Today's full programme, more choices & comment
‘You’re a bad influence’ ‘And you’re a bit... you know... weird’<br/>Two strangers stand in an office car park. They fight. Then they go for dinner.<br/>A funny, twisted story about two people pushing each other. Literally.<br/>Clown Funeral is based in the West Midlands. We make darkly comic shows exploring human corners of inhuman worlds.<br/>Associate Artists of the New Diorama and Pegasus Theatre
Winners of The Clive Barker Award for Performance & The Lord Rootes Memorial Fund
Commended for Best Direction in the NSDF Edinburgh Award 2016
"You don't expect some people to die, do you? They just - go on and on."<br/>It's 1991. Bowie's playing an iconic concert in Brixton, and fifteen year old Jamie can't wait. His Dad's bought him gig tickets and Jamie's even stolen the family camera to immortalise the night. But a secret's about to come out - and life will never be the same again. <br/>It's 2016. As Jay gets ready to embrace fatherhood, the arrival of a letter on the
morning of Bowie’s death threatens to bring the ghosts of the past hurtling into the present.<br/>What do we do when the people we look up to do something unforgivable? Do our heroes define who we are? And is it ever too late to start again? <br/>Longlisted for the 2017 Papatango Prize and directed by JMK Award shortlisted director Lilac Yosiphon, Heroes is an exploration of fallen idols, family secrets and the human price of forgiveness.<br/>Presented in association with Althea Theatre and Burn Bright Theatre.
‘I hear Mother Nature calling, and I don’t know how to face her.
I’ve been having sleepless arctic nights on my two-bedroom glacier... ’<br/>It’s 2026, and Coco’s found a letter from the last ever polar bear. He’s somehow ended up at the top of Scotland. She’s going to save him.
Join us on a wild polar bear chase, through peat bogs and protests. We might just need your help... <br/>How To Save A Rock is a multi award-winning musical comedy about how to still have hope – for kids and adults alike. <br/>This show is carbon-neutral. The lighting is powered by solar-power and a bike cycled live on stage, production materials are recycled and recyclable, and all music is created live.
Winner of: The Sunday Times Playwriting Award (2019) / The Samuel French New Play Award (2019) / The Camden People’s Theatre Award (2019) / And the VAULT Festival 2020 x Staging Change Award.<br/>‘hilarious and touching... as many people as possible should see it’ – Theatre Weekly
“hope is paramount” - The Scotsman
When a local hospital announces its closure, panic ensues. <br/>Healthcare Assistant Rhea is forced to look for work elsewhere. Local lad Aaron worries about his mum’s treatment in the cancer unit. And Curtis just isn’t sure where he’s going to sleep. <br/>But when the three witness a horrific accident, a rare opportunity presents itself. <br/>As a dangerous decision triggers a wild chain of events, Rhea, Aaron and Curtis soon find themselves gathering power, influence and infamy – and inspiring a cohort of vigilante activists. <br/>What does it take to enact real change? And what would you sacrifice to keep it?<br/>Following the success of ***** 'Digging Deep' at last year's Vault Festival, Chalk Line present Amy Guyler's new political thriller 'The Nobodies'. 'The Nobodies' is made in collaboration with the multi award winning New Diorama Emerging Graduate Company, Chalk Line Theatre.
Before, Katherine climbed Mount Everest.
Now, her daughter dreams of droughts, tsunamis and wildfires. <br/>Katherine left her daughter to conquer a mountain. Her tales of nearly touching the stars became Kate's bedtime stories. Higher, further, beyond. Now it's time for Kate to climb her own mountain. A flight to Nepal will melt 8.7 square meters of Arctic ice, and she's crying in the juice aisle about buying single use plastic. <br/>Blending movement, text & music, this work in progress examines a mother and daughter’s stories unravelling in the face of climate crisis, and what might blossom in their place.
Meet the Canaries, a motley crew of munitions workers doing their bit for the war effort. An air raid sends them on an explosive journey through euphoric emancipation, forbidden friendships and anarchic dreams.
Canary seamlessly combines physical theatre, sound design and historical archive material to offer audiences a rare insight into life during the First World War from the unique perspective of Britain’s munitions workers; The Canary Girls.
