Today's full programme, more choices & comment
The case of Christine and Lea Papin has fascinated artists and writers alike for almost a century. In Alexa, Play., the case is reimagined and brought to the modern day by handing Christine’s role in the murder of their employee, to Amazon’s Alexa. Has Alexa updated to an emotional, manipulative being or has Annie, an overworked PA, given Alexa human attributes to cope with her ever demanding and abusive boss?
Alex is funny. That’s what Lila says at least. But it’s more embarrassing coming from yer mum right? “It’s genetic, Hun. I’m f**king funny me.” <br/>You know that thing when yer dad’s a philandering absentee, yer relationships are forever on the wonk and the binary don’t apply? Yeh, that’s Alex on the daily.<br/>Thank f**k for Lila.<br/>Alex and their mum are both just trying to do life. Some days it’ll make them wanna punch through a wall, on others they’ll find themselves slow-dancing in an art gallery. Whatever gets ‘em through ya know? <br/>In this half-play, half stand-up gig, Anna Wheatley explores the art of being human in a world obsessed with boxes. You might do a laugh. You might do a cry. You might join hands and stick two fingers up to society. <br/>Director: Jessica Daniels (Girl From The North Country)
Growing up in Kilburn, siblings Madani, Maryam and school mate Alex hit it off from the moment they meet. 10 years later, playful chats about ninja turtles and bobble pens have been kicked out by teen opinions powered by podcasts, porn and politics. Still, best friends can talk about anything. So why are there suddenly so many unspoken thoughts between the three? A critically acclaimed play direct from the Edinburgh Fringe 2019 about teenagers crashing into the modern world.<br/>****'Powerfully performed by a first-rate cast it's a funny sugar-rush of exceptional energy' The Scotsman
**** 'Superb coming-of-age tale...brilliantly done' The Wee Review
***** 'Four days into the Festival, and I might have found the best piece of Fringe theatre I’m likely to see this year' The Fountain
What could be more romantic than giving your lover a mix tape? That’s what scientist Carl Sagan thought in 1977 when he compiled his Golden Record on behalf of all humanity and sent it shooting off into space in search of friendship, love and maybe more. Forty-two years later, why haven’t the aliens messaged us back? Is it because our message came across as arrogant, colonial and sexist?<br/>‘Don’t Talk to Strangers’ is a disruptive parody of revisionist history - a story made by men but retold by women; four women on a collision course with our own problematic history. ‘Don’t Talk to Strangers’ is both an intersectional re-evaluation of this ground-breaking musical love letter and a trashy rom-com about us and the aliens.<br/>Told through visually rich theatrical language, this ensemble show layers complex sound-art, celestial lighting and transcendental movement over a modern day science fiction story. Structured like a mixtape, ‘Don’t Talk to Strangers’ is told through a series of vignettes, each moment building on the last; until the gravitational pull forces the story to fold in on itself. Come and witness both the vastness of interstellar space and the domestic intimacy of a love story. Flicker by flicker, Hot Cousin light the stage until it looks like the middle of the cosmos.
This play is about a mother who lived through the Lebanese civil war, and her daughter, who has not. It’s about the way this mother speaks to her daughter about trauma, and about the funny, heart-breaking stories which she tells as one would tell a fairy tale, or what happened that day at the supermarket. This play is about silence, and everything that is never mentioned. It's about how we use stories, laughter, and silence to heal, and how they prevent us from healing.<br/>With humour and an original live music score, it explores the ways a queer daughter interacts with these stories, how they shape and clash with her life in the West, and how slowly, softly, she can find agency inside them.<br/> All the stories in the play are based on real conversations between a daughter and her mother, a refugee who survived the Lebanese civil war.
1974. A shattering and inconvenient truth. <br/>2001. An act of extraordinary violence.<br/>2018. The severing of family ties. <br/>This restless, tender and deeply personal new play wrestles with the trauma inherited from father to son with sharp focus on how this shapes who we are. Spanning three generations, Father's Son examines how the unresolved trauma, toxic behaviours and poor mental health ripple through a working class family in Stoke. <br/>James Morton is an urgent and necessary working class voice and makes his professional debut at VAULT Festival.<br/>“James Morton is a writer of real and rare talent and humanity. He is restlessly searching, deeply compassionate and as fucking funny as he is truthful. In the future you will be definitely boasting about seeing his early plays.” (Simon Stephens)<br/>Father's Son was developed through the National Theatre's Toolkit programme and Soho Writers' Lab. It was shortlisted for the Tony Craze Award in 2018.
