Season #12 The Other

Wed 8 October 2014

A Christmas from the outsider…

With Ontroerent Goed, Newcastle Live, nabokov, Sam Simmons, Adam Riches, Funz and Gamez, Luisa Omielan, Tony Law, Shappi Khorsandi … and in 2015, Kim Noble

Soho Theatre is back from its award winning summer of festivals. They have been around the UK at music festivals and had no less than 11 of our own shows in Edinburgh – winning six major awards (including a Fringe First, Herald Angel and Total Theatre Award).
They return with a Christmas season like no other. All London premieres of the best shows – controversial, hilarious, absurd – either made by or with the company, or found from around the world (including the ones you missed out on during Edinburgh Festival Fringe). There will be sleigh bells, tinsel and elves – just not in the manner you may expect.

On the Christmas season Steve Marmion, Artistic Director of Soho Theatre, says:

“Soho Theatre new season comes joyfully from the outsiders. Gameshow freaks to women in men’s worlds, lonely London lovesongs to the North East’s forgotten, we are offering a view from the other. Funny, entertaining and thought provoking, there is something for everyone in our six show an evening programme.

And when it comes to a Christmas offering, this year we have a rousing feminist chorus, a melancholic Christmas lament or two and a kid’s show that is not totally suitable for kids…with a Happy New Year from Kim Noble – what more could you want?”

Building on the incredible insight from associates Live Theatre (Newcastle), nabokov and FoolsCap, Soho Theatre presents three startlingly original and compelling pieces of theatre. Later this month Soho Theatre reunites with Live Theatre, to present the London premiere of the award-winning Wet House (22 Oct – 16 Nov). The first full length play from Paddy Campbell, and voted one of the top 10 plays of 2013 by The Guardian, Wet House received three awards at the 2013 Journal Culture Awards – Performance of the Year, Writer of the Year, and Performer of the Year
(Joe Caffrey). Directed by Max Roberts the play is set in a wet house, a hostel for homeless people where residents can drink alcohol. Andy, an idealistic young graduate has just become the latest member of staff to be recruited at Crabtree House in this comedy tinged with sadness and tragedy which asks how do you keep your head when everyone else is off theirs?

Soho Theatre provides a warm homecoming for Symphony (8 Nov – 7 Dec) in association with nabokov, and Spine (21 Oct – 2 Nov) in association with Foolscap. Written by three of the UK’s hottest young writers – Ella Hickson, Nick Payne and Tom Wells – Symphony, is an award-winning and uplifting show that combines live music and eclectic spoken word storytelling with a whole lot of London love, while Spine – one of the biggest hits of this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe – written by Clara Brennan, returns to Soho Theatre’s Upstairs space. The Fringe First, Herald Angel and Stage Award winning call to arms tells the story of a ferocious teenager saved from the Tory scrapheap by an elderly widow (both roles performed by the exceptional Rosie Wyatt) determined to leave a political legacy.

Then, as you know, Soho Theatre likes to give you something different at Christmas (previous Christmases have seen a new musical version of Anthony Neilson’s The Night Before Christmas, an all male version of A Clockwork Orange and the controversial show Audience), and this winter Ontroerend Goed returns for the first time in three years (Audience, 2011), with their critically acclaimed Edinburgh smash-hit Sirens (2 Dec – 4 Jan). From the alluring sirens of mythology to the ear-splitting siren of a rape alarm, Sirens is brutally honest, funny, heartbreaking, truthful, provocative, confronting, empowering. A symphonic chorus of six voices rising up against misogyny, sexual violence, everyday sexism and what it’s really like to be a woman in the 21st century. The production is by Ontroerend Goed, Richard Jordan Productions, Theatre Royal Plymouth & Vooruit in association with Soho Theatre, Summerhall and Big in Belgium.

For something a bit more overtly festive, Soho Theatre Upstairs has acclaimed Welsh theatre company Dirty Protest with Last Christmas (9–21 Dec), Matthew Bulgo’s melancholic monologue. Tom is heading home for Christmas to avoid facing his current problems, only to realise he needs to face older demons from his past.

