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The Grinning Man, Louis Maskell as Grinpayne Photo: Simon Annand

This week: 30 April – 6 May

30 April 2018 Suzanne Frost

With two bank holidays coming up, May is officially our favourite month and all those extra hours of free time want to be filled, so keep your eyes peeled for our weekly tips!

The Grinning Man
The Grinning Man (Photo: Helen Maybanks)

This is your last chance to catch The Grinning Man, a new original British musical that has captured the imagination and been extended again and again due to popular demand. This really is goodbye and it would be a shame to miss it. Somewhere between gothic fairytale and medieval fairground freak show, with fantastic puppetry and a good dash of panto silliness thrown in, this show has a real style of its own. Victor Hugo’s story of the tragic Grinpayne, whose face has been deformed as a child to display a permanent grin, has been adapted into an atmospheric romantic musical with a shining central performance from Julian Bleach as the court clown and moody narrator Barkilphedro.
 
The Grinning Man is at Trafalgar Studios until 5 May.
 
 
 
Building the Wall


The Park Theatre has secured itself a hot ticket with the UK premiere of the political thriller Building The Wall from Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning writer Robert Schenkkan. This more than timely play, written in a hot fury during the presidential campaign 2016, imagines the uncomfortably close dystopian future of a 2019 in which Donald Trump made good on his promise to build a "beautiful wall" between Mexico and the United States. The two-actor-play sees a debate between a death row inmate, accused of unspeakable crimes against humanity in the name of politics, and a left wing liberal journalist trying to understand his motivations.
 
Building the Wall will be at Park Theatre 2 May – 2 June.
 
 
 
Soap
SOAP © Lutske Veenstra

Soap has been around the globe delighting audiences everywhere with its bubbly mix of humour, inventiveness and breathtaking skill. Mixing acrobatics, clowning, opera - and rubber ducks - Soap is a circus show with a theme: bathtubs! Every act plays in, on and around the bathroom ritual and if that sounds absurd, just trust us – the creativity of the team is overflowing, resulting in laugh out loud fun and moments of spectacular lyrical beauty.
 
Soap is at Underbelly Festival on the Southbank 3 May – 17 June.
 
 
TENOME - EYES ON HAND
Photo: Jessy Boon Cowler

At a recent visit to The Cockpit, the team there were convinced Tenome by Edifice Dance Theatre was “the best dance piece they had ever seen”. We are intrigued. Combining the flow of contact improvisation with the rhythm, dynamics and attack of Latin and ballroom dancing, Eyes on Hands explores the Japanese urban legend of a mythical blind humanoid creature that sees through the palms of its hands. Four dancers discover a sensual and mysterious exchange of movement heightening their sense of ‘sight’ through touch.
 
Tenome - Eyes On Hand is at The Cockpit on 6 & 9 May.
 
 
Richard Herring at the Southbank Centre


Comedian Richard Herring is playing his biggest gig ever at the newly reopened Queen Elizabeth Hall. Known to comedy fans from his work with Stewart Lee and with decades of shows at the Edinburgh Fringe under his belt, his current tour Oh Frig, I'm 50! is about coming to terms with aging. Richard was an early podcast innovator and his Leicester Square Theatre podcast is regularly in the comedy top 10 - he's just interviewed Brian Blessed to great effect and in the past has spoken to Stephen Fry, Ed Milliband, Simon Pegg and Armando Ianucci​ amongst many others. Inspired by his interviews, Herring just published an Emergency Questions book, a collection of hundreds of unusual opening gambits created to avoid awkward lulls in conversation. To celebrate, everyone who goes to the London show will get a free copy of the book and the performance is being recorded for a DVD, so if you ever fancied being on a live recording and love freebies, this is the gig for you.
 
Richard Herring ‘Oh Frig, I’m 50!’ is at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on 4 May.
 
 
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