Theatre Guide Dog: Week 4

THE THEATRE GUIDE DOG mourns the loss of Theatrical salvation for Cambridge, while giving you a rundown to what’s worth going to this week.

an enemy of the people Catastrophes chatshow Comedy cruel and tender Ibsen ice queen jaws jimmy saville King's martin crimp Musical quake Sophocles sweeney todd theatre guide dog tragedy

It’s been a sad few days for the Theatre Guide Dog. On Saturday afternoon, I was waiting, cigar in hand, shell-suit unzipped to a modest-but-flattering depth, for my hero to arrive at Cambridge station. As the excitement welled up within me, it was all that I could do to keep my tongue firmly clamped within my jaws. I need not speak of the friction burns that were caused by my acrylic tracksuit as my tail wagged unstoppably over the concourse.

Jim was finally coming to fix Cambridge Theatre – or rather to mould it to a design of my own making. The new Corpus vending machine would be stocked only with Pedigree Chum! The urinals in every venue would be replaced with chilled grey lamp posts! The Footlights would be contractually obliged to go on walkies! As the platform filled with anachronistic smoke, I thought back to my puppyhood, to the countless pleas I’d sent to Jim, and closed my eyes in expectation. When, seconds later,  I opened them again it was to be greeted by the tearful face of Jimmy Tarbuck. “W-T-F?!” I yapped “I wanted Saville!”. “I’m sorry Guide Dog,” he replied, “it was just too late.” That, readers, is tragedy.

Quake – 1st – 5th November

Remember Catastrophes? If you do, then you’ll also remember that the work-in-progress reading from this play was easily the best part of the night. If you don’t, well, it just was and now it’s been finished and been given a budget and a full cast and it’s on THIS WEEK. Siân Docksey’s script deals with the impact of the bombing of the King David Hotel on her grandmother, in a way that – at the last that I saw of it, at least – made for a funny, touching and impressive piece of new writing. Just go.

Corpus Playroom, 7pm, £5-6

Sweeney Todd – 1st – 5th November

As any lover of pies will tell you, the various qualities of the ingredients don’t really matter, as long as the whole thing’s structurally sound and tastes like a pie. This statement can be tenuously stretched into a metaphor for musical theatre, which means that a musical about the production of pies has either got its priorities straight enough to leave you glowing like baked pastry, or is a food hygeine risk that makes you vomit up something or other’s kidney. All the famous Sondheim jingles should feature, fans.

Fitzpatrick Theatre (Queens’ College), 7.45pm, £5-6

Kings – 1st – 5th November

Kings is, so far, winning the Guide Dog award for Best Poster this term – a statement which only really highlights how terrible some of the other ones have been.  But well done all the same, Kings publicity people. The mention of “two ridiculous men with enormous egos” on a chatshow gets my brother Pavlov salivating for cultural references, though there’s not much room for Aaron-Sorkin style walk-n-talk in the playroom.

Corpus Playroom, 9pm, £5-6

An Enemy of the People – 1st – 5th November

It’s a little known fact that the screenplay for Jaws was actually written by Henrik Ibsen. The “Father of modern Drama”  developed the work as a dramatic forerunner to the televised Public Service Announcement and, as a result, was happily able to warn MILLIONS of feckless Norwegians against going into the water. For this week’s ADC manishow, director George Johnston controversially stages the censored text of the original 1880s production, which – due to nineteenth-century squeamishness- contains precisely no references to sharks. Issues of epistemology and the nature of democratic self-interest may, however, feature.

ADC, 7.45pm, £6-10

Cruel & Tender – 2nd – 5th November

The Tragedy marathon continues apace with this production of Martin Crimp’s reworked Trachiniae. Of all the opportunities to see Greek drama this term, this show strikes the Guide Dog as having the most potential to move beyond both self-aggrandising dramaturgy and being filler for Part II English revision notes. Having commended Kings for their poster-work, it should be mentioned that this show has a rather natty publicity design too –  let’s hope the style transfers to the lateshow stage.

ADC, 11pm, £4-6

Ice Queen – 2nd – 5th November

Improvised Comedy Ents return to the Fitzpat (they’re also filling the Tuesday night smoker slot at the ADC this week) to try and establish, ONCE AND FOR ALL, that a link does exist between the terms ‘improvised’ and ‘comedy’. If the names of their shows this week are anything to go by (the other one’s called ‘Whose ICE is it anyway?’), there’ll be puns galore.

Fitzpatrick Hall (Queens’), 11pm, £4

Anderman – 1st – 5th November (no performance on 4th)

Just as the Guide Dog’s historical record will be one of unerring thoroughness, this piece of new writing takes a look at the desire to achieve the status of genius – post-mortem. The protagonist is dying but doesn’t want to snuff it before he’s achieved greatness, no matter what the cost to his loved ones. Life, or the approaching lack of it, may get in the way.

Christ’s New Court Theatre, 7:30pm