Monday, 8 December 2014

Soho Theatre: Springing to Life

I found it eventually
Press Release from the Soho Theatre begins...

Welcome to 2015, where everything is political in the lead up to the impending May 2015 general election.

Hang on, they have got to be kidding. An election, in 2015? We just had a big one - well, I suppose it was not an election, it was a Referendum, but it still had campaigning and talented artists sacrificing their ability to make work that expressed a political view (not the No voters, but still...).

Does this mean more political theatre?
As the media hone in on the political stage, Soho Theatre’s toeing the party line by announcing upcoming Spring theatre highlights with their own version of what a party can be. Exciting, evocative and powerful new work, new collaborations and London premieres dominate this season, where – if you read between the lines of the manifesto – you'll find serious and satirical metaphors on the housing crisis, social marginalisation and isolation, unemployment, youth prospects, rural degradation, cultural collisions and anarchy in the face of the establishment.

Seriously, as long as it is 'read between the lines' stuff. It is very rare that 'reading the lines' agit-prop theatre is any good. Rare, not impossible...

But it’s going to be more fun than that.

Soho Theatre begins its 2015 theatre programme, like any good political campaign does, by sending in the clowns. Kraken (6–18 Jan), is a simple man travelling through an illogical world. The award-winning, Gaulier-trained physical comedian, Trygve Wakenshaw, mocks and revitalises his own (mostly) wordless rhetoric as he wills you the audience to suspend your disbelief. 

It's next door. I got confused.
Why can't you send him up to Scotland? I thought that having Boris as Mayor was enough slapstick for everyone. 

The 2014 Melbourne International Comedy Festival Barry Award nominated follow-up to Squidboy comes to Soho Theatre for its London premiere as part of the London International Mime Festival. 

Meanwhile, the greatest orator of physical rhetoric and coercion of the mob from violence to peace and love – Doctor Brown – returns to Soho Theatre with a trilogy of his most recent, award-winning, work in three consecutive weeks – Because, Becaves and Befrdfgth (12–17, 19–24, 26–31 Jan).

Okay, the political thing was a way in, wasn't it? These are really political works (except in the weak 'everything is politics' way).

The epidemic of loneliness and social isolation, and its close relationship with mental health in both younger adults and the elderly, hit headlines earlier this year when the Office for National Statistics found London to be the loneliness capital of Europe. 

I don't think it did in Scotland. These are important issues - I am familiar with emotional loneliness (and the physical variety. I am still available, ladies), and mental health problems, but is this like London waking up to the problem because it finally impacts on London.

Oh, yes, this is aimed at London audiences, and the previous comment could be seen as bitter and inappropriate parochialism. 

Making its London premiere in February, following its critically acclaimed preview run during the final week of Edinburgh Festival Fringe, is a deeply personal show by Kim Noble. A 2014 Total Theatre Judges Award winner, Kim Noble: You're Not Alone (3 Feb – 7 Mar) has been described as funny, provocative and “the very definition of a must see”. A profoundly moving piece of theatre by one of UK’s most incredible live performance artists that will stay with you long after you leave the theatre.

Yeah, we had him in Scotland first. 

Taking a moment to see that the grass is not always greener on the other side, Soho Theatre looks across the pond at those who have fallen short of the coveted ‘American Dream’. Bristol’s most exciting young company, FellSwoop Theatre, blend live music, mime and heart-wrenching humour in Ablutions (10–22 Feb) based on Patrick deWitt’s Booker-nominated novel, telling the grimly funny story of a Los Angeles barman’s demise into the sodden depths of the underworld as he embarks on a road trip of his own spiritual ablution, and constitutional abandonment.

Sounds intriguing, but I am not sure what constitutional abandonment means. There seems to an alternative American Dream these days - romanticising getting pissed up and failing. 

Heading to Britain’s rural regions next, and the prospects of employment for young people, with two young men who can’t even kill a cow. Produced by the Midlands’ Pentabus Theatre, Milked (3–8 Mar), written by their playwright-in-residence Simon Longman, is a bold black comedy about friendship and unemployment in the countryside – and a cow called Sandy. Two young men are faced with the reality of what the world has to offer them, within the confines of their regional setting, and what they have to offer out in return. The run is part of Pentabus’s national tour.

With a soundtrack by the Wurzels, perhaps?

The housing crisis forms the premise for the first official comedy from theatre heavyweight Philip Ridley. Radiant Vermin (10 Mar – 12 Apr) makes its world premiere at Bristol’s Tobacco Factory Theatre before its London premiere and five-week residency at Soho Theatre. 

Win. Ridley rocks - only I see why they are calling it his first official comedy. His scripts are hilarious, but only if you have a dark sense of humour. 

Radiant Vermin tells the story of Ollie and Jill, a young couple who want to tell you how they got themselves off the waiting list and onto the housing ladder. Radiant Vermin uncovers what (sinister) lengths a couple would go to, personally and within their community, in order to achieve their dream home: it’s Hunger Games, but for the middle class, and they did it all for their baby…

The Hunger Games is about the middle class and their attitude to life, ain't it? 
Right, that'll do for this press release. If it gets too long, no one will read it. 

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