We all know the big un’s to watch out for in the first few months of 2010; Red, currently running at the Donmar Warehouse, the West End transfers of Enron and Jerusalem, Peter Brook at The Barbican which also houses the eclectic Bite Season for 2010 and work by the legendary Pina Bausch, Trilogy at The BAC and of course the London International Mime Festival.
But what about the smaller venues – not just the BAC’s or The Riverside Studios’ who consistently punch above their weight, but the truly off-piste theatres – The Blue Elephant Theatre, The Royal Vauxhall Tavern and The Cock Tavern to name but a few. Unlike the big theatres these small houses can only programme up to 3-6 months so no need to book miles in advance – these are things you can see in the very near future so check your pre-planned nature at the door and get a little trigger happy.
Indeed it’s all so spontaneous that The Blue Elephant Theatre still have to reveal their 2010 Spring/Summer season – but keep a sharp eye on this fantastic venue which always produces adventurous and innovative work; a space that is finally starting to be getting the recognition it deserves.
Another venue with a strong dance connection is the Tristan Bates Theatre, spikely named ‘the thorn in the side of the West End’. Whilst it is mainly a receiving house it is the Tristan Bates’ own initiatives that really prompt interest. Laura Kriefman’s inspired Ignition Season last September both revealed blistering new talent such as Gareth Farr and Jon Cooper, whilst providing a platform for new work from established writers like Che Walker and Jack Thorne. Watch out for the 2010 season of this fantastic project this Autumn. A little closer to right now however, their punkish Midnight Matinees, currently on tour in Shoreditch, are throwing up a cavalcade of fresh talent and the punchy Manor by Martin Murphy is appearing in March after a successful run at The Soho Theatre.
One venue with a stronghold of home grown work is The Cock Tavern in Kilburn, whose in-house company Good Night Out Presents impressed last year with a solid production of Peter Gill’s The York Realist. Along with an external production of La Boheme, Artistic Director Adam Spreadbury-Maher is definitely one to watch on the fringe scene with an eclectic season planned for this year with both shows by Good Night Out Presents interspersed with some interesting new writing and foreign interpretations of the classics.
There’s also the comedy centric Canal Café Theatre in Little Venice (which is a lot easier to get to than it may first appear) whose News Revue brings a bit of Berlin satirical magic to the London scene and is always guaranteed for a knowing giggle. It’s 30 years old this year so it must be doing something right. The Canal Café also seems to be the jumping off point for the visceral Bruised Sky Productions, whose current production of LADS written and directed by James Kermack and Manor by the aforementioned Murphy, gutturally are making such an impact both this year and last.
Meanwhile over at that hot house of fabulousness The Royal Vauxhall Tavern is raring up it’s foxy Hot August Fringe 2010; whilst London is abandoned for Edinburgh this is always a fruity programme to check out. And for the cold winter months the incredible David Hoyle is lighting up our January darkness with his ‘experimental multi-media performance show’ Licking Wounds on every Thursday until 4th February. He’s quite exceptional, if a little disturbing.
Finally The Finborough Theatre with its powerful repertoire of world premiers and new work is always worth a look. Leo Butler’s The Early Bird, showing from 2nd February, should be particularly interesting.
Please let me know where you’ll be foraging in the undergrowth of London’s theatre scene in 2010. Looks like it’s going to be a stonking one in the London Provinces.