What’s on in London: Theatre Round-up
Kieran Hodgson: Big In Scotland
Kieran Hodgson is currently touring his Edinburgh Comedy Festival show, Big In Scotland.
Big In Scotland is the story of being a not-quite immigrant in a not-quite different country. It’s a journey of discovery and belonging, as Kieran’s Anglo-centric view of the UK is challenged and destroyed by a cast of Scottish characters, and as Kieran himself builds a new life for himself that he could have never imagined.
Kieran Hodgson had a plan. From growing up in Yorkshire, he was to be one of those London people: wandering the streets of Chelsea, Tottenham and Leyton Orient, doing guest roles on Radio 4 sitcoms alongside Nigel Havers, and laughing scornfully at the provinces. But was this really the route to Kieran’s happiness? Is it anyone’s?
Then everything changed: in 2020 Kieran moved to Scotland after being cast in the television series Two Doors Down, plunging a world still in shock from the Pandemic into further confusion. Who would Kieran be in this strange new land? Could he become someone totally different – better, even? Was he now obliged to give ill-informed opinions about independence to English members of his family? What was the difference between a stooshie and a rammy, and could Kieran discover it in time not to make an idiot of himself while trying to make new Scottish friends?
At a time when numerous obituaries for the United Kingdom are being written, Big In Scotland takes a look at the non-newsy aspects of the England-Scotland relationship and makes the political both personal and daft. Kieran learns Gaelic (a bit), climbs Munros (a few), ends up starring in a Scottish sitcom. He meets Prime Ministers and panto stars and Weegies. He asks himself and the people of his new home whether he belongs, though it turns out the answer is perhaps less important than how you ask the question.
UK Theatre Round-up – which queer performances should be on your radar?
Which queer theatre shows should be on your radar in the months ahead? Here’s a quick round-up showcasing some of the best LGBTQ talent in the UK.
Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story
After playing to sold-out audiences across the UK this autumn, Awkward Productions are bringing the People’s Princess to London for one night only at the Clapham Grand with Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story.
The show will be opened by Sooz Kempner – comedian, singer, writer, and actor.
“Sooz Kempner makes me howl with laughter with everything she does…” says Linus Karp of Awkward Productions. “I couldn’t be more thrilled to have such a dicon and a comedy hero of mine open our show at Clapham Grand. She is the Queen of my Heart.”
“As a child of the 80s I grew up with Diana influencing everything from my eyeliner to my mum’s 1994 haircut and to be part of the greatest possible tribute to the Queen of Hearts is the greatest honour of my life…” says Sooz Kempner. “Fetch the kohl and the heather shimmer lipstick – it’s time to Di.”
Told by Diana from Heaven, Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story foregrounds the iconic royal as the powerful, independent woman she wasn’t meant to be – combining drag, multimedia, audience interaction, puppetry and queer joy to highlight Diana’s ground-breaking stances on social and queer issues and allowing her to speak her (un)truth in breaking free from the monarchy.
How to Flirt
Actor, writer and Drag King Daisy Doris May brings her solo show How to Flirt: The TED XXX_mas Edition to Soho Theatre this winter following a run at the Edinburgh Fringe.
Produced by Häus of Dons, May’s alter ego Guildfordian Steve Porters teaches the audience how to flirt in this one-person show that examines gender binaries, toxic masculinity – and how to spoon.
While Steve’s heart is in the right place, his naïve outlook can be problematic – inviting the audience to consider what behaviour we accept in public and private.
How to Flirt encourages the audience to think about who or what you have modelled your behaviour on, examining upbringing and gender binaries all through the hilarious lens of Steve’s TED XXX Talk.
Fairytale on Church Street
The Cockpit has announced the cast for its Christmas production – Fairytale on Church Street.
Glitzy Von Jagger takes on the role of Mother Hood, alongside Carys McQueen as Red Riding Hood. The cast also includes Artie Godden, Emilia Harrild, and Lauson Kenyon.
“We’re all so thrilled to have found such a dynamic, talented and diverse group of actor-musicians. This is going to be a really demanding show…” explains co-director and writer Kathryn Gardner. “It’s high energy, it’s packed with music and comedy, there will be lots of audience involvement, lots of very excited kids!”
The Sex Lives of Puppets
Blind Summit is a theatre company that uses puppets to address unlikely subjects – previous productions have tackled alcoholism, existentialism, and demonic possession.
Their latest show – The Sex Lives of Puppets – is diving under the covers.
Some of the questions that they’ll be exploring include:
- What do puppets look like naked?
- Fancy some no strings sex?
- Ummm … what are you doing with your hands?
This is theatre as a multi-layered experience. A fun and frank exploration of puppet desire also enables a reflection on human fears, worries, hang-ups, and desires that will resonate with audiences.
In creating this production, co-writers/directors Ben Keaton and Mark Down have collaborated with the London School of Hygiene’s National Surveys of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles – one of the largest and most detailed scientific studies of sexual behaviour in the world.
Taking inspiration from real-life responses, the production consists of a series of two-hander interview scenes in which a cast of puppet couples of all genders, races and ages, talk about their sex lives and the challenges that they have to navigate. It’s a unique snapshot of sex in contemporary Britain.