Culture Trip: Live Theatre is Back Baby!

Sorry I didn’t sit my exam, I was at the ADC

Cambridge students this past year have proven that theatre and culture is not something that can be taken away without a fight. Now that the government has opened the theatre doors, it’s full steam ahead with many productions to look forward to before the end of term. And if that’s not your scene (but let’s face it, why wouldn’t it be?), fear not – there are plenty of other entertainment recommendations heading your way.


Image (left to right): Kasia Fallan, James Bruce, and Sebastian Carandini

After two lockdowns, two cancellations, and a whole bunch of frustration, the fresher’s play “No Quarter” will finally be the first Mainshow to grace the ADC stage post-lockdown, from 25 to 29 May. “No Quarter” follows the story of Robin whose music and remote family home provide him with solace from a world he has rejected, until that too begins to crumble around him.

The ADC Lateshow straight after is none other than Alan Bennett’s beloved “Talking Heads”, a series of monologues originally written in the 1980s and recently remade for the BBC. Directed by Rae Morris, four of these monologues will be performed over two nights (26 and 27 May) and promise to be both touching and charming, with moments of hilarity interwoven throughout.

But is it just the ADC theatre opening up, I hear you ask? Why no! Corpus Playroom is also having a grand reopening with “Goblin Market”. Originally a poem by Christina Rossetti, “Goblin Market” centres on two sisters’ struggle against oppression in nineteenth-century England and will be performed on 25 and 26 May.


Image: Amy Mallows via YouTube

I hope you’re ready to put that revision on hold for objectively the best night of the year – Saturday night is the final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2021!

Taking place in Rotterdam this year, Eurovision will go ahead in a socially-distanced manner while still managing to keep 3,500 of its flag-waving, camera-hogging fans in the audience. Each of the 39 acts is being tested for COVID every 48 hours, including James Newman, the UK’s entry, who will be singing his own song “Embers”. Icelandic sensation Daði Freyr will also finally be making his Eurovision debut, after his song “Think about Things” went viral on TikTok last year.


Image: Eli Mehdi

The Fitzwilliam Museum reopened on 18 May with two brand spanking new exhibitions: The Human Touch and Scent from Nature. The Human Touch explores the fundamental role of touch in the human condition, drawing on works of art spanning thousands of years and dozens of countries. Scent from Nature, on the other hand, features watercolours and perfume vessels, exploring how plants have been used in the beauty industry since ancient times.

And if that’s not enough to fulfil your arty needs, this year’s Kate Pretty lecture, entitled “Why does a University need an art collection?” is on 20 May at 6pm. It will be held online and led by Luke Syson, the director of the Fitzwilliam Museum.


Image: Amy Mallows via YouTube

With cinemas having reopened on 17 May, there are plenty of films to keep you entertained across many genres – from “Peter Rabbit 2” to “Spiral” (another chapter in the Saw film franchise). However, if you can’t quite face the real world (or James Corden voicing a cartoon rabbit) just yet, then this week’s movie pick goes to Yorgos Lanthimos’ “The Lobster” (2015).

A surreal and downright bizarre dystopian black comedy, The Lobster follows the story of David, a man who has been given 45 days to find an ideal romantic partner or else will be turned into an animal. (Told you it was weird.) Without wanting to spoil too much, this scenario doesn’t play out all too smoothly for David, or indeed anyone else in the film…

The success of Lanthimos’ 2019 film, “The Favourite”, tends to leave the “The Lobster” in the shadows, but it is equally amusing and unpredictable, if not a bit more unsettling and bitter. Not quite a “quiet night in” type of film, but very watchable all the same!


Image: Amy Mallows via YouTube

Following on from the absurdity of “The Lobster”, this week’s book recommendation is something a little more easy-going: Matt Haig’s “The Humans” (2013).

Set here in Cambridge, “The Humans” is the story of an alien who is sent to earth to destroy a Cambridge professor who has made a large mathematical breakthrough that has the potential to unlock the secrets of the universe – something which these aliens cannot allow happen to a species as backward and destructive as humans.

The alien finds itself in the body of the professor and is at first perplexed and downright disgusted by the habits of humans, but begins to grow increasingly fond of its earth family – which is a shame, considering it has been sent to kill them too.

“The Humans” is an easy read, but at the same time is hilarious, charming and at points quite touching. It is the perfect book if you want a break from your revision, but still want to remain in the Cambridge bubble!

The reopening of the entertainment industry is a much-needed, exciting occasion and we encourage you to take full advantage of it – we know we will!

Cover image: Amy Mallows

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