You might have noticed that we’ve tipped a couple of shows from this year’s CircusFest line up in the last week or so, and if so, perhaps you’ve already decided you’ll go and see at least one of them...

But of course, the shows we’ve mentioned are just the tip of the iceberg. I wanted to find out more about the whole Festival, and how it’s put together, so I spoke to producer Molly Nicholson. Read the interview here.

CircusFest 2018 takes place at a number of venues from 3 Apr-6 May, see this page here for listings.

One of the events at this month’s CircusFest that we’re most excited about is ‘Hyena’ from female troupe Alula Cyr, aka Fiona Thornhill, Jessica Ladley and Lil Rice. These Cyr wheel specialists promise an exciting and highly inventive show, and we really want to see it.

I spoke to the trio, to find out more about the show and its creation. Read the interview here.

Alula Cyr perform ‘Hyena’ at The Albany from 12-13 Apr, see this page here for all the details.

FRIDAY 6 APRIL 2018 >>

Coming Clean - Life As A Naked House Cleaner | Clerkenwell | 6 Apr (pictured)
This is interesting, not least because the performance takes place in a cosy venue (you know, like someone's nice house) but you won't know exactly where until the day before or something like that. Anyway, it's an immersive experience, written and performed by Ethan Mechare, who tells stories of, as you might expect, life as a naked house cleaner. That said, I know that there is far more to it than that: as well as being funny, the show raises interesting questions about sexual desire and fantasy. Book tickets here, and find loads of info about the show here.

Bobby Mair - Loudly Insecure | Soho Theatre | 5-7 Apr
"30 years ago, Bobby was put up for adoption and now he's tracking down his birth family one by one. Saying his search has hit a couple of snags would be an understatement and he still has relatives out there who continue to elude him - except for Justin Bieber". TV face Bobby Mair fills you in on the twists and turns of finding his various blood relations, see this page here for info.

Who Do You Think You Are? Barbara Brownskirt | Camden People's Theatre | 6-7 Apr
Karen McLeod presents this poetry comedy show charting the highs and lows of in the life of Barbara Brownskirt, an unsuccessful lesbian poet who unknowingly "takes the language of feminism and lesbian cliché and creates comedy and pathos". Expect themes of loneliness, the Dunning-Kruger effect in art, Freudian mother love, and the love of Judi Dench. See the venue website here for more.


Relentless Unstoppable Human Machine | Roundhouse | 3-15 Apr
I think this show from Pirates Of The Carabina could probably be regarded as the flagship show from the ongoing CircusFest 2018. Performed using vertical-swinging trapeze, never-ending ropes, a spinning carousel and a "very temperamental" staircase. it follows two neighbours as they go about their misadventures over the course of a day and make surprising discoveries about the world and each other. Expect something playful, funny and exhilarating, see this page here for more.

Plastic | Old Red Lion Theatre | 3-21 Apr (pictured)
"Kev used to have a girlfriend called Lisa, she wore a fitted blazer and reebok classics, lit up the school yard. Kev used to be the captain of the school football team. Scored the winner in the All-Essex schools cup final. Ben used to get beaten up most days. He stole money from his mum's purse to pay off 'Wicksy'. Now he's an accountant. But Ben always had Jack. His loyal, unbreakable mate Jack. Adults are the kids that survive school right? And what if some kids don't?" You're probably already planning to see this, after reading our recent interview with the show's director Josh Roche. But just a reminder, info here.

Morgan & West - More Magic For Kids | The Albany | 7 Apr
Hurrah, the always brilliant Morgan & West are doing some child-focused trickery at The Albany, which is great, because it's still the school holidays and there's plenty of child-time to fill. That said, I'd recommend the duo's children's shows to anyone, child or not, they are that entertaining. But yes, you make a good argument for the fact that I should let the kids have this one. Go on, book tickets for your little ones here.

SUNDAY 8 APRIL 2018 >>

Underexposed Theatre | Old Red Lion Theatre | 8-9 & 15+16 Apr
A series of short plays under the banner of 'underexposed', and exploring different stories and themes. 'How About Cannons!' by David Vasdauskas, 'Taking the Rap' by Anni Swinburn, 'For the Love of Noodles' by Joe Starzyk, 'Wholefoods' by Charles Leipart, 'The Pit and The Pretender' by Charlotte Stanton, 'Coming To America' by Theo Hristov, 'The Petal and The Orchid' by Clare Langford and Gabrielle Curtis, 'Gun Jr.' by Stanley Toledo, 'A La Carte' by Richard Woulfe and Flash by Robertino Patilea. More here.

Reared | Theatre503 | 4-28 Apr
If you've already read our Q&A with the writer of 'Reared', John Fitzpatrick, then you will already know what this is all about. If you don't, quick, read the interview, it's here. But, in a nutshell, it's a dark comedy about three generations of a family, the relationships between them, and their struggles in dealing with troubles expected in the future. I think it sounds fabulous, see the venue website here to book tickets.

Jay Foreman's Disgusting Songs For Revolting Children | Greenwich Theatre | 8 Apr
Another show for your holidaying kiddies, now, and it's one that I can honestly say is well described by the title. Jay Foreman's songs are more often than not pretty disgusting, but let's face it, your very possibly revolting children, no doubt revelling in a poo-joke as I type, will more than love it. And the chances are, you'll love it too: I laughed a lot when I saw the very likeable and funny Jay Foreman performing this gruesome mixture of songs, comedy and poems. See the venue website here for details.