It ain't easy being Jack. He hates French, he got sorted into Hufflepuff on the official online quiz and he's in love with his best friend Ollie. But dodging bullies, keeping secrets and trying to get the man is too much for Jack to take. So he pulls out his trusty Time Turner and does it all over again. Maybe this time he'll get into Gryffindor.<br/>Dumbledore Is So Gay is a witty, poignant and contemporary coming-of-age drama for the naughties. Written by Robert Holtom (The Cluedo Club Killings, The Quest) and directed by Tom Wright (Undetectable, My Dad's Gap Year).<br/>For those who love fantasy and those who don't, for the LGBTQ+ community and its allies, and for anyone who loves a good laugh and maybe a little cry. Join Jack as he tries to be true to himself in a world so full of prejudice and indifference.
We gave her a different name to us.
I don’t know why we chose Alice.
We wanted something English.
And it’s a beautiful name. It’s Victorian.<br/>The first production in the UK to deal with Azerbaijani-British identity, Alice is an arresting solo play about otherness and the power that comes from creating our own personal myths to define who we are.<br/>Written and performed by Emily Renée and presented by Klein Blue (Are There Female Gorillas?, **** Spy in the Stalls, Brighton Fringe Festival, Camden People’s Theatre Calm Down, Dear Festival).
Female comedians are often criticized for only talking about vaginas and periods, which is offensive, but in Lily’s case 100% true. Follow newcomer Lily Phillips with her ‘funny bones and great hair’ (This is Cabaret) on her journey to feminism and stand up. How did Lily go from Cheerleader to activist? How many Vagina jokes can she fit into an hour show? And why, when she talks about her body does she get referred to as smutty? With her ‘Charming and moderately obscene’ (The Scotsman) comedy, Smut will center around Lily’s life experience so far; her family life, her career dancing on Greek islands for a conglomerate of pervs, the trials and tribulations of having a periods and turning 30 only to discover that apparently your vagina gets bigger with age rather than usage? Whattt? Find out what happens when her dog gets cystitis and when her boyfriend has to help her birth her own Menstrual Cup. They are still together by the way, if anything, it has brought them closer.
Charlie wants success, and she'll do anything to get it. An exciting work-in-progress for the debut hour of stand up from a spunky young joke writer (The Now Show, The News Quiz) and reasonably successful comedy director (Olga Koch's 'Fight' and 'If/Then') delving into what drives us to achieve, and if it's really worth it. <br/>"Interested in comedy that’s underpinned by a tight combination of academic thinking and playful wit? Charlie is one to watch." - Metro
This story starts in Galway, Ireland - 2002 when Naomi is just 10 years old, wild and free. She’s used to mending her heart but will this final blow be the ultimate betrayal?
Follow this little Londoners poetic summers, spent on the West Coast of Ireland. Tackling grief and racism in a place she calls home.<br/>"In this foreign land, I thought all was grand but I’m starting to feel a little bit too tanned.” - Second Home<br/>“So much passion, dynamic and gripping.” – Audience Member
“Subliminal messages. The type of art I appreciate. Puts your brain to work.” – Audience Member
“Incredible poetic account of life as a mixed race young girl in a white land.” – Audience Member<br/>Second Home has been chosen to be published by Nick Hern Books, along with four other plays from this years festival.
A Deaf girl fights prejudice in a tough 80s boxing gym. Part play. Part immersive show. Part musical. <br/>A finalist in Pleasance Theatre's Charlie Hartill Award, Blow challenges how we treat d/Deaf and disabled people on stage, screen, and in real life. <br/>When 18 year old deaf girl Hannah wants to join Dennison’s Boxing Gym, she’s shunned by the boxers because of her disability, until trainer Bradley takes her under his wing. Blow follows Hannah’s journey from outcast to championship contender.<br/>A punchy 55 minute show that’s part play, part immersive, and part musical, Blow asks tough questions of the audience about how d/Disabled people are portrayed on stage and screen, and how society treats them in real life.<br/>All shows are BSL interpreted.
