I hope February has found you well and excited by some of the comedy and theatre that’s happening across the UK and further afield. As ever, if you’d like The F-Word to cover something, please email me at theatre@thefword.org.uk or comedy@thefword.org.uk and I’ll do my best.

Let’s begin! The VAULT festival is currently happening in London. Within comedy, on 15 February Eleanor Conway will be performing her show Walk of Shame which we described in 2016 as “shocking, poignant and undeniably funny” and on 17 and 18 February the US political comedian Megan Ford will be performing her show FEMINASTY which in 2015 we reviewed as “a funny and biting critique of all aspects of the media”.

There’s also a really interesting sounding play at the VAULT festival, Puppy, about two women who meet and fall in love while dogging, and set up a feminist porn company together. Puppy has performances on 23 February and 2 March.

There is, as always, lots going on at Soho Theatre that is worth checking out. They are taking a couple of exciting shows out on tour:

Panti Bliss will be touring her show High Heels in Low Places which has performed to rave reviews and chock-a-block houses across Ireland, England, Paris, New York, Melbourne and Sydney. This is the final spin for the show and you can see it in Glasgow on 10 March, Cardiff on 1 April, Soho Theatre 5 – 8 April and Manchester on 25 April.

Ursula Martinez will also be taking Free Admission to the Dublin Project Arts Centre on 9 and 10 June, Colchester Arts Centre on 14 June, Birmingham Rep – The Door from 15 – 17 June, Reading South Street Arts Centre on 21 June before coming back to Soho from 26 June until 1 July. We’ve previously reviewed Free Admission and said that “Martinez deftly weaves her narrative, showing, not only telling, us how personal experiences melt into larger themes.”

Lucy McCormick: Triple Threat will be making its London premiere at Soho from 28 March until 22 April. Our reviewer was blown away by it at the Edinburgh Fringe and I already have my ticket!

Anita and Me which is adapted by Tanika Gupta from the book by Meera Syal opens at Wolverhampton this week (where it will be captioned on 15 February and audio-described at the matinee on 18 February) before going on to Cheltenham (captioned 1 March, audio-described matinee 2 March), Blackpool (captioned 8 March, audio-described 10 March), Nottingham (captioned 15 March, audio-described matinee 18 March), Bradford (captioned 22 March, audio-described matinee 25 March) and Edinburgh (captioned 29 March, audio-described and BSL interpreted matinee 1 April). Anita And Me paints a comic, poignant, compassionate and colourful portrait of village life in the era of flares, power cuts, glam rock, decimalisation and Ted Heath. In each venue the professional company will perform alongside eight actors drawn from the local community.

At the Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond from 16 February until 25 March is Low Level Panic. They describe it as a timely play about three twenty-something women figuring out how they really feel about sex, their bodies and each other, interrogating the effects of society’s objectification of women. Low Level Panic will be audio-described on 11 March at 2.30pm and Tue 14 March at 7.30pm, and captioned on 22 March at 7.30pm.

There are a couple of performances happening in early March which are related to International Women’s Day:

Pandora from Etch Theatre will be at the Pleasance Islington from 7 – 11 March. The play unpicks ancient stories of blame, strength and control that still shape attitudes towards women today. The story follows character Helen as she works to free herself from an abusive relationship. Her story both collides with and is born from the ancient myths that have shaped women’s experience in the world for thousands of years.

In Scotland at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh will be Girls Like That from The Lyceum Youth Theatre from 9 – 11 March. The play is a pertinent story that explores gender inequality in the digital minefield of young people’s online lives and will be performed by a cast of twenty young women. Girls Like That will be presented as a double bill with brand new short plays written by the Traverse Young Writers group.

And finally performer Liz Aggiss piece Slap & Tickle will be at The Lowry on 9 March. There’s a trailer for the show here (unfortunately it isn’t subtitled but it is soundtracked with an orchestral version of The Flight of the Bumblebee with very occasional snatches of Aggiss speaking to the audience, she says things like “tip top, tip top!” and “look, John, look!”). Slap & Tickle is part of the SICK! Festival and can also be seen elsewhere. Aggiss describes her latest piece as a “feminist soup” and is vocal about the importance of ageing female bodies on the stage.

Image credits and descriptions

1. A photograph of Megan Ford by Christa Holka. Ford looks at the camera with an expression which might indicate she is at the end of her tether. There is a blue background, she has long dark hair and intense eyes.

2. A photograph of Shobna Gulati who plays Daljit in Anita and Me. It is a simple black and white headshot in which Gulati is smiling straight into the camera.

3. A photograph of Grace Chilton in Pandora. Chilton is looking upwards. You can only see her neck ad head, she is to the left of the photograph against a pale pink background. Her hair is in a bob and she has stud earrings. There is a microphone in front of her.

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Further Reading

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