[img]http://hits.guardian.co.uk/b/ss/guardiangu-feeds/1/H.20.3/88124?ns=guardian&pageName=What+to+see%3A+Lyn+Gardner%27s+theatre+tips%3AArticle%3A1311122&ch=Stage&c3=GU.co.uk&c4=Theatre%2CStage%2CCulture+section&c6=Lyn+Gardner&c7=09-Nov-27&c8=1311122&c9=Article&c10=Blogpost&c11=Stage&c13=What+to+see+this+week+%28series%29&c25=Theatre+blog&c30=content&h2=GU%2FStage%2FTheatre[/img]Not many Santas in sight – yet – as Mrs Klein and The Pitmen Painters lead a feast of unfestive shows across the country
This is the week in which shows with titles such as Stephen and the Sexy Partridge start to appear alongside Christmas carols too numerous to mention. But in fact, there are a surprising number of alternatives, including a revival of Tom Stoppard's Artist Descending a Staircase at the Old Red Lion, which includes Edward Petherbridge and Max Irons in the cast. We often talk about star names in the West End, but another recent phenomenon is the number of quality actors working on what was once called the fringe. It's great to have actors of the calibre of Petherbridge at the Old Red Lion or Henry Goodman at the Arcola, where he can be found in Timberlake Wertenbaker's The Line.
What else might you try? I like the look of Stan's Cafe's The Just Price of Flowers at the AE Harris Factory in Birmingham from next Thursday. Inspired by tulipmania in 17th-century Holland, as well as Bertolt Brecht, it's billed as an "austerity production", and uses origami props and recycled costumes from other shows. Red Ladder and Chumbawamba are out on tour with a piece called Riot, Rebellion and Bloody Insurrection. Set in 1825, when there was an unpopular war abroad and poverty at home (pretty timely), it's at the Met in Bury and Viaduct Theatre in Halifax this week, and tours through December and January. The Idiot Colony is at The Junction in Cambridge on Monday and at the Victoria Hall in Settle on 2 December. Reckless Sleepers are at the Curve in Leicester with The Pilots today and tomorrow, and with the excellent The Last Supper from next Wednesday.
Lots of activity at Stoke Newington International Airport over the weekend, where Action Hero's brilliant Watch Me Fall is on Friday and Saturday (also at the Green Room in Manchester on 4 December) and readings from Chris Goode's selected texts for performance The History of Airports will take place on Sunday evening.
I'm looking forward to the Charles Hawtrey show Jiggery Pokery at BAC this week; other noteworthy openings include the all-black Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at the Novello on Tuesday and Bola Agbaje's new play about asylum seekers, Detaining Justice, at the Tricycle. The charming and fragile Lilly Through the Dark is at Tristan Bates theatre. It's fledgling work, but worth a look. The Stefan Golaszewski plays come into the Bush, The Pitmen Painters is back at the National, Sweet Charity at the Menier Chocolate Factory, and you will have to hurry if you want to catch Speaking in Tongues at the Duke of York's Theatre, This Wide Night at Soho, Mrs Klein at the Almeida and Othello at Trafalgar Studios.
Nic Green, creator of the London-bound Trilogy, is one of the people taking part in the London Bubble's discussion Art (F)or Community at the Albany in Deptford on Saturday, which is part of a three-day celebration of community work. Green is looking for women to participate in Trilogy when it comes to BAC and the Barbican in January. Also, check out Extraordinary Voices at Tate Britain next Friday. It does indeed sound extraordinary.
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Guardian: What to see: Lyn Gardner's theatre tips
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