I was immediately interested and intrigued when I heard about 'Splintered', which begins a run at Soho Theatre this week. It's a show described as theatre-cabaret, which focuses on the experiences of queer Caribbean women, created by director Emily Aboud. 

It sounds like there's so much going on in this, I really had to find out more - about the inspiration for the piece, its format, and the creator behind it. 

To that end, I arranged a chat with Emily ahead of opening night. 

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

'Splintered' is on at Soho Theatre from 15-26 Feb. See the venue website here for more information and to book.

Coming up at London's Playground Theatre is the staging of 'Shroud', a piece that tackles the very difficult issue of child abuse perpetrated by members of the clergy, who all too often have been shielded by the Catholic Church.

The production comes from an Irish company, Hawtheatre, and the play is authored by Bernard Field, who also appears in the show. 

I spoke to him, to find out more about the play, and the writer behind it. 

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

'Shroud' runs at The Playground Theatre from 21 Feb-5 Mar. See the venue website here for more info and to book.
Shows to see in person in London - and online anywhere - including performances from people and companies we first discovered at the Edinburgh Festival.


Duckie | Battersea Arts Centre | 15-19 Feb
Parents and carers will probably know why I've got kids' shows right at the top this week, because they're the ones fully aware that most schools in London are out this week for the half term. That being the case, we thought we'd search up some junior fun to recommend. There's something of a 'tried and tested' flavour to this section, really, as we start over at Battersea Arts Centre with a show I know for a fact we've tipped before. And it's Le Gateau Chocolat's creation 'Duckie' - a re-imagining of Hans Christian Andersen's 'The Ugly Duckling' - this time starring new cast member Paula Brett. Click here.

Ugg n Ogg | Jacksons Lane | 20 Feb (pictured)
And on to another show we've tipped before, the brilliant 'Ugg n Ogg' from the excellent and award winning Theatre Fideri Fidera. "The truly mind-boggling story of how a long, long time ago two hunter-gatherers, Ugg and Ogg, palled up with their enemies the wolves and invented man's best friend, the dog. Join our two young heroes and the wolves Tooth n Nail on their fun-packed comic adventure. Expect lots of flying meat bones, beat-boxing wolves, forest infernos, and even a time-travelling stick before you finally get the chance to pat the world's first Dogg". Read more about the show here.

Tales On Tour | Chelsea Theatre | 17 Feb
This one ought to be familiar too, though it's perhaps not immediately obvious why - but we have recommended Chickenshed's 'Tales From The Shed' myriad times. And this, in fact, is said 'Tales', on tour, as the title suggests, and taking place over at the Chelsea Theatre, which is helpful for those of you who live closer to Chelsea Theatre than to the Chickenshed Theatre. I feel pretty sure those of you with children to entertain will be fairly clear on what this show for under sevens will deliver - interaction, puppetry, music and movement, featuring a familiar cast of characters. For more information and to book see this page here.


Fair Play - online | Bush Theatre | 14-19 Feb
Well, dunno about you, but for me there's still something very appealing about being able to access theatrical things online, and I can't help thinking this new tradition of venues doing streaming shows is helping them reach audiences they might not otherwise. Anyway, yay for digital stuff. Here's our first online entertainment suggestion for the week, a show that we tipped the live in person version of not so long ago, 'Fair Play' by Ella Road. It's about two young women in a running club, whose shared passion for their sport makes them inseparable, but also brings them head to head and puts their friendship to the test. For all the details, head to the venue website here.

Shuck n Jive | Soho Theatre On Demand Film Festival | 18-27 Feb
And we're back at the previously reported Soho Theatre On Demand Festival (well, not literally at it, I suppose, it being digital and everything), and the latest release via that platform is 'Shuck n Jive', the debut play from Cassiopeia Berkeley-Agyepong and Simone Ibbett-Brown, directed by Soho Theatre Associate Director Lakesha Arie-Angelo. "Opera singer Simone very quickly discovers that London is not the BNP-free utopia she'd always dreamed of. Meanwhile, actress Cassi battles it out for the illustrious roles of 'Sassy Friend', 'Spunky Slave' and 'Third Crack Whore From The Left' at every audition. Desperate to be seen as they are, not as the colour of their skin, they decide to take control and write their own story". More here.