Created in collaboration with award winning Spanish theatre company Teatro En Vilo, 'Canary' tells real stories taken from Tyne & Wear Archives, The Devil's Porridge Museum and the Imperial War Museum.
Winner of "Show of the Festival" and "Performance of the Festival" at Birmingham Fest 2016<br/>Fanny is rehearsing for her Drury Lane debut during the times of the infamous Contagious Diseases Acts of the 1860s. As she works on her songs with Arthur, her long-suffering pianist, it becomes apparent that things are not all as they seem. Fanny tells the funny and tragic story of her friend Elsie using music hall performance to spin her tale.<br/>This is a dark and funny account of a horrifying piece of lost British history. Sing along with classic songs from the Music Hall, then hear them sung again as they've never been heard before. Lizzie Wofford is a "Powerful and emotional performer" and was hailed as "One to watch" by the Evening Standard.<br/>Joining in is warmly encouraged (although not compulsory) and a gin is recommended.
On the edge of the coast, there is nothing but horizon. Nothing but horizon, and a figure in the distance. In the distance?—somewhere between you and the possibility of something different.<br/>Emma and PJ are having trouble walking across a room. Perhaps they are lost, or confused, or scared to move forward. Or maybe it’s because they’re in the middle of the ocean. <br/>ATLANTIC is a clown romance about division and drift. Created across Portsmouth and San Francisco, it’s a vintage aquarium fantasia about the tensions between humans and nations. Two people crash into each other, again and again. They push and they pull. The ground echoes with the shifting of tectonic plates. It begins to rain. <br/>This is the debut show of international performance duo emma + pj. It is a love story made out of fragments from two homes by the sea. You might get wet.
Alice-India is your new best friend.
A stand up comedy show about friendship and relationships and doing your best to be a person.
Mental health, sexuality and being too cute for her own good. Alice is loud, endearing and "a bit much" but she's leaning in to all of that to show you that she's ready to be your best ever friend forever.
Ania is trying out some new material. She doesn't want to commit to any themes at the time of writing this blurb, but hopefully an overriding one will be jokes.<br/>Ania is a 21 year old comedian who has written for BBC Radio 4's The Now Show and her previous Fringe show was recommended by Comedy Central as a 'show not to miss'. She was also a finalist in the Chortle Student Comedy Award 2018 and the 2Northdown New Act Competition 2019.
After his 2018 Fringe debut, Worm's Lament (The Guardian's Top Shows of the Edinburgh Fringe), Rob Oldham is back. Worm's Resolve explores being right, being wrong and getting angry. Newspaper fonts, bows and arrows and nose piercings will also be discussed. Answers will be sought, jokes will be told and an impending sense of doom will be momentarily lifted! As seen on BBC Three, as heard on BBC Radio 4. 'Full of finely wrought observation' **** (TheUpcoming.co.uk). 'I was expecting a lot from Rob Oldham. He did not disappoint' **** (One4Review.co.uk). Directed by Liam Williams.
PICK OF THE PLEASANCE 2019 AWARD WINNER
Supported at Vaults by The Pleasance<br/>A 'breathtakingly sad and intensely funny' true-story of Rosa Hesmondhalgh's ovarian cancer treatment aged 23. The 5 star sell-out hit of Edinburgh Fringe is returning to London. Madame Ovary is a life-affirming show about the importance of love when your world comes crashing down.<br/>It's January and Rosa is writing her resolutions. This is her year. She is going to stop going out with plonkers, start doing yoga and write some really good art. But before she's had time to delete her dating apps and get into downward dog, she's diagnosed. With ovarian cancer. And it's spread. Suddenly faced with hospitals, chemotherapy and her own mortality, Rosa's new goal for the year ahead is to survive it. Based on Rosa’s real-life blog, Madame Ovary explores the typical struggle a 20-something has with trying to stay relevant and the less typical struggle of trying to stay alive.<br/>"Breathtakingly sad and intensely funny” Broadway Baby
'Devastating and beautiful and true' Caitlin Moran
***** (ThreeWeeks, Edinburgh Reporter, Young Perspective, Within Her Words, Sincerely Amy, ITalkTelly)
**** (Broadway Baby, Miro Magazine, The Upcoming)
‘We are, each of us, a little universe’ - Carl Sagan
Nine piece, multi award-winning progressive brass band Perhaps Contraption (Les Enfants Terribles award winners 2019) take us on a curious audio-theatrical journey. <br/>Inspired by the words of cosmologist Carl Sagan, this unique gig-theatre experience describes the life-cycle of one extraordinary atom, and how our baffling, unlikely existence is intertwined with the universe. <br/>Expect an abundance of virtuosic musicianship, dynamic choreography and mesmerising contact juggling.<br/>Touching upon biology, spirituality and cosmology, Nearly Human is an epic and euphoric celebration of life and the universe; bursting with triumphant melodies, fascination and wonder.
