Coming up shortly at Chiswick Playhouse is the premiere of a brand new musical - 'From Here' - by the creative partnership of Ben Barrow and Lucy Ireland.

The show takes a look at how we strive for love, marriage and family, and explores how arriving at those milestones might not always provide the results we expect.

To find out more about the production, I spoke to director Annabelle Hollingdale.

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

'From Here' is on at Chiswick Playhouse from 1-31 Jul. For more information and to book tickets see the venue website here.

As some of you may be aware, the Manchester International Festival is beginning soon, and like many festivals this year, it has a fair few events happening online.

One of the shows that's happening in person - but can also be viewed digitally on demand - is 'The Global Playground' from family show specialists Theatre-Rites, who celebrate their twenty-fifth anniversary this year.

I wanted to find out more about 'The Global Playground', as well as the company behind it. So I spoke to Theatre-Rites' Artistic Director - puppetry specialist Sue Buckmaster - who is also director of the show.

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

'The Global Playground' is on at the Manchester International Festival from 2-18 Jul, and will also be available to watch digitally on demand. For more information and to book, see the festival website here.
Some COVID restrictions remain in force in the UK, although some socially-distanced shows are possible, so we are tipping plenty of them along with some online experiences, many featuring performers and companies we first enjoyed at the Edinburgh Fringe.


Shoes To Fill | Iris Theatre at The Actors' Church | 5-10 Jul
I'm very much on board with outdoor shows right now, it seems like the perfect way to get back to seeing real life performances, especially if you are still a bit nervous about getting out and about in pandemic-still-happening times. I am, however, also very much aware that we live in Britain and outdoor shows can be a bit hit and miss as a result of our fickle summer weather. Anyway, having picked these shows, I then went to look at the weather forecast, which suggested we can look forward to quite a lot of rainy, stormy weather this week. Happily, though, our recommended shows are largely later this week, coinciding with an upturn in the south's weather conditions. So fingers crossed, it will be perfect for the performances selected. We're starting with 'Shoes To Fill' from promenade specialists Iris Theatre, which sounds brilliant, "a celebration of mixed-race identity and the coming together of two cultures". Read more about it here.

The Importance Of Being Earnest | Royal Over-Seas League | 1 Jul
Ah, 'The Importance Of Being Earnest', takes me back to my school days, when, like most schools, probably, we staged a production of it. Ours was fairly conventional, really, as you might expect. And therefore probably highly unlike this version of Oscar Wilde's classic play, which will be performed by a cast of just two in the garden of the Royal Overseas League. It's by Slapstick Picnic, a sister company to the previously tipped and much loved Handlebards, so you can expect it to be a bit of a romp. This stop in London is part of a very long tour, and they'll be back in the capital on 5 Jul and in Richmond at the end of August, but readers based all over the UK might well be not far from one of their performance locations, so you should check the full tour list here. To book for 1 Jul, head to this page here.

Bard In the Yard | Iris Theatre at The Actors' Church | 4-18 Jul (pictured)
Back to The Actors' Church now for another show from Iris Theatre, this time the acclaimed 'Bard In The Yard', back by popular demand. "William Shakespeare is stuck. Like, really stuck. Blank parchment stuck. He is trying to write a new masterpiece and has the weight of his company's eager return to the stage on his shoulders. What's more, his rival Ben Jonson, on top of making the best sourdough bread ever, also has a new play in the works... So he has decided to pick your brains and make sure this new show is the smash hit it is promising to be. This year, you can help the Bard write 'King Lear' or 'Macbeth'! Both are urgently requested by the King, on pain of all of our heads ending up on spikes..." For more information and to book tickets, see this page here.