In The Heat Of That Night | The Space | until 17 Feb (pictured)
"On the year's hottest night, Mike and Sue prepare a dinner party for their friends Dorothy and Henry. Both couples haven't met for months, since their last embarrassing gathering. As the evening goes on and everyone steps on eggshells, Mike suddenly makes an unfortunate joke. This triggers a sequence of comical awkward situations, which will develop into a hilarious chaos, where the cure proves to be worse than the disease. One crucial detail: Henry and Dorothy are imaginary friends that only Mike and Sue can see". Sorry to be giving you what I think is rather late notice about this streamed show, I thought it was available from 17 Feb, but as it turns out it's available until 17 Feb. But you still have time to see it this week as long as you get your skates on, so that's the good news. Click here.


Red Pitch | Bush Theatre | 16 Feb-26 Mar (pictured)
And now for some live and in person theatre for you to actually go out and see (though I'm sure that's no longer the rare thing it might have been a while back). We begin over at Bush Theatre with the rather good sounding 'Red Pitch', which is a coming of age story focused on the lives of three lifelong friends - Omz, Bilal and Joey - who love to play football and dream of soccer stardom. Unfortunately, their local area is changing, becoming gentrified, and they are feeling the impact of it. "When a small football pitch has been a home from home, a place where you've laughed, fought and forged friendships, what happens when it's under threat?" Book your tickets here.

Twenty-Eight | Theatre503 | 15-19 Feb
"At school, she read an article that said women in their 28th year are in their prime. At 28, women are at their most confident, they feel like the sexiest version of themselves to date, but it is here that they also become most aware of their biological clocks tick-tick-ticking away. The year is 2021, and the world still doesn't know what to do with those of us who have decided not to reproduce. A 28-year-old actress has made a discovery, and decides to process it the best way she knows how - by getting into character to tell a story of what could have been". This sounds rather interesting, doesn't it? Written and performed by South London born actress Alexandra Donnachie. Read more about it here.

Borders | Drayton Arms Theatre | 15-17 Feb
Another intriguing sounding show over at Drayton Arms now, one which I think is probably one of those shows that should have been on at the sadly cancelled Vault Festival. This one, inspired by a real encounter, is about Boaz and George, who meet via Grindr, but can't meet physically. One of them is in Israel, the other in Lebanon. "The distance, the 'enemy', the foreignness, the experience of being gay in another culture. They both fill a void the other has, becoming each other's secret love. As they decide to meet in Berlin, the border between the countries heats up, and they're forced to make difficult decisions". For more information and to book see this page here.


The Ballad Of Maria Marten | Wilton's Music Hall | 15-19 Feb (pictured - photo by Tony Bartholomew)
More theatre. I first read about the murder of Maria Marten back when I was a teenager and consuming all manner of lurid publications about criminals and serial killers and suchlike. Don't worry, I found it horrifying (though compelling) and not instructional. It was an enormously famous case - one of the most 'celebrated' of the Nineteenth Century, in that it generated much public interest, spawning books, plays and folk songs, and later film and radio plays. Those tend to be more focused on killer Edmund Corder, the dodgy and fraudulent squire, but this production promises to place Maria at the centre of the proceedings, exploring her story, "bringing it back to vivid, urgent life". Click here for more.

Alice In Wonderland / Northanger Abbey | OSO Arts Centre | 17-18 Feb
Yes, I know these two don't sound like they would go together, but the reason I selected them both from the line up at OSO Arts Centre this week is because they're both by the same company - Box Tale Soup - who we first discovered quite a while ago at the ye old edfringe and who we rather like. Both of these shows feature just two performers and a host of puppets, which I suppose you might find fairly standard with a story like Alice's, which is generally aimed at children (and this one is - from age three plus), but it's quite unusual for an Austen adaptation. I think 'Northanger Abbey' might be fun for literature-loving teens (I think my daughter would love this, she studied the book at school last year), so this counts as two further suggestions for half term treats. Find them both listed here.

Freshfest | Old Red Lion Theatre | until 12 Mar
If you are looking for a host of different theatrical and comedic things to keep you occupied for the next month or so, Old Red Lion Theatre have a fantastic line up in their 'Freshfest' season. There's lots of work in progress stuff here, from shows taking their first steps towards edfringe or a summer tour - so you can get in there ahead of the crowd - as well as tried and tested works with successful runs already behind them: 'Revenant', for example, a Manchester Fringe success - that's later in the month though. This week, maybe take a look at time travelling thriller comedy 'Love' or "sinister seaside sketch show" 'Plankton'. But also, please just consider everything else that's on this week, it all looks great. See the listings here.


