley's 'Angry' is a menacing, magical, and darkly comedic collection of stories that vibrate with the lingering unease of our times," announces the blurb. The production has an interesting approach to the material, which consists of 6 monologues, all intended to be gender neutral, see this page here to find out more.

The B*easts | Bush Theatre | 12 Feb-3 Mar
A show that caught our attention when it was on in Edinburgh in the summer, 'The B*reasts' was written and is performed by Bafta winning actress Monica Dolan, and won much critical acclaim during its Fringe run. The show addresses an important issue with a fairly dark and hard-hitting storyline, dealing with the sexualisation of children, the pornification of our culture, and the way contemporary media and society pressures everyone to have the perfect body. Head this way for info and to book.


Flamenco Festival | Sadler's Wells | 14-25 Feb (pictured)
Anyone who knows me probably knows what an enormous weakness I have for anything and everything flamenco. Frankly, there's no way to resist this smorgasbord (or should that be tapas board?) of flamenco treats. I am trying to pick a couple to talk about here but it's just too much of a struggle to narrow it down. Why don't you just put me out of my misery and head this way to look at all the events that are on, and choose one (or more) for yourself.

Dai Fujikura Portrait | Wigmore Hall | 17 Feb
Avex Classics present this concert of music by renowned composer Dai Fujikura, whose work ranges through opera, orchestral pieces, ensemble works, chamber music, and film scores. The show is set to feature several UK premières as well as a world premiere of a piece for solo piano, and musicians from around the world will perform, on a diverse range of instruments to include shamisen, toy piano, violin, saxophone, oboe, clarinet, horn, and bassoon. For details, see this page here.

Napoleon Disrobed | Arcola Theatre | 14 Feb-10 Mar
"What if Napoleon didn't die in exile? What if he swapped identities with a lowly sailor and made it back to Paris? What then?" A moving and humorous re-imagining of His (former) Imperial Majesty's twilight years, brought to you by the excellent Told By An Idiot in their trademark physically comical style. For more information and to book, see the venue website here.


Close Up | New Diorama | 18 Feb
"In 1968 the Theatres Act abolished censorship of the theatre paving the way for freedom of speech across all media. Half a century later we are allowed to show and witness the unimaginable. But are we really free to assert our individuality? And if it isn't government law, what are the systems regulating speech in the post-truth era?" This sounds really interesting, a show combining theatre and live filming and focusing on showbiz, sex and censorship. See this page here for info.

What Goes On In Front Of Closed Doors | King's Head Theatre | 18-19 Feb (pictured)
This show about homelessness was a great success in Edinburgh last summer, not least with our own reviewer, who commended the play for approaching a difficult subject matter with honesty and empathy, and "offering an unflinching gaze at the practical details of being homeless without ever feeling like it's preaching". Performer Emma Bentley won a great deal of praise for her portrayal of the young and vulnerable Molly, so don't miss this chance to see her in action. Details are here.

Mark Bittlestone - Pity Laughs | Vault Festival | 18 Feb
And so to another performer who generated warm responses from the critics at edfringe recently, as part of sketch troupe Babushka in 2016, and as one half of the show 'Pity Laughs - A Tale Of Two Gays' in 2017. I think it's safe to assume that this appearance at Vault Festival will involve his half of the aforesaid 2017 show, in which he asks which is worse - losing both your parents in awful circumstances or being gay? Might not sound like the most obvious subject for humour, but I guarantee that Bittlestone will bring forth comedy from his own tragedy. Click ye here.


Invisible Women - A Mini Festival | New Diorama | 19-24 Feb
A small but classy range of events brought to you by the excellent Spare Tyre, who, in their fortieth year, celebrate their roots in the feminist movement of the 1970s. The main performances are of 'The Promise', a new play looking at the issues surrounding assisted dying, based on true events of the 1980s in Camden, and 'A Tree Without Leaves', a dance piece exploring women's identity and motherhood. There's also a workshop for artists, and a reading from Pauline Walker. See all the details here.

Rose Matafeo - Sassy Best Friend | Soho Theatre | 19-24 Feb (pictured)
"It's the dynamic way she expresses herself that makes her especially engaging. She doesn't miss a beat - in more ways than one - and it is impressive to see how she has developed from her Fringe debut in 2016. A deeply funny, enchanting and exuberant comic, Matafeo is in a class of her own," wrote our reviewer of this show. So what are you waiting for? Head this way to book.