A Super Happy Story (About Feeling Super Sad) | | 1-11 Jul (pictured)
Okay, so if the weather forecast turns out to be entirely wrong - or, you know, you just want something to watch at home, now that lockdown showed you it was possible - how about a digital show to view online? This is one we have very probably tipped a number of times since we first saw it up at the Edinburgh Festival a few years ago, because it's very very good, and very much acclaimed. It was staged at Wilton's Music Hall earlier this month - and this stream is a recording filmed there with a live audience in attendance - so I guess there's a chance you might have seen it fairly recently, but for those of you that haven't, here's your chance. It's a happy-but-sad sort of show, as you might anticipate from its name, and our Edinburgh reviewer called it "hilarious, uplifting and insightful". It's won loads of awards too. So I don't know what you are waiting for, head right this way to organise your viewing.

Misfits | The Space | 29 Jun-3 Jul
"A modern family comedy about Meera, a traditional Indian mother, with a status to maintain within her much-feared community steeped in old-fashioned values. To fit in, she sets out to find a bride, via a dating website, for her gay son Rajiv. Meera's journey leads her to question her own and women's rights. Will she conform and fit in or stand up and be counted?" This is the final play being staged as part of The Space's excellent Foreword festival, and in fact, you can see it in person because there are live socially distanced performances. But obviously it's in this section because you can also see it digitally, if you can't make it along to the venue. For more information and to book, see this page here.

Political Mother: The Final Cut | Battersea Arts Centre | 2-4 Jul
One for the dance fans out there, who will, if they are genuine dance fans, know exactly who Hofesh Shechter is and are probably already well aware of his work, including 'Political Mother', first staged, I believe, in 2010. So you are all probably quite excited at the thought of a filmed version of that, directed, choreographed, composed and filmed by the world renowned artist, featuring animations by Shay Hamias and performed by Shechter II, "a new generation of young, exciting world-class dancers". Only three days to see it, so make sure you don't miss it. For more information and to book your viewing, see the BAC website here.


Films To Be Buried With with Brett Goldstein | Underbelly Festival | 3 Jul
It's that time of year. The time when all the festival things seem to be beckoning to me. And while this year things aren't what you would call normal, of course, stuff is still happening, albeit in socially distanced and digital ways. This week sees the start of weeks of shows under the banner of Underbelly Festival, and so I thought we'd make sure and tip something from the line up right away: how handy that TW favourite Brett Goldstein is doing a live episode of his rather good podcast, and, wouldn't you believe it, his guest on this occasion is another TW favourite, Sarah Kendall. "We are born. We die. In between, we watch a lot of films. And some of these films shape the people we are". See this page here to book your tickets.

Trouble At Sea: A Miss McSkimming Mystery | Blackshaw Theatre Company / Wandsworth Arts Festival | 3 Jul
"Miss McSkimming takes to the high seas in her second adventure. Expecting a pleasant transatlantic cruise, she must instead deal with a missing companion and a series of mysterious thefts, all whilst trying to avoid panic amongst her fellow passengers". This sounds fun, a radio play delivered to a live audience with the promise of hilarious sound effects. It's a family orientated show from Blackshaw Theatre Company, whose production of 'The Final Adventure Of Frankie Fightwell' by Chris Buxey won a Stage Door New Writing Award in 2018, and it's described as a "rollicking comedy". See this page here for more.

Sunnymead Court | Arcola Theatre | 1-4 Jul (pictured)
"From her balcony, Marie blasts the same tune, every day at 11am. On hers, Stella tends to red geraniums bursting with colour and life. Two tower blocks facing each other. Two women looking for something more. After a chance encounter in a hailstorm, they embark on a new relationship from the safety of their balconies. When a flurry of miscommunication jeopardises their relationship, will they have the courage to make it work in a world changing beyond recognition?" This Offie nominated play, first performed in the autumn and set during lockdown, is on as part of Arcola Theatre's Today I'm Wiser festival of outdoor art and performance. So, yes, another outdoor show for you, keep your fingers crossed re that weather. All the info is right about here.


The Boy With The Bee Jar | The Hope Theatre | 29 Jun-17 Jul
Right, onwards and upwards, with three more great live-in-person theatre things for you to consider, and we begin with a dark play about an unusual connection between two very different people, long-listed for the 2019 Bruntwood Prize. "On a North London estate, a swarm of bees attracts an environmentally minded schoolboy who feels lost now that his father's no longer around. In the estate's playground, he is drawn to an old anarcho-punk called Euston, who is the sole witness to a horrific crime. As the city and its residents tear one another apart, these two misfits form an unexpected alliance, as they realise that each holds the key to the other's salvation". For more information and to book, see this page here.