You need 'Wigs Snatched, Perceptions Destroyed'! A show that will teach you to:<br/>- Turn #ClinicalDepression into a #MinimalistAesthetic!<br/>- Cultivate a strong #instagay vibe to prevent girls on Hinge from ghosting you!<br/>- Come up with content ideas that will transform you into a woke Intersectional Feminist, including scripted apologies for your eventual demise because someone found racist/homophobic/sexist (delete as appropriate) tweet from Year 10!<br/>Like, subscribe and book your ticket huns x
Inspired by Hong Kong reporters LIFE AND DEATH OF A JOURNALIST follows LAURA (Lucy Roslyn, 'Orlando') a reporter who returns to London after covering the Hong Kong protests only to be offered a job of a lifetime by editor VICKY (Melissa Woodbridge). But there's one catch to this golden opportunity. The newspaper begins to increasingly censor itself to appease its Chinese investor. <br/>Will LAURA sacrifice her relationship with Hong Kong born MARK in order to change it from the inside? The play looks at journalism from a female perspective and tackles China's tightening grip on freedom of speech (as seen in the Guardian). Directed by Max Lindsay.
You might laugh, you might cry, or you might be dead inside - Who are we to judge?<br/>'Ere lands a young comic genius, whose stage is a cold Cardiff pavement.
Will the Orange glow of the street lamp shine a brutally funny truth on the magic around her, or highlight the mundane?<br/>W**kers to G*ds. Cardiff to Outer space. Obsolete to Oranges. <br/>We have a laugh don't we! Why not come see.<br/>"Like a philosophy lesson that doesn't wreak your head"<br/>"It had fire. No really, it had real fire. Flames. Its the real deal"<br/>"Homelessness has gone up by 300% and this discusses in a compassionate and vibrant way- that the homeless, are just people, like you and me" - One of the cast's mam.<br/>*****
After a total sell out at Edinburgh Fringe and a 150+ date tour, David William Bryan (as seen in 'In Loyal Company' & 'Trashed') returns to Vault Festival for the third consecutive year. This tour de force drama follows a twelve-year-old homeless fighter through the Thatcher years and and the rise of the ecstasy era. A poetically grimy punch in the face exploring the ultimate, lifelong battle with the penal system.<br/>Are we already sabotaged by our genes to repeat the mistakes of the generations before us? Or do we have the power to break the tragic cycle? <br/>Edinburgh Fringe total sell out run in 2019<br/>Reviews for David's work:<br/>'A tour de force' (Scotsman)
‘The house is just a house; it bears no consequence.’<br/>A young queer couple inherit a home. A joint renovation project begins. A restless house gathers strength. <br/>Time passes. <br/>A missing dog – A magic mirror – A dream acquired.<br/>As the wedge between them widens, Leah and Oli are forced to take direct action against their legacy. <br/>An exploration of home-making, the seduction of normalcy and the cost our dreams can come at. Award-winning poet’s Oakley Flanagan’s debut play is told in collaboration with OPIA Collective’s multi-disciplinary style.
