Women usually take burlesque classes for one of three reasons: they want to feel cheeky and have fun, they want to improve their body confidence and how they feel about themselves, or they want to become a professional burlesque performer. When asked about their experience of learning and performing burlesque the majority of our students will use the word 'empowering' in their answer.
I had high hopes of The Mistress Contract being an illuminating and entertaining read - not least because I'd been a mistress myself. For sixteen years I'd had a rollercoaster affair with a married man who encouraged me to transform from a dowdy housewife to a sexy professional Dominatrix with my own dungeon in London.
The Mistress Contract at the Royal Court is such a missed opportunity. The source material, a true story of a couple in the USA who've engaged in a sex services contract for the past 40 years, is fascinating but this stage adaptation is a disappointment.
Getting ready to rehearse/perform this play has made me more interested in these issues and how these countries are doing post-genocide/conflict. I've been asking friends who have families that live in Zimbabwe to tell me more about what it's like and not simply relying on the news alone.
Emerging from the stage door of the National Theatre in a pair of jeans and simple t-shirt, Zack Momoh looks a world away from his role as the soldier/cyclist in the performance of From Morning to Midnight. He has only a few hours before he's back on stage for the evening show, yet he greets me with an easy smile and relaxes into an armchair in a room looking out over London's Southbank...
Fear and Loathing in Vegas is cult property. The brilliance and craziness that flows from those pages is practically palpable. But not all of that magnetism has found its way into this keynote production at the Vault Festival 2014.
It's fair to say I've found a new love of the theatre, and modern tech means that people can experience the west end from hundreds of locations around the world. This is truly exciting. Not only that, but I think I am a Shakespeare convert.
Considering this is a Samuel Beckett play about a woman trapped waist deep in rubble and rock, the title of Happy Days may be ironic. But in this superb production it is a beautifully poignant reflection on the struggles of the human spirit against almost impossible obstacles.
In this version of King Lear at the National Theatre, Sam Mendes and Simon Russell Beale have created a dark, violent depiction of the last days of a mad dictator.
The title of the play gives it away. Blurred Lines at The Shed is a sharp, punchy look at gender politics in Britain today. It's a bright, exciting production that combines spoken word and music, but its claim to "dissect what it means to be a woman today" is highly questionable.
The Reduced Shakespeare Company was scheduled to perform their production of The Bible: The Complete Word of God (Abridged) twice this month at The Mill Theatre in Newtownabbey, just outside Belfast. A week before it was scheduled, the local council 'persuaded' the artistic board to cancel the performances.
Not all theatre can be challenging and innovative. Certainly Rapture, Blister, Burn - a play about gender politics - is neither of these but there is plenty to enjoy in this charming comedy.
This production of The Weir is so warm and intimate, it makes you feel as if you've just pulled up a bar stool in a rural Irish pub for the evening.
The musical version of American Psycho is fantastic. Starring Matthew Smith, the show is on until February 1 at London's Almeida Theatre. If you've got tickets, or if you're hoping to somehow find some, here are a few fun facts that might make your viewing more enjoyable.
I don't think you could ever witness a better version of Henrik Ibsen's Ghosts than this Richard Eyre-helmed production at the Trafalgar Studios. Genuinely moving but never melodramatic or overwrought, this story of a family trying to escape the ghosts of their past is an exceptional piece of theatre that will resonate long after the curtain falls.
So here I am, on the great man's birthday, on an incredibly mild January night at the Jermyn Street Theatre, sitting next to a young actress, recently graduated from drama school (and I didn't even have to slip the box office lady any notes), and I in my late thirties, feeling all Trigorin with my projected gravestone reading: "not as good as Michael Billington."