Estella | Omnibus Theatre | 1-4 Jul (pictured)
Anyone who knows me knows I am a fan of Dickens, so it's no wonder that this show caught my attention. But even if you're not a fan of Dickens, or even 'Great Expectations', this is an interesting angle. A 're-envisioning' of the classic novel, led by a band of three actor musicians, it follows the story of one significant character's self-discovery. The show promises to reveal the true nature of Estella's relationship with Miss Havisham and her desperation to discover the identity of her birth mother. "In this radical re-working, will Pip and Estella be together forever? Will Estella finally be able to leave her dark past behind and step into the light?" See the venue website here for more.

I Didn't Want This I Just Wanted You | Bread & Roses Theatre/Hen & Chickens | 4, 5, 12 Jul
"Texas, Summer 1997 - Home Depot worker and family man Billie Bob Harrell Jr wins big on the lottery, $31 million big. The months that followed surely changed his life, but not in the way you might think - what was meant to be a life-changing miracle turned into a tragedy of misery and deceit". Another intriguing show for you, a piece devised by the cast - director/ composer Rob Hardie and writer/ director Aaron-Lee Eyles - that promises to be a "wild, surprising, musical tale". The show is on at Bread & Roses Theatre on 4 and 12 Jul, and at Hen & Chickens Theatre on 5 Jul. Oh, and it's also calling at Guildford Fringe Festival on 8 Jul, if any readers are in that area. See this page here for dates at Bread & Roses, here for Hen & Chickens, and here for Guildford.


Luck Be A Lady | White Bear Theatre | 29 Jun-3 Jul
Finally, a few more events for you that didn't fit/weren't appropriate for the other categories employed in today's recommendations. This one ended up here because it's a musical, and you can expect it to be a fine one too, given the praise heaped on creator Beth Burrows' previous work. This is a sequel to her show 'Sirens Of The Silver Screen', which focused on the lives of Judy Garland, Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe, and looks at the careers of Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra. It's a celebration of the men themselves, but also the women who enabled their success: "From irreplaceable dance partners to influential lovers, Fred, Gene and Frank did not do it alone". For more information and to book, see this page here.

Cece's Speakeasy | The Albany | 30 Jun-3 Jul (pictured)
I am finding the idea of this immersive poetic experience very attractive, and I bet you readers will too: "As global temperatures rise, the quality and quantity of our crops decreases. In the not-so-distant future, coffee bean production will halt - caffeine will become extinct. By 2050 there will be no more chocolate. Step forward into 2031... Welcome to Cece's Speakeasy. A place for truth-seekers, chocolate lovers and coffee drinkers. For adventurers. For those with a story to tell and those who want to listen. A place to indulge in the forbidden delights of an espresso martini, devour a hot chocolate and just kick back, relax and immerse yourself. A place for the people. Join us for a night of entertainment and hear storytellers, poets and musicians share new work exploring hope and action during the climate emergency". More here.

Hope Box | The Hope Theatre | 29 Jun-3 Jul
And so to the final recommended show of the week, and some comedy, not least because it's somewhat lacking so far in this week's tips, but also because here we have five whole comedy nights with line-ups brimming with talent: up-and-coming comedians, sketch artists, comedy actors and alternative acts. I expect you'd like to know their names, so I will give you their names, but suffice to say there are some TW favourites in there. So here we go, the following are all appearing at some point this week: Lorraine Hoodless, Juliette Burton, Tom Mayhew Lee Hudson, Fiona Clift, Mary O'Connell, Alice Frick, Daman Bamrah, Spring Day, Jo Coffey, Lachland Werner, Katie Mcleod, Alex Ricou and Sikisa. And if you want to know which ones are performing which days, you will have to go to the venue website here to find out.
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