Victoria’s Top Ten London Theatre, October 2018


My goodness, is there a lot of good stuff on the stage this month or what! Each of the ten productions listed below sounds like a blinder. I don’t know how my bank balance will afford it – some difficult choice to be made! But, as always, I do hope some of the below grabs yo too – there is such a selection and I particularly love the fascinating subject matter – from famous artists from the past to literary contemporary icons, musicals to Shakespeare, historical subject matter to current day issues.

Bravo to London theatre!

White Teeth, Kiln Theatre

‘You’re in Kilburn. Melting pot where nothing’s actually melted it’s all just kinda stuck together at the bottom in a gooey mess, know what I mean?’ Where else could this much-anticipated stage adaptation of Zadie Smith’s terrific novel possibly debut but at Kiln in Kilburn? Rosie Jones, the Iqbal twins, their parents, their grandparents, Mad Mary and an avalanche of other characters who make up the everyday chaos of Kilburn High Road come together in an extraordinary revelry of NW6. An epic comedy with music and dance, this theatrical rollercoaster takes us on a fast-paced journey through history, different cultures and chance encounters. Opens 26 October. Tickets from £10.

I’m a Phoenix, Bitch, Battersea Arts Centre

Praise god for Bryony Kimmings – a true star of the British theatre scene – and she is BACK and, true to form, she is excavating the self and personal experience to create theatre. In 2016 Bryony nearly drowned. Postnatal breakdowns, an imploding relationship and a very sick child left her sitting beneath the waves hoping she could slowly turn to shell. When Battersea Arts Centre invited her to create a new work for the previously burnt down Grand Hall, she felt an affinity with that building, for her own life had also burnt to the ground that year. Do not miss this opportunity to witness the phoenix rise again. Runs October 3 to 20. Tickets from £15.

It’s True, It’s True, It’s True, New Diorama Theatre

Come to Mama. Last month, I revelled in Jermyn Street hosting a play about Surrealist artist, Leonara Carrington, and now New Diorama is hosting the London premiere of this wondrous production about Renaissance artist, Artemisia Gentileschi, that won plaudits from crowds and critics alike at the Fringe. It’s True It’s True It’s True is based on the transcripts of the 1612 rape trial that shook renaissance Rome where Agostino Tassi was accused of raping fellow Artemisia, but it was Artemisia who was tortured for her testimony. An all-female cast lead this razor-sharp court drama as history echoes to us across 400 years. Opens 16 October. Tickets from £15.

Company, Gielgud Theatre

It’s finally here – Marianne Elliott directs Rosalie Craig, (the mighty) Patti Lupone and Mel Giedroyc in Sondheim’s Company, this legendary musical comedy about life, love and marriage. At Bobbie’s (Rosalie Craig) 35th birthday party all her friends are wondering why isn’t she married? Why can’t she find the right man and Why can’t she settle down and have a family? Featuring Stephen Sondheim’s award-winning songs Company, You Could Drive a Person Crazy, The Ladies Who Lunch, Side by Side and the iconic Being Alive. Runs to 22 December. Tickets from £29.50.

Twelfth Night, Young Vic

This adaption of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night – a collaboration between Kwame Kwei-Armah, and songwriter, Shaina Taub – debuted in the States in 2016 and now it’s finally getting a UK premiere as part of Kwame’s debut season at the YV. We are still going to see Viola and her twin brother Sebastian wash up on the shores of Illyria, and when Viola disguises herself as a man, we are still going to be whipped up in a a joyous whirlwind of gender-bending and unrequited love. Only this time we are weaving up soulful melodies, R&B beats, and an awe-inspiring community chorus from Southwark and Lambeth. Runs to 17 November. Tickets from £10.

Mrs Dalloway, Arcola Theatre

On a single day in London, 1923, Clarissa Dalloway prepares to throw a party for her high-society friends. On the same day, in the same city, First World War veteran Septimus Warren Smith seeks help from the ruling class that Clarissa entertains. We know the book – it’s iconic – and now Forward Arena present a fast-paced, dynamic staging of Hal Coase’s bold new version of Mrs Dalloway renewing the collaboration between the company and Hal Coase following their previous production of the much-loved Callisto: a queer epic. I can’t wait. Runs to 20 October. Tickets from £15.


The Malady of Death (La Maladie de la mort), Barbican Theatre

Praise the Lord. Katie Mitchell and Alice Birch have come together again, this time to explore intimacy, gender, emotional paralysis, and the male and female gaze through an intricate blend of performance and live cinema. To do this, Alice has adapted Marguerite Duras’s novella, turning her female protagonist into a sex worker and investigating the impact of pornography on the psyche. In a hotel room by the sea, a man waits. The woman comes at night, only ever at night, and is permitted neither to speak nor to resist. Anything he wants, she must do. The cost doesn’t matter. He wants to learn how to love, what it is to feel again. Runs 3 to 6 October. Tickets from £16.

The Inheritance, Noel Coward Theatre

There may be two parts to it, and each may well be over the three-hour mark, but The Inheritance has been one of the stand out theatrical experiences of the year and if you missed this heartfelt examination of how life for gay men in NYC has changed over the past fifty years at the Young Vic, don’t miss it on its West End transfer. This is an extraordinary production, one that had me in tears along with many (many) others. At times, hilariously funny, at other moments painfully tragic, The Inheritance is profoundly affecting and perfectly executed by its immensely talented cast. Even the seven hours total running time won’t put me off going again. Runs to 5 January 2019. Tickets from £15.

POT, Ovalhouse

In the year that has seen knife crime in the UK soar to an unprecedented level, writer and actress Ambreen Razia presents the corrupt and violent world of inner city gang culture. POT delves into the lives of Britain’s invisible children, adrift in the care system and inadvertently impacted by gang culture.16-year-old Louisa wakes up in a flat on her estate with her erratic and unstable boyfriend Josh missing and a notorious drug dealer on her back. A young man, Miles, who is clearly concealing his own troubled past has been appointed her protector. Time is running out as Louisa must decide whether to do the right thing whilst a series of revelations suggest everything is not as it seems.

The Sweet Science of Bruising, Southwark Playhouse

I have been waiting to tell you all about this production since I first heard about it back in June. It sounds amazing. Based on historical research into 19th century women’s boxing, The Sweet Science of Bruising is a fascinating new play by Joy Wilkinson that follows four very different Victorian women drawn into the dark underground world of female boxing. Controlled by men and constrained by corsets, each finds an unexpected freedom in the boxing ring. As their lives begin to intertwine their journey takes us through grand drawing rooms, bustling theatres and rowdy Southwark pubs where the women fight inequality as well as each other. Runs to 27 October. Tickets from £12.

Wise Children, Old Vic Theatre

‘Let’s have all the skeletons out of the closet, today, of all days!’ It’s 23 April, Shakespeare’s birthday. In Brixton, Nora and Dora Chance – twin chorus girls born and bred south of the river – are celebrating their 70th birthday. Over the river in Chelsea, their father and greatest actor of his generation Melchior Hazard turns 100 on the same day. As does his twin brother Peregrine. If, in fact, he’s still alive. And if, in truth, Melchior is their real father after all…  Welcome to Wise Children, the iconic Angela Carter’s last great novel now retold through the eyes of Emma Rice. This is a big, bawdy celebration of show business, family, forgiveness and hope. Expect show girls and Shakespeare, sex and scandal, music, mischief and mistaken identity – and butterflies by the thousand. Opens October 8th. Tickets from £12.

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