MONDAY 9 APRIL 2018 >>

An Irishman Abroad with Jarlath Regan | Soho Theatre | 9 Apr
"Regan has a superb knack for telling thoughtful stories with emotional depth and warmth", wrote our reviewer on seeing Jarlath Regan perform in Edinburgh last summer. But why just take it from us? 'An Irishman Abroad' is an acclaimed podcast that has been delighting listeners since 2013 and featured the likes of Sharon Horgan, Dylan Moran, and Gabriel Byrne. And you can be there to witness it live! Guests for this installment are Laura Whitmore and Roisín Conaty. Book here, and quickly, before all the tickets go.

Six | The Bunker Theatre | 9 Apr
Another of those shows with a format that we are very fond of - a collection of short plays by emerging writers - but kinda extra interesting because all six are each inspired by different songs donated by six musicians. I think this is a great creative notion, and it looks as though it's inspired some very interesting compact peices. And given the previous form of theatre/music fusion company Amplified Theatre, I think we can expect them all to be beautifully staged. See this page here for details.

Bilal Zafar - Biscuit | Soho Theatre | 9-14 Apr (pictured)
In 2016 he was nominated for the Edinburgh Comedy Award Best Newcomer gong, and in the same year won Hackney Empire's New Act award, so you know he can't be half bad with a record like that. In this, his second solo show, he focuses on the world of online dating and social media in "increasingly confusing times". For more information and to sort out your tickets, see this page here.

TUESDAY 10 APRIL 2018 >>

Rob Auton - The Hair Show | Soho Theatre | 9-14 Apr
You probably know that we love this guy - not least because we recommended a mere work in progress of his a mere 8 or 9 days ago - and here he is with a show that we saw and loved in Edinburgh last summer. We also gave him an award last year, and although it was for his body of work, not just this show, this show was one of the shows in that body of work. Are you still following? Good, head this way and book some tickets.

Buried - A New Musical | Pleasance Theatre | 10-15 Apr
"He's a charming young professional. She's a sarcastic thrill-seeker. After their first date, this young and fun-loving couple form a unique relationship when they discover something special they have in common: they're both serial killers". An acclaimed musical that won plaudits from the Edinburgh Festival critics, and from which you can expect a darkly comic script and a folk inspired score. See this page here for more.

5 Encounters On A Site Called Craigslist | Camden People's Theatre | 10-14 Apr (pictured)
And talking of Edinburgh (which we have been doing, thoughout today's tips, interestingly enough), here's another show that wowed the Fringe when it was performed there in 2017. It's a gently interactive and conversational play, and our own reviewer gave it full marks (5/5, or five stars, as some prefer to refer to it) and said: "It's a beautiful piece, the kind of theatre that is visionary, purposive and unpretentious". Lovely, see the venue website here for details.


Coconut | Ovalhouse | 11-28 Apr
"Meet Rumi, a British Pakistani woman who's referred to as a 'Coconut' (brown on the outside, white on the inside). Born and brought up as a Muslim, Rumi spends more time enjoying fine wine and bacon than being at the mosque. When she meets Simon, a white guy, she hopes that his decision to convert to Islam will be enough to keep everyone happy. However, as Simon begins to explore his faith, Rumi's world spins off its axis in ways she could never have predicted". Sounds interesting, huh? See this page here for more.

Tom Allen - Absolutely | Soho Theatre | 10-21 Apr
We've loved Tom Allen for what seems like ever such a long time, because of all his lovely work up in Edinburgh to begin with. But now he's all over the telly and you probably don't even need me to tell you how funny he is because you'll have witnessed it over and over again. Anyway, get booked sharpish, I reckon those tickets will be flying. Head this way to do just that

Scene | Camden People's Theatre | 10-14 Apr
A play about two women who decide to write a play about their interracial queer relationship, dealing with their own history, and exploring ways in which their liaison has been shaped by racism and homophobia. This was much acclaimed at edfringe 2017, not least by our own deeply impressed reviewer, who concluded: "This incredible production asks more questions than it answers, demanding its audiences hearts and minds in the process". For more information, see the venue website here.


Identity | Shoreditch Town Hall | 12-14 Apr (pictured)
"East London Dance and Shoreditch Town Hall invite you into a world of east London grit and glamour as we convert the majestic Victorian Assembly Hall to create a pulsating gig-like atmosphere where dance and catwalk collide". Expect alternative and underground forms of dance, style and musical expression, and a show - directed by the talented Tony Adigun - which will challenge preconceptions of sexual, cultural, gender and ethnic identity. See the venue website here for more.

Gutted | Canada Water Theatre | 12-13 Apr
Rikki Beadle Blair's acclaimed play, first staged back in 2013 at Theatre Royal Stratford East, makes a return to the London stage with these performances at Canada Water. If you didn't see it then: it's set in the council estates of South London, and is a story told through the eyes of four brothers, the eldest of whom has returned from rehab determined to air some truths about his family. For more information and to book, see this page here.

Cream Tea And Incest | The Hope Theatre | 10-28 Apr
That's a bit of a worrying title, isn't it? But don't worry too much because I have it on good authority that this is rather jolly - the story of an incompetent but optimistic Englishman and his loyal valet, Jeffrey, who gets embroiled in a match-making quest which takes a turn for the sinister. Sounds like it very amusingly channels something of the spirit of Wodehouse, and as an added bonus features a rather interesting cardboard set. See this page here for details.
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