Victoria’s Top Ten London Theatre, November 2018


It’s that time again! Yup, November next week so let’s have a run-down of my favourite shows opening this month. Obviously, we also have White Teeth at Kiln, the return of The Inheritance to the West End, Misty has also extended its run a little longer at Trafalgar, and Company is as glorious as you’ve heard (though a little bit too white). But I thought I would set those gems aside for the list this month, so I could take the opportunity to bring more shows to your attention.

And, of course, we are nearing Christmas so those seasonal offerings are starting to rear their heads!!

ear for eye, Royal Court Theatre

“Marchin’ days is over man.” New work from debbie tucker green is always worth waiting for and I’ve no doubt ear for eye will be no different, not that we have much to go on as little has been given away but expect an examination of violence vs nonviolence, and direct action vs. peaceful demonstration. These are the urgent questions of the day and many of us are wrestling with these very challenges as we scrutinise the devastating impact of systematic and institutionalised racism. Runs to 24 November. Tickets from £12.

Made in China’s Super Duper Close Up, Yard Theatre

From anxiety to memory, Super Duper Close Up interrogates the female experience of a hyper-mediatised society: the implications of being looked at, represented, refracted in an infinite stream of frozen pouts and desperate smiles. This ultra-modern exploration of the line between fact and fiction in the stories we tell about ourselves is performed in an explosion of live film-making, hypnotic movement and memoir fiction. Add to this, I’m a big fan of Made in China – their shows such an adrenalin rush of issues, self-examination, words and music – and this makes for a show I am very much looking forward to. Opens 13 November. Tickets from £15.

All We Ever Wanted Was Everything, Bush Theatre

Meet Leah and Chris; raised on Harry Potter, New Labour and a belief that one day they would be as ‘special’ as their parents promised. But what happens when those dreams don’t become reality? Set across three decades, from 1997’s Cool Britannia to today’s Brexit Britain, this is multi-award-winning gig theatre that mixes original live music from James Frewer with bold new writing by Luke Barnes. It’s a story about the world we inherited and the one we’re leaving behind. It’s the story of a million beating hearts. And an asteroid with other plans. Runs to 24 November. Tickets from £10

Dietrich: Natural Duty, Wilton’s Music Hall

Drag and cabaret – two of the most underrated and appropriated art forms. Come and revel in their brilliance with this breath-taking mixture of theatre, cabaret and drag that comes straight from the Edinburgh Festival and was a sold-out hit at VAULT Festival. An intoxicating one-(wo)man show revealing the life of a legend. It is 1942. On the battlefields of North Africa in a gold sequin gown, Marlene Dietrich takes to the stage to fight the war her way; with an irresistible mix of songs, sequins, sex and sympathy. Fall in love again with this Hollywood icon and her extraordinary commitment to duty. Runs 19 to 24 November. Tickets from £12.50.

Dealing with Clair, Orange Tree Theatre

‘Selling houses. It’s not forever. Who knows what I’ll do? Maybe make a killing and just… disappear. That’s right. Vanish.’ Martin Crimp, everybody! This play was first seen thirty years ago at the Orange Tree, where several of his early plays premiered, and it is a psychological thriller and disturbing satire on real estate so expect all the man’s hallmark darkness. Dealing with Clair examines the horrors just beneath the civilized surface of urban lives; it is both a satire on moral and emotional bankruptcy and a bleak, black comedy thriller so that’ll be a double thumbs up from me! Runs to December 1. Tickets from £15.

Hadestown, National Theatre

This reworking of the tragedy of Orpheus and Eurydice originally started as a concept album by singer-songwriter, Anaïs Mitchell, but then she teamed up with director Rachel Chavkin and the two transformed the album into a genre-defying new musical that mixes modern American folk music with vintage New Orleans jazz to reimagine a sweeping ancient tale. Here, in the warmth of summertime, songwriter Orpheus and his muse Eurydice are living it up and falling in love. But as winter approaches, reality sets in: these young dreamers can’t survive on songs alone. Tempted by the promise of plenty, Eurydice is lured to the depths of industrial Hadestown. On a quest to save her, Orpheus journeys to the underworld where their trust is put to a final test. Opens November 2. Tickets from £21.

The Funeral Director, Southwark Playhouse

Winner of the Papatango New Writing Prize and written by Iman Qureshi, The Funeral Director is an exploration of a gay Muslim woman coming to terms with her identity. Life as the director of a Muslim funeral parlour isn’t always easy, but Ayesha has things pretty sorted. She and Zeyd share everything: a marriage, a business, a future. Until Tom walks in to organise his boyfriend’s funeral. A snap moral decision, informed by the values of Ayesha’s community and faith, has profound consequences. Forced to confront a secret she has hidden even from herself, Ayesha must decide who she is – no matter the cost. This promises to be an incisive and heartfelt story of sexuality, gender and religion in 21st-century Britain. Runs to November 24. Tickets from £12.

A Small Place, Gate Theatre

The Gate is hosting the world stage premiere of Jamaica Kincaid’s searing story of colonial exploitation. Adapted for the stage for the first time, this play draws on Jamaica’s personal experiences growing up in Antigua, exposing the impact of European colonization and tourism. The play, much like the book, promises to be a missive to the traveller, whether American or European, who wants to escape the banality and corruption of some large place. Jamaica’s words remind us that the Antiguan people, formerly British subjects, are unable to escape the same drawbacks of their own tiny realm—that behind the benevolent Caribbean scenery are human lives, always complex and often fraught with injustice. Opens November 8. Tickets from £14.

How to Catch a Krampus, Pleasance Theatre

Drag Queens, Krampuses, magic, and 80s rock… Come celebrate Christmas in style at Pleasance with the first ever theatre residency from drag collective Sink The Pink. Based on the myth of the Krampus, a beast with the head of a goat and claws, the story follows a con artist and part-time medium, whose fake magic suddenly becomes real. Written by drag queen Ginger Johnson, who has previously penned Down the Rabbit Hole and The Queen’s Head for Sink The Pink, the play is inspired by classic British horror. In the vein of Sweeney Todd, it’s very much a grown-up affair, and – just to really emphasise that – first aiders will be present at each performance in case any audience members feel unwell! Opens November 13. Tickets from £18.

The Ex-Boyfriend Yard Sale, Camden People’s Theatre

Looking forward to this, a world premiere performance of Haley McGee’s The Ex-Boyfriend Yard Sale, which previously has been a hit pop-up installation at Euston station. The piece was actually inspired by Haley’s call with Visa (promising to pay off her bill by having a yard sale) when she realised the only things she could sell were gifts from her ex-boyfriends. Here, Haley looks at the cash value of sentiment and the cost of love… or what love costs us. The Ex-Boyfriend Yard Sale smashes together personal divulgences, maths, recorded interviews with Haley’s ex-boyfriends, economics and the politics of commerce in a quest to determine what our romantic relationships are actually worth. Opens 20 November. Tickets from £12.

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