Taking your kids to see Santa and his elves is a Christmas tradition for many – at Funz and Gamez (13 Dec – 4 Jan) you’ll meet an elf who’s walked all the way from the North Pole – though you can guarantee when Soho Theatre does family shows it is as anarchic and as irreverent as their adult programming. The talk of this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and winner of the Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Awards Panel Prize, features Phil Ellis (a broke and heartbroken stand up who has turned to children’s entertainment to make a quick buck) and his friends Bonzo the Dog and Jim Elf. With arm wrestling, sweet throwing, a water pistol stand-off, marshmallows, songs and life lessons that’ll leave every generation in stitches – but not for the same reasons – Funz and Gamez is one of the most alternative family shows this Christmas.

Australia’s favourite suburban absurdist Sam Simmons sails back to London (17 Nov – 6 Dec) for an early Christmas treat. Sam had an incredible Soho Theatre produced Edinburgh Festival Fringe run culminating in a nomination for Best Show in the Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Awards for Death of a Sails-Man. A muesli-mogul and windsurfing legend is blown out to sea on a wind-sail where he suffers an existential mid-life crisis. Spoiler: he dies, it’s in the title.

After being knocked up like a 1950s teenager Shappi Khorsandi missed 2013, but she’s now back with Because I’m Shappi (17–29 Nov). This new show introduces us to friends, family and total strangers who have helped her on her personal Yellow Brick Road.

Playing the entire festive season is Adam Riches with Adam of the Riches (8 Dec – 3 Jan), a new hour of phenomenal bullshit. In 2014 Adam sold-out at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe with this show and won the Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award in 2011 for his last show Bring Me the Head of Adam Riches. Anarchically high octane, this is definitely one to rally your mates or office troops and come along to see a character comedian do some of his finest, and funniest, work yet.

Meanwhile Nick Helm (8–20 Dec) will kick Christmas in the dick so hard that, who knows, in 2000 years maybe they’ll be remembering him alongside the guy we already remember at Christmas. Merry Christmas MotherF**ckers! features a very classy and well judged mix of festive songs, poems, gags, guests, guts and gifts virtually guaranteed to put you in the festive spirit.

Also returning after a sell-out run earlier this year is Richard Gadd (Cheese and Crack Whores), who has been rendered without memory of the first twenty-one years of his life in Breaking Gadd (3–20 Dec). His doctor prescribes him a course of hypnotherapy in the hope of unlocking his past, but as his memory is pieced back together, he is left to face the harsh reality that his life is probably not worth remembering in the first place.

If that isn’t enough there’s a peppering of comedy shows that really are the icing on the Christmas cake. In Sara Pascoe vs History (22–26 Nov), Sara shares her romantic history, existential theory and cultural insights in this 2014 Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award nominated show. Romesh Ranganathan (2–6 Dec) is doing his best to improve himself through reading self-help books, watching documentaries and delivering witty repartee at parties but Rom Wasn’t Built in a Day. Alfie Brown talks about divorce (his), Bipolar Disorder (his) and reality (?) in Divorced from Reality (and my wife) (2–6 Dec). Acclaimed sketch comedy group Birthday Girls gets you in the celebratory mood with Party Vibes (9–13 Dec). Finally creating controversy wherever he goes and making his UK debut is Australian Joel Creasey (15–20 Dec). He is a Rock God with intelligent observations, acerbic style, pop-culture expertise and unrivalled storytelling abilities. Finally, beckoning in the New Year is Tony Law, inviting you to Enter the Tone Zone (29 Dec – 17 Jan), a life-affirming, life-changing stand-up art show from the multi award-winning nonsense-maker. The show features magical shapes, an original song, some truly heartbreaking nonsense and will briefly tackle world issues through the medium of dance. In the end realising it’s a bit about the fear of death.

To start to welcome the spring, and conclude the season of the “Other”, we are very proud to bring you the London premiere of the critically acclaimed, and 2014 Total Theatre Judges Award winner, Kim Noble: You’re Not Alone (3 Feb – 7 Mar), following its short Soho Theatre produced run at The Traverse in the final week of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Described as provocative, beautiful, devastating, funny, profound, essential and ‘the very definition of a must see’, this deeply personal show will stay with you long after you leave the theatre. It is not for everyone, but its view of the world, and the changes you can make, will stay with you forever.

Steve Marmion, concludes:
“From a ridiculous existential mid-life crisis to the most urgent political work, Soho Theatre runs the gamut from the serious to the silly, the Christmassy to secular, with a real outsiders view on what the world can be at this time of year. We hope you will join us to laugh, think, and be merry as the trees get naked and we get festive.”

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