This fortnight, the best things to see are overwhelmingly outside the biggest venues. Sleepwalk Collective are back at Battersea Arts Centre with Domestica: don’t miss your second chance to see this haunting, doomy, intense piece that (among other things) interrogates the gendered devices the art world uses to create ideas of value. If you can, squeeze your way into Effigies of Wickedness at the tiny Gate Theatre – here’s Maddy Costa’s response, which explores its relationship with queer Weimar history, racism, and ideas of history repeating itself. Venture to The Yard, in Hackney Wick, which has become an alt-theatre powerhouse where every performance is worth seeing: but the prospect of Rashdash taking on Chekhov’s Three Sisters is especially enticing. It’s your final week to catch Grotty at The Bunker, a show that’s a masterclass in writing complicated, unlikable female characters, following a vividly realistic bunch of Dalston lesbian scene stalwarts. And Hamnet is coming to Southbank Centre – created by Dead Centre, makers of Lippy, it’s a story of the son Shakespeare left behind that’s performed by an 11-year-old boy.
Scottee’s Fat Blokes is on at Home Manchester this week and it feels so needed – at a time when gay theatre’s all about slim, buff, masc-presenting men (even in otherwise-nuanced works like The Inheritance), Scottee is a queer artist who’s boldly staring down body facism with a dance piece that explores why fat blokes’ bodies aren’t celebrated.
Norfolk and Norwich
For a few more precious weeks, Norfolk and Norwich Festival is filling tents, beaches and arts centres with a pretty spectacular array of shows: a particular highlight is new co-commission The Paper Man from Improbable. It feels like a football-facing version of Ella Hickson’s The Writer at the Almeida – its female cast surge and rebel against the idea that they should make a show about a sport that systematically excludes them, in a devised, playful, furious exploration of power and what shapes our passions. See the full festival line-up here.
Can we just take a moment to appreciate the beady-eyed literalism of Watch Out Festival‘s cover art? Okay, good. And it’s definitely worth a trip to gaze at the fest from closer quarters this weekend. It includes Rachael Young’s Nightclubbing (Freddie Machin’s review for Exeunt here) – an interweaving of Afrofuturism and analysis of the racism which still excludes black women from nightlife. There’s also work from Made in China, Figs in Wigs, and a return to the UK for the excellent Mouthpiece – Exeunt’s review is here.
Summerhall announced its line-up for the 2018 fest last week and it’s a doozy. But with a few months between us and the Edinburgh fringe juggernaut, there’s the enticing prospect of Leith’s Hidden Door Festival. It takes over the old Leith Theatre, an abandoned, beautiful venue that’s been spruced and scrubbed up ready to welcome audiences to an eclectic collection of gigs, art and performance. Visit http://hiddendoorblog.org/ for the full line-up.
Exeunt Recommends is an occasional series highlighting the shows and festivals our writers are excited about. For more tips, browse through our recent reviews.