Say ‘I do’ to the triumphant return of Edinburgh Comedy Award-nominees Max & Ivan, as seen in BBC One’s W1A and heard on BBC Radio 4’s The Casebook of Max & Ivan.<br/>Commitment is the TRUE STORY of the unreasonable lengths one best man (Max) will go to in order to give one groom (Ivan) the greatest weekend of his life.<br/>It’s a show about dreaming big, growing up, and trying – but ultimately very much failing - to make it in the band.<br/>Directed by three time Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee Kieran Hodgson.<br/>‘A doozy of a comedy show... terrific’ **** Guardian
‘Astonishing gag rate... Commitment is a thing of joy’ ****½ Chortle
'An ingenious, affectionate two-man spectacular' **** Times
***** Theatre Weekly ***** RGM ***** Rule of Three
**** Wee Review **** Beyond The Joke **** Skinny
**** List **** Fest **** BroadwayBaby **** BroadwayWorld
After hit runs at Assembly, Edinburgh and Theatre 503 - 'Zoo' returns to the stage to coincide with publication by Nick Hern (text available for sale at VAULT 2020).<br/>Welcome to ‘Cherokee Valley Zoo and Conservation Centre’, where the most dangerous event to ever take place was the Tapir's caesarian section. But when a hurricane heads straight for Miami, Bonnie rushes to keep her animals safe. Across the world in the Yorkshire dales – Carol feels the repercussions. However, the danger turns out to be deeper and darker than the weather.<br/>A play about 'climate change' both in the weather and in the discussion of the female experience, our relationships to the natural world, and perceptions of a life well lived.<br/>What do you do when you’ve always liked animals more than people and suddenly those animals are under threat? How do the decisions we make in a crisis shape our destiny?<br/>Sometimes our loyalty and commitment make us who we are... sometimes we drink too many margaritas and go home with Ian Butterwick, giant otter expert and notorious zoo lothario.<br/>From Lily Bevan - co-writer of Talking to Strangers w/Sally Phillips (BBC Radio 4) and writer/performer of Pheasant Plucker (Edinburgh sellout 2015) comes this glorious story of two complex, funny, awkward women. A tale of tragedy, courage, flamingoes and the need to escape.
This Little Piggy is the debut stand-up show from Rose Johnson, an exciting new comedian with a hilarious confessional style. It will 100% involve oversharing, and probably her three main interests: sex, murder and crying. Her vibe is ultra-confidence/ crippling anxiety.<br/>Rose regularly performs stand-up across the country, and MCs 'Rye Laughs' a popular monthly comedy night in Peckham Rye. She is currently providing tour support for Suzi Ruffell and Jess Fostekew on their national tours.<br/>‘Superb... Confident, confessional delivery of strongly relatable material’
**** (What’s On London)<br/>Rose's recent TV appearances have included reprising her character Dee in the second series of Channel 4’s Lee and Dean, appearing with David Tennant and Jessica Hynes in BBC4’s There She Goes, and featuring alongside Anna Paquin in UKTV’s Flack. Previous TV highlights include Absolutely Fabulous, Mr Sloane and Russell Howard’s Gert Lush. <br/>Rose also performs as part of sketch group Birthday Girls. Their BBC podcast Birthday Girls House Party was nominated for a 2019 British Podcast Award for Best Comedy. The trio have enjoyed successful runs at the Edinburgh Fringe with their past two shows, Party Vibes and Sh!t Hot Party Legends, both of which transferred to London’s Soho Theatre. They have also appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Sketchorama, ITV2’s elevenish and BBC3’s Live at the Electric.<br/>Praise for Birthday Girls:<br/>‘This is joy’ ***** (The Skinny)<br/>‘A dancefloor-filling hit’ **** (Chortle)<br/>‘A thunderously good time’ **** (Fest)
Heidi Regan gives her always surreal take on daily worries, the future and whether she and her girlfriend will have a baby. She is trying to be even more honest and simultaneously more silly in this show as she thinks the world has become unhelpfully terrifying.
After a critically acclaimed run at the Edinburgh Fringe with 'Shepherd', deadpan comic Annie McGrath returns to VAULT Festival to try out some new material. Dark and charmingly offbeat, she will be doing her usual dry jokes and silly anecdotes. As seen on Channel 4, Comedy Central, BBC Three, ITV2, and Sky Sports. <br/>“McGrath’s stage presence is striking. Unapologetic in her delivery, her writing is impeccable in its clarity. An intelligent and sharp-witted hour... nothing but masterful”- Short Com ****½
“Well-crafted story-telling comedy, with flights of whimsy, ribaldry and sharp politicism, delivered by a consummate performer.”- One4Review ****
“Dark and hilarious”- The Feminist Fringe *****
"Ridiculously funny"- The Edinburgh Reporter ****
"Spot on comic timing... Delightfully dark" Three Weeks ****
“A thoroughly consummate stand-up hour, perfectly juggling the serious points with the frivolous asides... as relatable as it is funny.”- Chortle
"Smart and smutty"- London Evening Standard
"Very funny"- The Telegraph
Best hasn’t slept properly in years, which is why she feels like a ghost and looks like a shoe... A whip-smart, animated hour for anyone who’s ever stared wild-eyed at a ceiling or stood very still in their kitchen. Debut stand-up show from Funny Women Award winner. As seen on BBC, Channel 4, Netflix, Sky Arts and Radio 4. ‘A wonderful performer’ (BroadwayBaby.com). ‘Hilarious’ (Huffington Post). ‘Inspired’ (Telegraph).<br/>Entertainment Focus ***** "Gabby Best’s debut stand-up hour 10,432 Sheep provides so much joy it should be prescribed on the NHS. "<br/>Broadway Baby **** "Don’t snooze... go catch her while you can!"<br/>One4Review ****
Forgiveness is about the cycles of abuse that form and affect who we are; if and how we can escape them and move on. Jonny Donahoe is the co-creator and performer of Every Brilliant Thing, which he performed more than four hundred times over four continents, including five months off-Broadway. The show was eventually filmed and screened on HBO. He was nominated for a Drama Desk Award, Lucille Lortel Award and an Off-Broadway Alliance Award for his performance.
