This week, Incoming is finally incoming! It’s a carefully curated mini-festival of work by emerging artists, which is playing both London and Manchester this year. And joyfully, tickets are only £5. The line-up includes a chance to see Lights Over Tesco Carpark, one of the standout shows from this year’s National Student Drama Festival. As well as some Exeunt-reviewed shows including Boys – Henry Gleaden’s response wrote that “I think about how I haven’t really seen a stage quite like this before, full of men like these, just being.” And The Coolidge Effect, an intriguing investigation of the effects of watching pornography – Andrew Edwards’ review called it “rich and varied”. Oh, and Love+, a wonderful exploration of cyborg love by Dublin’s Malaprop Theatre – Chris McCormack’s review here.
If you didn’t see Power Ballad at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe, it’s well worth making for BAC to see it this week: it’s a Kathy Acker-inspired exploration of gendered language from New Zealand, full of furious karaoke and cock-rock-breaking power. And looking to some bigger venues: Broadway hit Fun Home is finally opening at Young Vic Theatre. It’s a musical based on Alison Bechdel’s hugely powerful memoir of coming out as a lesbian and dealing with her father’s death. An Octoroon, transferring to National Theatre from the Orange Tree, is undeniably problematic, but J.N. Benjamin’s review concluded that “I tried really hard to hate it. But I could not – it is a masterpiece.” It’s on until 18th July. And there’s just a week left to see Winsome Pinnock’s Leave Taking: Frey Kwa Hawking’s review called it “sweeping in the breadth of its subjects – family, poverty, inter-generational guilt, the experience of the Caribbean diaspora in this country – and yet she has such a level of detail and care for her characters’ histories that we’re never in any doubt that what we see is the briefest of glimpses, a breath’s worth of their lives.” Perhaps it’s due an NT transfer, too.
Get your Incoming Festival tickets lined up, as shows are landing at Home Manchester from Friday: more info above and here. And/or to go to Maxine Peake’s play Queens of the Coal Age at the Royal Exchange, which sounds astonishing. Set in 1993, it’s the story of four real-life women who protest pit closures by going down into the mine and refusing to come back up. More info here.
It’s got a reputation for Pimms-soaked, recycling-obsessed middle-classness, and yes, that reputation is not unearned. But Latitude’s also got a consistently enticing, challenging theatre line-up, and there’s something about being in a huge sun-baked field, battling sleep deprivation, that makes performances gain a new resonance: new ideas stand out, you get surprising and different audience reactions, and you’ll also be at least five times more likely to cry at any given show. This year’s fest starts on 12th July – it includes a first chance to see Bryony Kimmings’ new show, I’m a Phoenix, Bitch, as well as two shows from Lyric Hammersmith, live art/cabaret mayhem from Duckie, The Museum of Hope from Forest Fringe, and eerie shipping container show Flight. More details here.
Birmingham’s international festival is back next week, mixing an eclectic line-up with a smart (and smartly priced) format: you can see multiple shows each night, with interval dinner in between, and a gig/dance event for afters, at just £24 per night. Taking in work from Greece, Brazil, Bulgaria and more, this is work you won’t see anywhere else in the UK – P-Project by Ivo Dimchev looks unsettling and confrontational, inviting audience members on stage to perform under pressure. Peruse the full programme here.
As part of summer-long festival Great Exhibition of the North, Northern Stage are hosting architecture-inspired series Self-Build Utopias. Each week, a different Northern artist will create a new environment, installation or performance, kicking off with Third Angel’s giant interactive map.
Theatr Clwyd goes from strength to strength, and now it’s landed a co-production with the National Theatre. Opening this week, Home, I’m Darling is a dark comedy about domesticity by Laura Wade – more info here.
Exeunt Recommends is a fortnightly series highlighting the shows and festivals our writers are excited about: we try to make it UK-wide, but the range of areas featured is subject to what’s on. For more tips, browse through our recent reviews.