Season at London's Soho Theatre Includes Return of Olivier-Winning OperaUpClose Company, Plus Russell Brand and Joey Arias

By Mark Shenton
18 Jul 2013

The new season at London's Soho Theatre will include the returns of the Olivier Award-winning company OperaUpClose with a new production of Tosca, and runs by Russell Brand and New York cabaret legend Joey Arias.



They are among 17 theatre shows, 31 comedy and 36 literary events that will play in Soho Theatre's three spaces.

The season is being presented under the umbrella title of Fall of Innocence, and in a press statement artistic director Steve Marmion commented, "It seems to me that the world is full of compromise right now.  Be it the financial compromises nationally of cuts vs spend, the moral compromises of fairness vs freedom, or the emotional compromise of personal vs professional. And while each of these compromises is celebrated as a step forward, on all sides there is a loss, and the loss is often innocence. In true Soho style we bring you these dilemmas, depravities and desires in the most theatrical and entertaining of ways. From work we have nurtured to work we have discovered, everything on our stages has been curated with our audience in mind. So here we offer you an autumn of Innocence, and its loss. We hope you feel moved, inspired, and perhaps even lose a bit of your own innocence."

The season begins with the return of Soho associate company OperaUpClose — whose La Boheme in 2011 there won an Olivier Award — with a new production of Tosca, beginning performances Aug.14 prior to an official opening Aug. 22 for a run through Sept. 15. This updated telling of the story is set in 1989 East Berlin.

John Grogan's The Magic, which begins performances Aug. 20 prior to an official opening Aug. 21 for a run through Aug. 24, deals with a man’s eternal struggle with the changing world, trying to make something of himself which always leads to failure or, at best, compromise.

In Freestanding’s My Pregnant Brother, beginning performances Aug. 28 prior to an official opening Aug. 29 for a run to Sept. 1, Johanna Nutter takes a personal look at parenthood and psychological identity, inspired by the birth of her transgender brother's child.

New Soho Theatre Associate Company DryWrite, who previously presented Mydidae at Soho Theatre that subsequently transferred to the Trafalgar Studios, will return with Fleabag, written and performed by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, beginning performances Sept. 3 for a run to Sept. 22. It tells the story of a 20-something struggling with being a woman today. 

Chris Thorpe's There Has Possibly Been an Incident will begin performances Sept. 24 prior to an official opening Sept. 26, for a run through Oct. 5. Directed by 2013 JMK Award winner Sam Pritchard, it tells a series of interlocking stories about the moments when life offers you a choice between heroism and compromise, and what happens after you choose.

Writer/performer Bryony Kimmings debuts Credible Likeable Superstar Rolemodel, her new collaboration with Soho, beginning performances Oct. 8 prior to an official opening Oct. 10, for a run through Oct. 16. According to press materials, it examines the early sexualisation of children through their manufactured role models.

Visually inventive theatremakers The Wrong Crowd return to Soho Theatre with HAG, beginning performances Oct. 1 prior to an official opening Oct. 3, for a run through Oct. 20. In this dark story a young girl overcomes innocence and obstacles to find her true self.

Kieran Hurley's BEATS, which begins performances Oct. 14 prior to an official opening Oct. 15 for a run through Oct. 26, is a rites-of-passage story exploring rebellion, apathy, and the power and naivety of gathered youth. It is presented in a new association with Show and Tell and The Arches, and was previously seen at Edinburgh's Traverse Theatre as part of last year's Edinburgh Fringe.

Thomas Eccleshare's Perle, based on the oldest poem in the English language, will begin performances Oct. 22 prior to an official opening Oct. 24. It explores one man’s loss over the death of a child. Eccleshare previously won the 2011 Verity Bargate Award with Pastoral, which was developed while he was a writer in residence at the theatre.

Clean Break, which works with women affected by the criminal justice system, returns to Soho Theatre with Billy the Girl, beginning performances Oct. 29 prior to an official opening Oct. 31 for a run through Nov. 24. In Katie Hims' play, a woman tries to deal with the way her family betrayed her over a childhood mistake that they called a crime.

Hattie Naylor's Bluebeard begins performances Nov. 5 prior to an official opening Nov. 7 for a run through Nov. 17. Naylor's Olivier Award-nominated play Ivan and the Dogs was performed at Soho Theatre in 2010. Based on the French literary folktale, the audience meets Bluebeard in his chamber, where innocence never stood a chance.

Collective Artistes will stage Zhe: [noun] Undefined, beginning performances Nov. 19 prior to an official opening Nov. 21, for a run through Dec. 7. The story of two British Africans at the crossroads of culture, nationality, gender and sexuality, it is created by Chuck Mike, Antonia Kemi Coker and Tonderai Munyevu.

Amongst the cabaret and comedy program, Joey Arias will appear Oct. 3-12 in a show that is described as "a potent mix of live art, razor-sharp witticisms and memorable tunes which will blow you away," and Russell Brand will present A Night of Spontaneous Comedy on four nights between July 31 and Aug. 6.

To book tickets, contact the box office on 020 7478 0100, or visit www.sohotheatre.com.