This is his first new solo show in five years.
'Painfully honest, funny, joyous... possibly one of the funniest plays you'll ever see, full stop' (Guardian).
Jonny Donahoe is an actor, comedian, playwright, screenwriter, broadcaster, musician, orthodox off-spinner, decent slip-catcher, capable swimmer.<br/>He is the frontman of musical-comedy-satirists, Jonny and The Baptists, as well regularly performing stand-up in his own right. His play “30 Christmases”, (starring himself and Rachel Parris), premiered at The Old Fire Station in Oxford, before transferring to the New Diorama Theatre in London. Upcoming is a twelve-part series on parenthood with real-life partner Josie Long called “Josie and Jonny Are Having a Baby (With You)” for American Podcast Network, Stitcher.<br/>“One of the funniest plays you’ll ever see ... and a phenomenally engaging performance from Jonny Donahoe”
Lyn Gardner in The Guardian on Every Brilliant Thing<br/>”The duo have the political edge of 80s alternative comedy but Jonny Donahoe has the pop soul voice to win X Factor”
Stewart Lee in The Observer on Jonny & The Baptists
It started with a 'H'....
Thanyia Moore was born to two working class Jamaican born parents. What happened from there, is what she'll be discussing. From being bullied to being a bully, Thanyia explores what that means and how she's overcome all of the obstacles that may or may not have got in the way
Tony Law identifies as a Hominid.<br/>Homo Sapiens, Neanderthal, Indo-European horse tribesman, an Englishman, a Canadian, a norn iron man and a Trinidadian and a Tobagonian. A dog, a dog owner, owned by a dog, a surrealist, an absurdist and an artist who is comedy of person. A parent a thrower a catcher a reader and a farmer.<br/>His 16th show is turning out to be his best yet. For connoisseurs of comedy who have seen it all and are funny in their own bones. Top drawer Tony. Comedians comedian comedian for the comedy nerd seeking Dadaist nirvosis nirvana blap.<br/>‘WILD, UTTERLY ABSURD AND MAGNETIC.’ **** Broadway World
ARABITCH is a semi-autobiographical show that explores the relationship between LGBTQ+ and Arab cultural identities. Through Drag, spoken word and cabaret we meet ARABITCH, aka Sara, as she weighs up the decision to come out to her conservative Iraqi mother; meeting mentors along the way (like Abu Nuwas, a dead queer Iraqi poet) and enemies (casually racist twinks at G-A-Y). ?
The show asks questions about racism in the LGBTQ+ community and the homophobia in Arab communities and how both these inform the experiences of people who identify as both.
In short, ARABITCH is a show about finding community, consolidating conflicting identities, and looking to oneself for acceptance and validation.
Come see your favourite Fringe comedians lie, manipulate and backstab as they try to uncover the murderous werewolves in this fresh take on the comedy panel show. Ghost mayor Jon Gracey (The Beta Males) hosts. New guest lineup every show!<br/>Previous guests include Nish Kumar, Rose Matafeo, Daniel Sloss, Mae Martin, Marcus Brigstocke, Sofie Hagen, Nick Helm, Jayde Adams and loads more.<br/>Expect chaos.<br/>Best Newcomer nominee at Brighton Fringe 2017.<br/> ***** - VoiceMag.uk<br/>'A rare and special experience' - AYoungerTheatre.com
Following their 2019 five-star sell-out run at the Edinburgh fringe and appearances on the BBC, Just These Please return to London with their apolitical, often musical and always hilarious sketches that will knock your socks off. Then neatly fold them.<br/>With 25 fresh new sketches and songs in 55 fast minutes, expect quick-wit and hilarity from the gender-balanced quartet whose 2018 five-star debut was widely praised for its clever jokes and tightly written sketches and songs. Each sketch or song is punctuated by pumping tunes and slick transitions. Your socks will never be the same again!
