Lottie Unwin: Drama Queen

Our resident Drama Queen’s guide to what’s on in Week 6.

Ayckbourn Cambridge Arts Theatre Corn Exchange Corpus Playrooms Dave Gorman Jo Caulfield Loving Leticia Medics Revue Merchant of Venice Michael Pinchbeck Mumford My Wonderful Day Patrick Garety Sleeping Beauty Smoker The Bald Primadonna The Junction Wit

This week’s installment of Drama Queen is brought to you from amongst the clean sheets of my double bed in London. Pollution has never smelt so good, a forlorn empty wardrobe been so appealing or my parents' company so engaging.  I bring important news that there is a world beyond the compass points of Girton, the Grafton centre, Homerton and Selwyn.  What is more, when you are outside the bubble looking in, the world of cycle paths, pints and experimental theatre looks dreamy. This morning’s coffee shakes are a distant memory.

Last week’s lowlight was Over the Rainbow with a respectable two stars amongst a wash of four star wonders: Twelfth Night, Three Tales, Cadenza, Macbeth and Alex Horne.  But, low key production Eight stole the limelight as The Tab’s favourite.

This week’s line up is as follows:

My Wonderful Day – 7.45 (2.30 on Thursday and Saturday) – Monday 22nd – Saturday 27th at the Cambridge Arts Theatre.  £10-£20.

‘Winnie… has an essay to write on the subject, ‘My Wonderful Day” ', which throws my sub-clause laden compulsory discussion of Wordsworth this week into a yet more horrific light. Alan Ayckbourn has directed this, his 73rd play, himself and if the reviews are to be believed the show and it’s star Ayesha Antoine who aged 29 plays nine year old Winnie, is something special.

“Wit” – 7.00 – Tuesday 23rd – Saturday 27th at Corpus Playrooms.  £5-6.

‘Vivian Bearing is a professor of 17th-century poetry, specialising in the Holy Sonnets of John Donne’ – this play is her story.  Unfortunately, it’s not the sexually-charged account of her student seducing her, but her heart-wrenching trials with the diagnosis of terminal cancer.  It rings of potential.

Loving Leticia – 7.00 – Tuesday 23rd – Saturday 27th at Pembroke New Cellars.  £4-5.

‘Gasp as Lord Leighton plots, laugh as Mrs Featherstonehaugh fusses and applaud wildly as it all ends happily – one way or another!’ I don’t think I will be up to any wild applauding, but rather cynical and profanity-rich whispering in the ear of the person next to me.  But, the play is new and I don’t think anyone would produce anything that was actually as boring as this looks, which reassures me a great deal.

Merchant of Venice – 7.45 with a 2.30 matinee on Saturday – Tuesday 23rd – Saturday 27th at ADC Theatre.  £6-9.

This apparently ‘imaginative production boldly sets the action of Shakespeare’s most complex comedy in Mussolini’s Italy’ drawing on the ‘anti-Semitism inherent to the plot’.  The success of such a mission depends so much on the director and though I waited for Camdram to load with baited breath, Patrick Garety, with a list of acclaimed credits that rivals this column for length, is a pair of safe hands.

The Bald Primadonna – 9.30 – Tuesday 23rd – Saturday 27th at Corpus Playrooms. £4-6.

‘Mr and Mrs Smith’ are ‘expecting the arrival their dinner guests, the Martins.’ Pause, reader, and consider what kind of play that might be.  Then, I throw in the news that it was ‘originally written in his mother tongue, Romanian, and then translated into French and English’.  Now you don’t know what to expect, do you?

Smoker – 11.00 – Tuesday 23rd at ADC Theatre.  Sold Out.

Do you wish you had tickets? Maybe. Will you get over it? Yes. Will you set a reminder on your phone to buy them next time? Probably not.

Medics Revue: The Exorcist – 11.00 – Wednesday 24th – Saturday 27th at ADC Theatre. £4-6.

I am going to put it out there – I don’t think Scrubs and Green Wing do present the medical profession in an entirely honest light.  In fact, my experiences in the labyrinth of my South London GP surgery have been many things but never comically spectacular.  On the one hand it’s not an Engineers' Review and this is good news, yet why the medics have been chosen I am unsure.

Sleeping Beauty / The Seasons : Variations – 7.30 – Thursday 25th – Friday 26th at The Mumford Theatre.  £4-6.

This ballet sensation is promoted as ‘A fairytale treat for February!’ which I think is a lovely idea.  From this comment alone I have constructed a vast system by which I am going to treat myself in monthly installments under a number of catagories large enough to include ‘fairytale’.  For March I will buy myself a glass slipper.

Jo Caulfield Won’t Shut up – 8.00 – Friday 26th at The Junction. £12-14.

‘The minute Jo Caulfield hits the stage you know you’re in for a good time’ though if she actually does hit the stage I am not sure I will know what to think.  I trust with her list of credits she knows what she is doing.  In line with the debate Chloe Mashiter’s unintentionally inspired over the merit of female comedians, Caulfield’s blurb interestingly defines her as ‘one of the most successful and instantly recognisable female comedians in the country.’  Let's see what she proves.  

Michael Pinchbeck: The Post Show Party Show – 8.00 – Friday 26th at The Junction. £6-8.

For the 55 minutes of this show the following will take place:

‘We are backstage. We are offstage. We are standing in the wings of the story. We are inviting you to help us to remember. We are pretending to be characters in a musical. We are pretending to be ourselves. We are pretending to be each other.’  Of course.

Dave Gorman – Sit Down, Pedal, Pedal, Stop And Stand Up – 8.00 – Saturday 27th February at The Corn Exchange.  £18.50 but advertised to be sold out.

‘In 2009, Dave Gorman is setting off on a unique national tour. The intention: to cycle over 1500 miles across Britain in 33 days…with a gig each night.’  Now a year on he has stopped cycling between venues but is still doing the show.  With a sell out tour and no more muscle burn I can see his reasoning.