Theatre Column 21/08/14

• RUSSELL Grant may be better known for reading horoscopes but he will be returning to his original career as an actor starring as Mrs Meers in a new production of Thoroughly Modern Millie at Theatro Technis from October 1-25. For tickets

• PARKOUR beatbox and… the Bard? Shakespeare has been performed in endless locations but in September Pia Furtado (pictured) is taking Titus Andronicus to a Peckham multi-storey car park, complete with beatboxing composition from female beatbox champion Bellatrix, fast-paced choreography from Temujin Gill and a community chorus of local residents from south London. It may be across the river but this one looks worth the boat ride. For details visit

• LOOKING ahead to next year: the Royal Court will be staging a new play by Palestinian writer Dalia Taha. Her show Fireworks (Al’ab Nariya) follows the impact of war on two Palestinian children during the conflict. The show was first developed in Dalia’s International Residency at the theatre. Fireworks will run from February 12-March 14. For tickets call 020 7565 5000.

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Therese Raquin at Park Theatre

SONDHEIM meets Kate Bush and 19th-century literature in this musical adaptation of Emile Zola’s novel transferred from the Finborough Theatre. 

Zola wrote with uncanny skill to reveal human flaws and peculiarities and is therefore ever contemporary. Though set very much in Victorian Paris, this thrilling adaptation from Nona Shepphard also manages to avoid feeling “period”. 

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Terminalia at Charlie Smith

A NEW group show using the ancient ritual of “beating the bounds” as loose inspiration opens at Charlie Smith from September 5. 

The bizarre origins of the tradition involve young boys being beaten on rocks that marked parish boundaries as residents would tour the borders of the town, village or city. The idea was that the boys would never forget the beatings and therefore their territory. 

It is still enacted in various parts of the UK but in a far less brutal manner. Terminalia curator Reece Jones remembers taking part in a ceremony in his hometown of Diss, Norfolk.

The three artists – including Jones – will explore rituals of mapping space, knowledge and understanding. 

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Festival of Love at Southbank

If you’re wondering where all the love has gone – the Southbank has nabbed it all. For the next two months Jude Kelly will be releasing little bubbles of affection, consideration, ardour, thought and eroticism to seduce the general British public into getting closer. 

The opening weekend includes steamy poetry, sex ed for teens and an exploration of just why Beliebers fall so hard. Following weekends are handily separated into Ancient Greek categories of love: we’ve got family love or Storge, long-term affection or Pragma, self-love or Philautia, flirting and romance or Eros and Ludus, and love for co-workers or Philia. That loved up feeling could be so strong don’t be surprised to find yourself sharing vows at the Big Wedding Weekend finale.

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La Freak Through the Looking Glass

Smut. Great word. Deserves to be pulled out of the ‘dirty’ bin and hugged. Hugged with arms and legs. La Freak has launched a Smut Cinema in a secret room on Hackney Road, taking erotica from under the counter to behind a cocktail club.

Amongst the bare (ahem) lightbulbs and exposed (oo-er) brickwork, the programme includes a series of saucy celluloid, including the award-winning hand-drawn animations from Naked Love Film and films from Erika Lust, who launched her own erotica production company after being disappointed by the abundance of porn cliches and desperate to watch women who appear to be actually enjoying themselves. BANG.

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Size Zero Opera

Forget festooned aristocracy shaking their pearls and mini binoculars, instead think Cathy ‘The Bitch’ Brown and Laura ‘The Baton’ Bowler.

Two new operas will explore the battle for equality in the boxing ring and the orchestra pit as part of the Tête a Tête opera festival. This innovation isn’t anything new, the genre has always been contemporary but somehow opera has become saddled with a dusty stereotype. Mezzo-soprano Bowler will star in both operas; she has admitted to slipping into a bit of Donizetti during strenuous training sessions with choreographer and ex-World Champion Boxer Brown as they prepare to knock fossilized perceptions of both opera and female ambition out for the count. Music that (ahem) packs a punch.

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Talking Statues

Imagine a meta dream world where The Wire’s Detective Jimmy McNulty, King Lear or Downton Abbey’s Lord Grantham call you up for a chat or a bedtime story.

A place where Captain Jean-Luc Picard rings up from the Starship Enterprise pretending to be the Patrick Stewart playing The Unknown Soldier statue at Paddington Station.Sing London has magically given voices to London’s iconic statues and with a swish and a tap of your phone these celeb slabs of bronze and marble – including Queen Victoria, the Spitalfields Goat, Archway’s cat and the seated couple in Canary Wharf – come to life and deliver you a monologue.

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New Fair Pay Theatre Opens

Islington is to lead the country in “fair-pay” theatres with the opening of COG ARTspace. 

Following hot on the heels of the Hope Theatre, in Upper Street, the new space above The De Beauvoir Arms, in Southgate Road, is dedicated to paying actors and crew at least the minimum wage. 

Artistic director Jonny Collis, 27, is passionate about respecting the time and talent of performers. “Minimum wage is nothing for a performance,” he said. “It’s surprising how many people don’t do it. My experience as an actor totally shaped this choice.”

It has been claimed that paying the minimum wage would destroy many fringe venues but the success of the Hope Theatre has proved the opposite.

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True False Fiction at Furtherfield

THE strain of sibling relationships has spurred and sparked creativity in music – think Oasis, the Everly Brothers, The Kinks, Dire Straits, UB40 and Spandau Ballet. But one of seven sisters, artist Charlotte Jonerheim, has drawn on the relationships between her siblings in her latest work True False Fiction on show in the new Furtherfield Commons space within Finsbury Park.

The piece is made up of seven sculptures that all relate to the various traits of the sisters. 

Charlotte often works with found and everyday materials but it would be a mistake to assume that her choices are accidental or serendipitous. Her considered approach to materials is a precise sifting and choosing. 

“I am interested in lots of materials and I wanted to use rigid materials but get an anthropomorphic quality,” she said. “This combination of materials, soft and hard, is where a lot of things come to life. You want an emotional quality.” 

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Lothar Gotz at the Contemporary Art Society

IT will be hard to miss London-based artist Lothar Götz in the capital this summer with his colour-drenched work on show at four separate venues.

Known for large wall paintings that disrupt the architecture, his pieces force the viewer to question how they behave and experience time within the room or space following such a dynamic intervention. 

A different side to the artist can be viewed at a solo show of his draw­ings on paper at the Contemporary Art Society, Finsbury. Those questions of site specificity and place making may not seem appropriate but it is easy to see the links between his room-sized spatial installations and the careful lines of intense colour that form this series.

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