Babs (a man) and Regi (a woman) are planning a wedding in London. But they’ve both left same-sex partners back in Nigeria, where it’s illegal to be gay. How We Love follows the preparations for their sham marriage, while they get intermittent updates from their real partners about how things are going back home. The show is hilarious and heartbreaking by turns, with a lot to say about LGBT rights and the difficulties faced by those who have to hide their true identity to survive. Read the full review.
Gay investigative journalist Babatunde ‘Babs’ Okonkwo has come to visit his lesbian best friend Regina ‘Regi’ Abengowe in Lewisham, south London. With mounting pressures back in Nigeria, where homosexuality is illegal and escalating dangers for their partners, Babs and Regi hatch a plan to get married. They hope this ‘cover’ will stop the threatening rumours and allow Babs to safely expose the inhumane treatment of LGBTQIA+ people in Nigeria, especially in the north where being gay is publishable by death. <br/>Between Waitrose shifts, Regi's undergraduate degree, and snippets of news from back home, Regi and Babs put their friendship to the test. With the help of Regi’s 89-year-old German Jewish neighbour and the ‘Mr & Mrs’ Board Game.<br/>But the storms are gathering in Nigeria. Regi records the acts of violence happening to their friends and Babs’s own brother threatens to betray him. As the wedding approaches, Regi and Babs must choose what they care about the most.
how we love is a new play about different types of love.
Now that we’ve found love, what are we going to do with it?<br/>Sam and Rose had one of those head over heels romances that made sense of all the love songs. Years later after the devastation this love wreaked on their lives, they have a chance to put their story to bed or destroy each other in the process.<br/>Naomi Sheldon returns to VAULT festival after her smash hit Good Girl, with this fast paced, dark and sexually charged two-hander exploring who gets to be the bad guy and who walks away scot-free when toxic relationships end. Are the wounds we submit ourselves to in the name of love ever worth the scars? Would we do it all over again because although toxic, it made us feel alive?<br/>Good Girl won VAULT festival show of the week and Funny Women best show award before a month long run at Trafalgar Studios in 2018.
Are you happy now? Near-future stories drawing on Black Mirror, Margaret Atwood and the black comedy of Killing Eve. Focused on the stories of women, the plays feature all-seeing smart speakers, curing depression in unusual ways, a new way to choose a decent politician and how to look good in the afterlife. Decluttering, one of the pieces within the show, started life as a short story and was the runner-up in the Crime Writers’ Association Margery Allingham Prize 2019.
Pop-comedy maestros The Buzztones return to VAULT festival with a brand new hour of nonsense dubbed, for the sake of trying to find a theme, 'Guilty Pleasures'.<br/>We all have those songs and singers that we secretly love but wouldn't admit to, right? The Buzztones certainly do and have been "entertaining" audiences for the last nine years with their eclectic collection of medleys, mash-ups and musical mistakes.<br/>'Guilty Pleasures' is packed with the tracks and artists that you love, but probably shouldn't...<br/>...including The Buzztones themselves come to think of it. Join them for an hour of unadulterated, guilt-free musical pleasure.
Mia and Mo have been to all the marches, turned off the heating and eaten the goldfish – but the climate’s still collapsing and they’re buckling under the pressure of saving the planet. Omelette is a new play by Anna Spearpoint (Theatre503), directed by Tash Hyman (JMK Award Finalist 2019) about climate anxiety, giving things up, and the pressure to do the right thing all the time.
