Features Published 4 October 2019

Exeunt recommends: October 2019

A guide to October's chaotic flurry of performance, dance, and theatre.
Alice Saville

The Gloop Show by Oozing Gloop, part of Fierce Festival 2019.

Autumn mists….yadayadayada…back to school…blahblahlah…new generation of theatremakers…etc etc etc. Okay that’s enough on the introductory remarks front. You know the drill. Here’s a big rundown of what to see this October, which is as ever, one of the busiest months of the theatre calendar, the kind of month that last year prompted me to write THIS in despair.

Oh yes, Fierce Festival is on its way (15th-20th October) with an extremely handsome website showcasing a line-up of live art from all over. Look out for The Gloop Show by “psycho-magical” drag queen Oozing Gloop, Tania El Khoury’s performance-lecture The Search For Power, Lucy McCormick’s immersive pop concert Life: Live!, and tele-marathon BINGE by Brian Lobel.

‘Art Heist’ at Underbelly. Photo: Shankho Chaudhuri

If you didn’t go to the Edinburgh fringe (well done!) then some of the best bits of it are in town this month for your delectation. Sh!t Theatre Drink Rum With Expats is playing Soho Theatre; Ava Wong Davies’s Exeunt review writes that “The laughter bleeds into the awfulness, like when you stay out all night and then feel your hangover starting to creep in behind the eyes.” ONE is on at BAC; James Varney’s response calls it “a charade of hurting each other’s feelings”. And Poltergeist’s playful Art Heist is coming to New Diorama; Alice Saville’s review says it’s a “piece that destabilises ideas of the value of art, by showing that value isn’t intrinsic”.

Ovalhouse is marking its imminent move to Brixton by self-destructing; Emma Frankland’s collaborative project We Dig will carve out a giant hole to explore trans femininity. Gate Theatre is kicking off its Europe-focused new season (illustrated online with incredible photo-collages) with Mephisto, a brilliant-looking narrative of extremism. And Clare Barron’s new play Dirty Crusty follows a woman who seems like she doesn’t wash her legs; it’s a story of the doomed struggle for self-improvement, from the author of Dance Nation (read more in this Exeunt interview).

It’s also the month of Dance Umbrella, which brings international choreographers to spaces across London, and culminates in a two-day takeover of Croydon’s newly reopened Fairfield Halls.

Ron Athey performs ‘Acephalous Monster’

The planets have aligned, and Glasgow is also holding its biennal international dance fest DIG this October, featuring work by Trajal Harrell, Ultimate Dancer, Farah Saleh and many more. And legendary body artist Ron Athey is calling in at CCA with Acephalous Monster, thanks to Buzzcut.

‘It’s True, It’s True, It’s True’ by Breach Theatre

Sarah Frankcom is marking her departure as Royal Exchange artistic director with Light Falls; the first new play by Simon Stephens in a good while, with songs by Jarvis Cocker. Meanwhile, HOME Mancester is offering the chance to catch more excellent shows that started life at Edinburgh fringe; including Breach Theatre’s It’s True, It’s True, It’s True, Scottee’s Class, and Javaad Alipoor’s Rich Kids.

‘Physics and Phantasma’. Photo: Renee Altrov

Okay, not in the UK, but Dublin International Theatre Festival is well worth a visit; highlights include Faultlines by ANU, which recreates the sweaty underground world of a lost gay club, Marina Carr’s Hecuba, and Iggy Lond Malmborg’s Physics and Phantasma, which fills a bare stage with surprising stage magic.

Exeunt Recommends is a regular 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.


Alice Saville

Alice is editor of Exeunt, as well as working as a freelance arts journalist for publications including Time Out, Fest and Auditorium magazine. Follow her on Twitter @Raddington_B



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