But I'm A Cheerleader - The Musical | The Turbine Theatre | 18 Feb-16 Apr
Hurrah, a section of musicals for all of you musical lovers out there, and maybe also for those of you who don't yet identify as musical-lovers, but might be persuaded by some intriguing and promising shows? We begin at The Turbine Theatre for the premiere of 'But I'm A Cheerleader' by Bill Augustin, with music by Andrew Abrams, obviously based on the somewhat cult-status film of the same name with Natasha Lyonne and Clea Duvall in it. If you're not aware of it, it's about a lesbian cheerleader (surprise!) who is sent to a conversion camp, but ends up rather the opposite of 'converted', as you might expect/hope. And this is a musical version! Hurrah. Book tickets here.

Is He Musical? | online/The Other Palace Studio | 17 Feb-6 Mar
This is a musical comedy inspired by the true stories of queer friends who "loved, lived and partied" in 1930s London, and it ought to have been on at the previously mentioned cancelled Vault Fest. Fortunately, it will still be seen, via a number of means! You can see a livestream on 17 and 18 Feb, tune in online and on demand from 19 Feb-6 Mar, or enjoy it in-person at the Curve Theatre in Leicester on 23 Feb and at The Other Palace Studio in London on 25-26 Feb. There's a linktree here where you can click through to book for any of these events. Yay.

Austentatious | Leicester Square Theatre | 15 Feb-27 Jun (pictured)
Yes, okay, it's not really a musical, it's an improv show with a Jane Austen theme, but it does have live music, and there is sure to be dancing, so there's a lot in common, honestly, with the musical theatre genre. For yes, this long term and fabulous favourite is back to entertain Londoners (and non-Londoners, too, if you're visiting, they're not exclusive about this) on a regular basis (lots of Tuesdays and Mondays between 15 Feb and 27 Jun) and we couldn't be happier to hear this news. I am sure you won't need persuading either, you already know it's a bit of a hit, for good reason. And you can go more than once because it's a different show every time. Woooo! See the listing on the LST website here.


Shelf: Hair | The Bill Murray | 20 Feb
Hmm, maybe I should have put this show in the musical section and 'Austentatious' in this section, it might have been a better fit. But never mind, too late now, onwards and upwards. This is musical comedy, though, of a sort, from an acclaimed duo. "Shelf are a musical comedy double act. Sort of. One of them is tone deaf, so technically they're a musical single act and guest. In 'Hair', watch how Shelf overcome the odds to create musical comedy, slamming EDM and tell the story of one bizarrely life-changing haircut. A Berk-In-Progress show". They're Musical Comedy Awards finalists and Funny Women finalists, so what could go wrong? And it's a nice early show so you can get home and have a nice early night after. Click here.

Anna & Helen: Stuck In A Rat | Soho Theatre | 15-19 Feb
"Ever found yourself stuck in a rat? Unpleasant, isn't it? Time marches on, but you're on the spot. Not even marching. Very still. Stagnating, even. Stuck in that rat. We've all been there. Join us for a chance of getting out. The future is exciting and it's still in front of you. If you've got the questions, they've got the answers (depends on the questions)". Yes, we're over to Soho Theatre to spend some, er, quality time with Anna & Helen, inside a rat. Rest assured that this fabulous and critically acclaimed duo will make sure that it's a far from stinky experience. Looks like tickets are selling quite quickly for the first couple of nights so do make your way over to the website here to secure yours.

The Breakup Monologues | Poplar Union | 17 Feb (pictured)
And I thought we would finish with something we've tipped before, but which is always fresh and new on account of it featuring new guests with new stories to tell. TW fave Rosie Wilby is doing another live recording of her acclaimed podcast 'The Breakup Monologues' at Poplar Union, and for those of you who don't know - though you may have gleaned it from the title - it sees Wilby and friends looking back at the best and worst stories from their romantic lives. This live performance will feature comedian and screenwriter Jordan Gray, Senior Culture Reporter at Mashable Rachel Thompson, Senior Commissioning Editor for Voices at The Independent Victoria Richards, comedian Vix Leyton, and podcaster, activist and speaker Sangeeta Pillai. Read more about this event here.
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