“You’re going to use the truth to make people care; you’re going to use words to bring people together; and you’re going to give people the courage to fight back.” <br/>After years in the shadows, Alina and Vincent can stay silent no longer. But when personal beliefs have political consequences, fighting the good fight is not as straightforward as it seems. <br/>Jo Sutherland's tense political thriller asks what we believe in and what we’d risk to stand up for those beliefs. <br/>V+15 is the inaugural production of Nevertheless Theatre Company. Nevertheless exists to platform female voices and to produce work that interrogates identity, power, and politics in twenty-first century Britain.
Lou Sanders is back with a new hour of stand-up after her critically-acclaimed, sold-out 2019 show 'Say Hello to Your New Step Mummy'.
One of Britain's most original comedians, Lou is the current reigning champion of the last series of Taskmaster (DAVE) and other recent television appearances include QI (BBC2), 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown (Channel 4), Hypothetical (DAVE), Aisling Bea’s sitcom This Way Up (C4), The Russell Howard Hour (Sky 1), Jon Richardson’s Ultimate Worrier (DAVE) and Karl Pilkington’s sitcom Sick of It (Sky One).<br/>"Enormously enjoyable hour of stand-up from one of comedy's most unique voices... Irresistibly good" **** - The i
IMOGENÉ is more than just a concept - she’s a sensation; an over-the-top diva on the brink of pop immortality. But first - due to time constraints related to the physical demands of binge-watching five series of Poldark - she must enlist the help of the audience to create her ground-breaking new album in time to present it to chart-topping music producer Mark Ronson... tonight!!! <br/>Part improvised pop-concert, part confessional clown show, IMOGENÉ is the brand new show from Bristol based theatre company The Delight Collective, known for their 4th wall breaking, hilariously interactive shows. <br/>Joining IMOGENÉ on her star-spangled journey, the audience will be taken on a high-octane ride of riotous music, physical comedy and wild monologues which explore themes of gender identity, feminism, polyamory, sexuality, rape culture and consent. Like all concert-goers, the audience will be dazzled by light-shows, multiple costume changes, dry ice and excessive amounts of glitter but they will also help create Imogene's new album - catapulting each and every one of them to pop's hall of fame.<br/>IMOGENÉ will be accompanied by live improvised music from Jack Orcozo Morrison. <br/>WARNING: Strong chance of audience interaction, costume changes, excessive glitter and oversharing.<br/>Audience Feedback
'Fun, free and liberating... I LOVE IMOGENÉ!'<br/>'An improvised pop diva with a difference...'<br/>'Go and see this show...it will make you see the world differently'<br/>‘Camp, outrageous and wickedly funny, IMOGENÉ is a comedy force to be reckoned with.’
Caitlin Campbell, Artistic Director of The Bristol Improv Theatre<br/>Devised by Imogen Palmer and Jack Drewry (Tremolo Theatre). Performed by Imogen Palmer and Jack Orozco Morrison.
An Elizabethan woman stitches a beard from her pubic hair to marry the woman she loves. A Punjabi-speaking Muslim girl tries to make her parents understand who she is by translating the untranslatable. A drag queen fighting in World War II must literally lip sync for her life.<br/>In a subterranean network of tunnels deep beneath London, a band of real-life queer misfits from across time have gathered. These are people you’ve never heard of, with extraordinary stories they’ve never shared. But now - through monologue, dance, music, glitter and lots and lots of noise - they’re raising the roof. They’re creating vibrations which they hope will reverberate up through the thick, muddy layers of time, into the right-here-right-now. “Deeply moving yet extremely funny” (Inter:Mission), butterfly is a show full of laughs, goosebumps and wonder in equal measure.