After last year's attempt to make a movie in an hour, Richard has decided to be far less ambitious and just have a child. Witness him come to terms with his life choices LIVE!<br/>The show will be funny but it'll probably have some sad bits in it too. Maybe a bit of theatre. I don't know, I haven't written it yet. But my other stuff's gone down ok. Check it:<br/>“An original show that kept us laughing throughout and a little astounded at the end” – VoiceMag
“an endlessly enjoyable hour” – The List
“a thoroughly imaginative show...with an endearing heart to it, this show will have you laughing” - FringeGuru
“Oozing likability” – The Skinny
“Best comedic use of a goldfish since a fish called Wanda” – Chortle
“A funny, honest and heartfelt performance” - Mumble<br/>As seen on BBC, 4oD and heard on Radio 4. Co-writer of Edinburgh Best Newcomer Award Nominated Show The Story Beast and star of The Beta Males (Chortle Award Nominees). **** (Sunday Times). **** (Time Out).
Sweet Angel stand up comedian Helen Bauer presents a work in progress show of her new thoughts, feelings and emotions on pretty much everything. Every thought is over thought and then has alcohol thrown on it.<br/>“What follows is an hour of comedy so perfectly put together, you’d be forgiven for doubting this could possibly be someone’s debut show. Bauer darts across the stage, flowing from topic to topic with the know-how of an act who’s been onstage for years.” (The Skinny)<br/>As heard and seen on BBC Radio 4, BBC3 and Comedy Central UK. Leicester Mercury New Comedian of The Year and BBC New Comedy Award Finalist 2018.
Following her debut solo run at the Edinburgh Fringe 2019, Sukh Ojla brings her brilliant solo comedy hour to London.<br/>Join Sukh as she tries to figure out how to move forward in reverse. From dealing with mental illness to moving back in with her parents, Sukh explores mental health, identity, and living a double life in a searingly honest look at what happens when life doesn’t go to plan.
A girl. An empty street. A half-eaten Subway.
And you. And you passing in the rain. Turning the corner when I saw you. <br/>A.A. is moving from Eastern Europe to the promised land of Guinness and gift shops: Dublin. <br/>Everyone says she’ll do well ‘cause she owns slacks and knows how to spell. But it turns out that you don't just grow out of working in retail. Or get on the property ladder. Or ascend the corporate ladder. Or own a ladder... without money. <br/>NOTCH is new solo show about sleeping rough on the streets of Dublin, exploring the links between xenophobia, mental health and homelessness. Croatian writer/actor Danaja Wass draws on her own experiences of a capital that has become increasingly polarized and daunting for people who are seen as foreign, inadequate, alien or simply ‘other’. <br/>Directed by Madelaine Moore LADYKILLER (VAULT Pleasance Award Winner 2019), ALGORITHMS, FATTY FAT FAT (VAULT Origins Award Winner 2019)
Liz Kingsman - one third of critically acclaimed sketch group Massive Dad (‘Properly hilarious’ **** Scotsman) - debuts her searingly honest one-woman odyssey (normal play). A bold, irreverent, raw, moving and triumphant celebration of adjectives, this blurb will nail down nothing. Combining theatre, movement, a thumping soundtrack and something kooky like SOIL(!!?) this show asks the question, what is happening here? So unflinching you’ll be begging for a flinch. <br/>As seen on TV’s Borderline, Timewasters, Power Monkeys. “Kingsman's deadpan delivery is a constant source of entertainment” (The Skinny), “.. definitely one to watch.” (Guardian)<br/>Praise for previous shows: <br/>**** “Chockablock with bold gags” Time Out.