Frankenstein | Kensington Central Library | 19, 20+22 Feb
This is an interesting looking version of the classic Gothic tale - a site specific piece developed to be performed in library spaces. Pure Expression Theatre invite you to rediscover the story through the mind of Victor Frankenstein, following the character from room to room and memory to memory, to the accompaniment of a soundscape by award-winning musician Taz Modi. See this page here for info and tickets.


The Shape Of The Pain | Battersea Arts Centre | 20 Feb-10 Mar (pictured)
I tipped this show last year, ahead of its performances at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, because I thought it sounded like an interesting and important subject to tackle: it's about complex regional pain syndrome - ie, pain with no cause - and pain with no cause, or hard-to-diagnose pain, is a freaking trial. It's since had a very warm critical response, so I think it's important to draw your attention to it again. Click here for details.

Tracing Grace | Theatre503 | 20-24 Feb
"Strict routine, sudden outbursts of anger and Little Mix on repeat; sometimes the world outside Grace's bedroom can be all too much. Enter a world where not everything is as it seems. At just three weeks old Grace was diagnosed with encephalitis and all is about to change". This debut play from Annie Eves, whose sister suffered from encephalitis, tells a story of its effects on the central character, Grace, as well as its impact on her family. See this page here for more info.

Dust | Soho Theatre | 20 Feb-17 Mar
This was another show that won lots of acclaim at the most recent Edinburgh Festival, and now heads Soho-wards for a nice long run. Writer and performer Milly Thomas plays Alice, who, after killing herself because life isn't worth living, discovers that death doesn't actually offer her the change she had hoped for. Tickets are selling very quickly by the look of things, so don't delay, click here.


Belle Fontaine | Waterloo East Theatre | 21-25 Feb
The first of two choices from Vault Festival this week, but this is one of those shows that's on in a different location, ie, Waterloo East Theatre. This is set in an isolated religious community where everyone knows their purpose and sticks to the same daily routine. When a travelling salesman who visits every year turns up at a time of serious crisis, what will happen? Maybe book yourself some tickets to find out.

Derailed | Ovalhouse | 21 Feb-3 Mar (pictured)
Spanish artists Patricia and Mercè, are, after twelve years of living in the UK, subject to post-Brexit blues, which is entirely understandable. They want to turn their anger and rage into something positive, however, so they're going to host a brilliant leaving party, featuring gazpacho, live rock music, dancing, pig noses, Theresa May, the Dalai Lama, and Cava. That maybe sounds a bit silly, but the blurb avers that this is a heartfelt story of belonging, failure, and wanting to change the world. I really want to see this. Details are here.

The Very Important Child | Vault Festival | 21-25 Feb
"Ever wondered how you got this way? Why you shout at the other cars? Why you become a toddler when you're hungry? Or did the starry-eyed teenager you were turn into a kind, hardened adult. WHY? We can explain. We are here to demonstrate Loevinger's theory of human ego development". Yes, I have wondered. I think this sounds brilliant, see the Vault Festival website here for info.


li McGregor's Decadence | Above The Arts | 22 Feb, 1+15 Mar (pictured)
We've been fans of Ali McGregor for what seems like aeons, yet it can't possibly be, because look how young she is...? Anyway, you shouldn't miss your chance to spend time with this international cabaret star (their words, but of course it's true) as she presents this celebration of ten years (since leaving Opera Australia for La Clique, first performed in 2015, iirc) of genre-defying mash-ups: "AC / DC, Radiohead and Salt 'n Pepa like you've never heard them before". See this page here for information and to book.

Foul Pages | The Hope Theatre | 20 Feb-17 Mar
"It's 1603, the plague is ravaging London, scattering the court to the rural countryside of Wiltshire and disrupting the coronation celebrations of King James I. While actors rehearse, despite backstage squabbles and sexual politics, Shakespeare and the Countess of Pembroke struggle with the rewrites of 'As You Like it' which must appeal to the new king's merciful nature and seduce him into releasing the condemned Sir Walter Raleigh". This comical farce promises scandalous secrets, backstage betrayals and lusty liaisons, so I'm in. Head this way for details.

Rejoicing At Her Wondrous Vulva the Young Woman Applauded Herself | Ovalhouse | 21-23 Feb
If you've been carefully following our instructions of late, then you'll probably remember seeking out and viewing Bella Heesom's 'My World Has Exploded A Little Bit', when it was on at Ovalhouse in May following a successful run up at the 2016 edfringe. Our reviewer loved it, in fact, calling it "funny, energetic, profound and heartbreaking all at once". Anyway, that's just your proof of Heesom's talent. This is a very different show, described as a "celebratory exploration of female sexuality", and I think it will be brilliant. Click here for more.
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