After a fabulous festive season, Pleasance are ready to present us with the weird and wonderful this Spring. The new season includes the highly awaited next show from multi award-winning Wildcard Theatre (Electrolyte), an autobiographical show from award-winning HIV+ theatre-maker Nathaniel Hall (It’s a Sin) and a collaboration with innovative physical theatre company Project Lockout (Charlie Hartill 2020 Shortlist Company) and Fringe First Winner Marika McKennell (E8; The North Wall). With gig theatre, spooky nights, cabaret surprises, an energetic hip hop musical, an LGBTQ+ History Month season and Shakespeare as you’ve never seen it before, Spring at the Pleasance is full of the incredible programming that we’ve come to know the venue for.
Anthony Alderson, director of Pleasance Theatre Trust, commented: “Our Spring season is an eclectic mix of truly incredible performance from brand new companies just emerging on the scene to award winning returners who are part of the Pleasance family. We can’t wait to welcome back Wildcard after their amazing Electrolyte in Edinburgh or to see companies like HighRise Theatre bring back shows after triumphant sell out runs. Our LGBTQ+ History Month shows present work from exciting drag artists to heartfelt autobiographical shows. I can’t wait to sit back in our auditorium and watch them all.”
Multi award-winning Wildcard Theatre apply their gig-theatre style to bring the adrenaline-infused Tempest (11th March – 3rd April). This is Shakespeare as you’ve never seen it before. A cast of nine actor-musicians bring newly composed songs, live music and a richly detailed sonic world that immerses the audience in a rich audio experience. This timeless classic reimagines Shakespeare’s final play on a Mediterranean island, as Prospero waits in isolation for twelve years, battling his desire for revenge.
Also bringing music to our stage will be Concrete Jungle Book (25th May – 11th June), returning after a smash hit run in 2021. This explosive and energetic hip-hop musical catapults Rudyard Kipling’s classic story into inner-city Britain with live rap music, grime, reggae, spoken word and big personality. As the jungle’s trees become tower blocks, Mo(wgli) navigates her way through relationships, unstable housing conditions and hostile creatures, trying to find the parental figures she has always longed for.
Well known from Edinburgh, Fringe First Winner Marika McKennell (E8; The North Wall; The Pleasance) will collaborate with innovative physical theatre company Project Lockout (Charlie Hartill 2020 Shortlist Company) to bring Caligari (5th – 22nd March). This gripping retelling of the hugely influential German Expressionist classic silent film combines mine, poetry, lipsync and a dark and twisted visual style. Calgari promises to be a vibrant and relevant new interpretation for our mad times.
Award-winning HIV+ theatre-maker Nathaniel Hall (It’s a Sin) and Dibby Theatre present their critically acclaimed hilarious and heart-breaking hit autobiographical show, First Time (9th – 13th February), about growing up positive in a negative world. Can you remember your first time? Nathaniel can’t seem to forget his. Join him as he blows the lid on the secret he’s been keeping all these years.
Exciting new company Dead Good Theatre bring Leaving (13th – 24th April) to Pleasance – a striking play that follows people dealing with the impact of having to leave something or someone. Amongst 23 short scenes and monologues, we meet an astronaut about to embark on their first mission, an abused spouse who finally decides to leave their relationship, an immigrant forced to part ways with their partner, a group of factory workers planning a walk out and a suicidal celebrity contemplating the hereafter.
Also returning after sell-out performances at the 2021 London Horror Festival, SUCKER 4 U (16th – 17th February) transfers to the Pleasance’s Main House for two spooky and sticky performances! Part of Pleasance’s LGBTQ+ History Month Season, this is the very dark, very rude queer comedy about doomed interdimensional romance between man and giantmonster-squid-from-beyond-the-stars that you’ve been waiting for.
Don’t miss some of the great one nighters with Peach Chutney (18th February) where The Bitten Peach return to the Pleasance with a night of delights and surprises. The following night, Pleasance favourite Mahatma Khandi (How To Catch A Krampus, Escape From Planet Trash, and DOG SHOW) is back but this time with The Khandi Shop (19th February) as part of Pleasance’s LGBTQ+ History Month Season. For one night only, live artist performer drag person Midgitte Bardot joins The Nightbus, to bring Sh*t in my neck & Other Stories: The Nightbus & Midgitte Bardot (25th February), a hastily manufactured strait jacket of acerbic wit, forgotten fetishes and tales from London nightlife. And, get ready for an evening of midnight-movie gore and bombastic bad taste in the killer new show, Final Baby Girl! (26th February), from drag monstrosity Baby Lame featuring trash-tastic songs, interactive comedy, gutchurning film clips and furious balls-out performance – also part of Pleasance’s LGBTQ+ History Month Season.
Downstairs, you can catch more vibrant portraits of our society, where farcical comedy explores sexuality, community and shifting identities. Dirty Corset (5th – 24th April) is Restoration Theatre re-imagined. Set in the dying embers of the 17th Century North of England, a company of flea-bitten actors fail to live up to their on-stage personas. Pink Sky, a new collective of LGBTQIA+ artists taking an interdisciplinary approach to queer theatre, will bring their debut show Rapture (3rd – 22nd May). Clued-up, kinky and queer as f*ck, Rapture sees Rosy, Tommy and Kit navigate fracturing safe spaces and shifting identities. Meanwhile, the satirical and sparkling SHUGA FIXX vs The Illuminati (31st May – 19th June) follows three ordinary galz with extraordinary dreamz, rhinestoned lizards and original pop hitz. This sugar-coated black comedy tackles the dark absurdity of conspiracy theories, our treatment of celebrities and the rise of fear culture. These outrageously silly, high-camp productions will bring antidotes for these strange times to Pleasance Downstairs.
To book tickets visit https://www.pleasance.co.uk
Photo credit: The Other Richard