**** “Tightly written and exceptionally executed stuff.” Fest Mag.
**** “Even the throwaway jokes are hilarious.” Guardian.
**** “Not a moment is wasted” The List.
Drag sensation Glamrou battles to merge their queer identity and Islamic heritage. In this blisteringly funny and political debut, Glamrou serenades their lover, Allah, with love songs, break-up songs and minaret-sized wigs. “Glamrou’s camp theatrics come with a political edge. It’s striking how transgressive it feels.” Guardian (4*Denim) “Glamrou is full of heart and soul.” Scotsman (5*Denim) “Glamrou, the alpha of the group, offers a very provocative take on a Muslim upbringing that’s virtually flirting with a fatwa.” Chortle (4*Denim) “Unapologetically queer and almost insultingly imaginative, Glamrou is a formidable intellectual powerhouse.” QXMagazine
Bonnie Knockers is a sex and relationships educator. Ruby Corkscrew is a mother of two. And both have a healthy appreciation for the bawdy and bonkers. Who better then to put on a sex-ed themed cabaret show?!<br/>Inspired by the government’s recent commitment to making Relationships and Sex Education a statutory subject in all schools by 2020, House of Burlesque brings you a sassy, silly and satirical social commentary on how we experience and are (mis-) educated about one of the core elements of our lives: featuring a range of burlesque, drag, cabaret and performance art which explores sex and relationships in all their messy, mundane and mysterious glory – with an educational twist... <br/>From STIs and sexuality, to pleasure, porn and parenthood, prepare for a show which – like a good lover – will tickle your funnybone, challenge your mind and broaden your horizons: all with your consent, and in safe, supportive, rhinestone-gloved hands.<br/>The latest new work from Tempest Rose's House of Burlesque, creator of House of Burlesque 2.0, Lock In and La Revue en Rose at Vault. The UK's top burlesque production company who have been ruffling feathers for over 10 years.
“What if I had grown up there instead of here? No, not Iraq – the other one.”<br/>Two passports, two names, one woman. Peyvand is British. Parisa is Iranian.<br/>When she was ten years old, Peyvand travelled from East London to Iran with her father to meet her family for the first time. Her British citizenship wasn’t recognised, and so she had to acquire an Iranian passport (and a new name) on arrival. Only now, Parisa is forbidden from leaving the country... at least for a little while.<br/>The story may sound familiar so far, but what happens to Parisa when Peyvand is finally allowed to come back “home”?<br/>Drag, poetry, puppetry and personal/archival interviews – all set to stripped back renditions of Persian pop classics – come together in this darkly funny, formally inventive theatrical mosaic about dual citizenship, home, the arbitrary boundaries of nation states, and what it will take to start the next revolution.<br/>Developed on Starting Blocks at Camden People’s Theatre, with additional development support from Soho Theatre Labs, Omnibus Theatre, and Arcola Theatre.
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!
The Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee flaunts some ritzy odds and jewel-encrusted sods for something resembling an hour. Work in progress. <br/>***** - Evening Standard - 'That rare thing, a high-concept, unashamedly arty production that also has entire rooms laughing.'<br/>***** - Time Out - 'A rich, multilayered comedy experience.'<br/>**** - The Guardian - ‘Uproariously funny – you could watch it twice and not stop laughing.’<br/>**** - Scotsman - 'Dazzling in its scope and creativity – inventively deranged and hugely enjoyable.’<br/>**** - Telegraph - 'A monster hit – it crackles with energy.’
Austerity, free porn and "cashless society"; the golden age of of the strip club is long gone, but women keep auditioning with dreams of paying mortgages, supporting their families and pursuing their artistic careers, and those who stay are working harder than ever. Is stripping still worth it? As clubs all over the world close, what will happen to the thousands of women using their special skills and talents to earn a decent living?<br/>Based on lived experiences, ANGELS looks at a typical night in the life of three strippers in London, and imagines a future that is already fast approaching.
Miss Beehive is an original and off-the-wall stand up about recovery, beekeeping and how to survive in the wreckage of the world. Join critically acclaimed comedian Isa Bonachera for a thought-provoking and unapologetically dark hour of comedy. <br/>Isa is a BBC New Comedy Award finalist, Phoenix Artist Club Cabaret Award third-place winner, Sketch Off! runner-up, Max Turner Prize finalist, and Leicester Square New Comedian of the Year finalist.
Haydn likes jokes, Mark like characters. These two styles clash and combine to create a fast-paced, deconstructive sketch show.<br/>Leicester Square Theatre Sketch-off Finalists 2019. Max Turner Prize Runner Up 2018. Yellow Comedy Young Comedian Runner Up 2018. Chortle Student Comedy Finalist 2017.<br/>“An undeniably funny show from some very talented writers.” Three Weeks ****.
“First true gem of the 2017 Fringe.” Broadway Baby *****. “A raucous and entertaining night out” TCS ****. EdFringe Review ****. The Wee Review ****. Mumble Comedy **** "Consummate performers with pinpoint timing"
Glory. Regret. Absolutely shocking defending.
In his debut hour, character comedian Raphael Wakefield charts the rise and fall of Arsene Wenger, and asks what it means to become a success.
As heard on BBC Radio 4Xtra.
Directed by James McNicholas.