At the beginning of Urinetown, you are told that this isn't your typical musical, and they're not kidding. After a three year run on Broadway, this unconventional toilet-based musical has arrived at the Apollo theatre; bringing it's host of odd characters and even odder storyline along with it.
East is East is a bright, well-observed comedy about the issues facing second-generation Pakistani children born and raised in the UK. Starring the gloriously talented Jane Horrocks and writer Ayub Khan-Din, the play has a terrific pace with an excellent balance of humour and pathos to keep you hooked.
Our sexuality is naturally (and I do mean naturally) a part of what we are. So fiction has to deal with it in one way or another (and I do mean one way or another). The spinsterly Jane Austen hints of 'intimate attachments'. Charlotte Brontë permits Jane Eyre more freedom of expression with her 'bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh' allusion to intercourse with Mr Rochester.
Wet House, Paddy Campbell's first play, does a fantastic job of exploring these complex questions. Campbell's writing is fantastic, evoking the wit, depth of character and moral ambiguity that we've become accustomed to on programmes like The Wire or Breaking Bad.
The process is so powerful and motivating (and not only because of the time constraints; deadlines can be marvellous things). Such strong imagery can provide direction to writing that you just don't get by sitting down in front of a blank page every morning. The images, from the culture of a by-gone age, are wonderful, and a natural inspiration for song.
Frieze is the highlight of the London arts scene. For a week the good and rich come here for a jamboree of cocktails, talks, networking and art. However, for the rest of us with less deep pockets The London Art Fair in January provides with an interesting selection of artists and galleries aimed at the mid-market, between £2,000 to £10,000.
The Special Relationship moves beyond its status as one of London's most extraordinary literary events to become a force for change in the lives of some of the city's most vulnerable people. All proceeds raised next Tuesday evening at The Book Club in Shoreditch will be given to a ground-breaking new charitable organisation.
I am feeling slightly sheepish about my previous post. I was griping about the how full on and (implied) uncreative Frieze Art Fair can be. Little did I know that I clearly wasn't the only person who thought that because this years' fair, currently being touted as the 'best Frieze ever' for visitors, was a very different viewing experience.
It is a strange moment. I do not know where to go or what to see. There is so much going on that it seems easier to stay in bed and pull the covers up over my head and sing nursery rhymes. Frieze is in town and it has two identities - Frieze and Frieze Masters.
It was the Bram Stoker Festival in Dublin this weekend, and the old boy's home town really vamped it up in his honour, from up on the big screen to down on the streets.
This year we discussed war in world literature today. Sigrid Loffler delivered a lecture entitled 'Narrating the un-narratable inferno' in which she suggested that contemporary German literature shies away from war, preferring 'to retreat into the private sphere, to escape into the realm of the idyllic - to withdraw too readily into the search for private happiness.
Memphis is truly the definition of a triple threat musical. David Bryan delivers an awesomescore of huge numbers and melodies that really soar off the stage. Each song is a moment within itself while still allowing the performers to showcase their mind-blowing vocal abilities.
I did not make it to Frieze this year. And while you might think that a review of the art week that does not cover the art shown at Regents Park is incomplete, I disagree. With all that attention on art as business only, I wanted to be able to enjoy the work for what it was and not for what the price tags said it is.
From Depression-era America to 21st Century China, this vast display of photographs shows how our architecture reflects our values and how our landscape has been transformed by economic boom and bust, all of which has been evocatively captured in this vast exhibition that examines the work of 18 photographers.
Time and again, the creative industries have tried to encourage more women to join but nothing sticks because there are, in all honesty, deep-rooted institutional factors repelling them. Charity has three practical steps she suggests can help:
When we don't speak the local language, most travellers rely on gestures to express ourselves in a foreign country. These can be particularly helpful when you have lost your phrasebook and urgently need to communicate something to a local. However, it is a good idea to familiarise yourself with other countries' customs before embarking on a trip..