London Theatre: Euripides Receives A Mash-Up

Keith McDonnell
Authored by
Keith McDonnell

September 5, 2013
6:29 a.m.

With summer coming to an end, well officially at least, thoughts inevitably turn to the autumn; log fires, toffee apples, walking Labradors in the park, falling leaves – well you get the picture. Yet the sunshine continues unabated in the capital, as with the changing of the seasons, theatre-land gears itself up to what promises to be a scintillating autumn.

Although more used to the eloquent utterances of Shakespeare reverberating around its hallowed portals, The Globe Theatre (pictured above) on the South Bank is getting ready for a potty-mouthed extravaganza when The Lightning Child opens on 14 September.

This new musical by Che Walker and Arthur Darvill (of Dr Who fame) promises a brand new, contemporary take on one of the ancient Greek classics – Euripides’ ‘The Bacchae.’

This will mark the first time The Globe has explored the musical genre. It would be hard to imagine what ‘Othello – the musical’ might be like but you can bet your bottom dollar that it wouldn’t be the kind of musical remix that promises ‘history, sex, funk, gender schism, politics, repression, addiction, envy and more sex,’ as ‘The Lightning Child’ does.

This modern-day reworking combines cross-dressing, drug abuse, internet porn and classical myth. The warning on the packet, as it were, states: ‘Production contains filthy language and strong content.’ We’re fucking loving it already, and with such a heady combination of all of the above, the gays will be flocking in their droves to see it.

Staying south of the river, but promising to be far less ‘in-yer-face,’ The Menier Chocolate Factory revives Leonard Bernstein’s epic musical theatre piece, ‘Candide,’  that stubbornly refuses to be pigeonholed. It’s part opera, part musical, part play, and it’s undergone countless revisions since its composition in the ‘50s.

But Bernstein certainly knew how to pen a tune or two – ‘West Side Story’ overflows with them, so this looks set to the one of the undisputed highlights of the autumn, and indeed Christmas, as it runs from November 22 until February 2014.

gay bingo

Although not strictly ‘theatre,’ few events in London are more ‘theatrical’ than Gay Bingo, which is about to celebrate its 10th birthday with an extravaganza at The Hackney Empire on 25 October. Jonny Woo, Ma Butcher and John Sizzle unleash their beast of a night in grand surroundings, as befits such an historic occasion. I think the safest thing to say is ‘expect the unexpected’.

If you can’t wait til then, they’re back at Soho Theatre on Sunday 15 September with a ‘Stand up for Your Love Rights’ special. In fact the Soho Theatre has quite a line up this month, including the razor-sharp ‘Bourgeois and Maurice’ who will be presenting their new cabaret show, ‘Sugartits’ from Monday 9th.



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