If you’re looking to get your theatre and comedy fix in London this summer, the Pleasance may be the place to head. Running alongside their programme in Edinburgh, their summer season in London will feature Fringe favourites and emerging artists. So, what can you see?
Well, you can catch five of the seven recipients of the Pleasance’s National Partnership Awards. Each award is made in partnership with a regional theatre: Bristol Old Vic, Pitlochry Festival Theatre, Leicester Curve, Theatre Royal Plymouth and HOME Manchester.
New stuff to see at the Pleasance London
And kicking off these National Partnership Awards shows will be DESTINY, from 3rd to 7th August. This semi-autobiographical monologue by Florence Espeut Nickless follows a teenage girl growing up on a rural Wiltshire council estate. Her life spirals out of control as she desperately tries to learn how to love and be loved.
Following this is Look No Hands, from 10th to 14th August. This piece is inspired by the writer’s own cycling collision and explores the female cycling experience and Post Traumatic Growth. It Kind of Looks Like A Doughnut will run over the same dates, to tell a story about sexuality and sexual health steeped in the beautiful bluntness of the rural East Midlands.
Next up, from 17th to 21st August, it’s the turn of one of the UK’s soggiest submerging artists Chris White with Moist, Moist, Moist. This spoken word show is part poetry, part stand-up and part gig. The final show from the partnership awards is Prison Game performed by Marcus Hercules, from 7th to 11th September. Developed using real life accounts, it tells the story of how prison can define a man and deals with the effects of institutionalisation on individuals and the people around them.
Fringe favourites for the summer
Meanwhile, the Pleasance Main House will feature a host of shows from fringe favourites, with range of magic, comedy and theatre. Watch two shows in one night with Magicians of the Fringe on 29th and 30th July. Kane & Abel and Tom Brace perform their critically-acclaimed magic shows back-to-back. Fancy a bit of cabaret and comedy? Watch Rhys Slade-Jones’ 2019 hit show The Land of My Fathers and Mothers and Some Other People on 31st July or catch a mixed bill of stand-up, sketch and improv comedy hosted by Stuart Laws on 10th August. Plus, throughout August there will be a bunch of work-in-progress shows from some of the Fringe’s more established comedy acts.
In August, the Main House will also host some eclectic theatre shows. VAULT Festival hit Patricia Gets Ready (for a date with the man that used to hit her) invites the audience to join Patricia as she gets ready for the date with her ex; tells stories of her past, how it has affected her present, and looks honestly at her future.
Ploughing across to Islington will be farmers-turned-entertainers, David and Sam. Their Misadventures of David & Sam is a rambunctious family comedy for all ages. Also for the family, is the Superhero Academy: Environmental Adventure! Be part of the greatest quest to save the world… quite literally!
What else can you see? Well, Edinburgh fringe favourites Murder, She Didn’t Write will bring their classic – and totally improvised – murder mystery to North London. Take up your magnifying glass and don your deerstalker for an evening of murder, mayhem and making it up. Or, catch The Importance of Being… Earnest? A faithful revival of Wilde’s classic is in chaos as the cast start dropping like flies. It’s up to you to tread the boards, step into the spotlight and save the show! And with original songs and an expertly wielded ukulele, Katie Arnstein’s Sticky Door is a storytelling show about sex, stigma and cystitis.
Downstairs at the Pleasance
Opening the programme in Pleasance Downstairs this week, will be Fringe Futures Festival sell-out hit Pauline. It’s a funny heart-warming journey of personal-discovery about the grandmother Sophie never knew. This will be joined by another Fringe Futures Festival favourite, head/lining. It’s a crackling indie-rock gig that tears itself open to confront fragments of society, family and self.
These shows will be followed in August by Eyes. Teeth. Soil. It’s a queasy ride through the mind of a woman consumed by what she cannot escape. Whilst The Nobodies asks what it takes to enact real change and what you would sacrifice to keep it. And in Penny, Adelaide wants to make her mom’s life-story mythic. But when she invokes the help of Penelope, everything soon unravels.
These electric new shows will be joined later in the season by Offies Award-winning Sound Cistem. Under disco lights, over pulsing music, a queer celebration takes place and two transgender performers invite you to their radical dance party. And BLOWHOLE, a hilarious, yet tender portrait of contemporary swipe-right culture. The season ends with a disaster movie about falling in love in Catching Comets. This multi-dimensional genre mash-up which asks how we can be the heroes we grew up with on our screens.
If you can’t make it to London or Edinburgh, then there’s a digital line-up to enjoy over the summer too. The Edinburgh Fringe Digital Showcase includes Jam First’s Hellish, The Sian Clarke Experience, Twisted Tales Goes to The Fringe, and I am (Not) Kanye West. Plus, there’s Coppice Theatre’s Science Adventures – The Power Pickle for younger audiences to enjoy. The showcase is being hosted in partnership with Falmouth University’s Academy of Music & Theatre Arts. Tickets for these online livestreams are available from AMATA’s own hub.
Pleasance’s London programme will operate across both their socially distanced cabaret style Main House and the Downstairs studio, which will operate at a maximum of 80% capacity to provide audiences with additional distancing. This will be complimented by enhanced cleaning, increased ventilation, and additional hand sanitising stations to create as safe a theatre going experience as possible. You can find plenty of useful safety info on their website here.
When: 27th July – 19th September 2021
Where: Pleasance, Carpenters Mews, North Road, London N7 9EF
£: Ticket prices vary, depending on the event
More info: www.pleasance.co.uk