Thursday 30th March

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Lionel Shriver: “I know who I am. I’m never going to produce a soft, sentimental treatment of anything.”

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On Tuesday night, The School of Life hosted a remarkable interview with Lionel Shriver at Cecil Sharp House in NW1.  Ian Cater reports for What’s On London on a fascinating evening which scratched deep beneath the surface of one of the leading lights – and most intriguing creators – of 21st century fiction.

On the edge of Regent’s Park, a dark, oak-panelled hall is packed with bodies, laughter and the hum of middle-class anticipation: a cocktail always on the menu when a star’s expected to serve up something unexpected.  Eventually the murmurs dissipate as Lionel Shriver enters the room, accompanied by TV psychologist Tanya Byron, for an evening examining what makes her tick.  But the anticipation remains.

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Category: Culture
© Jessica Verma
© Jessica Verma

Baby Wants Candy: Thrones! The Musical Parody review

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Ian Cater, Chief Features Writer

The latest production from US comedians Baby Wants Candy is a fun, crude and entertaining tribute to Game of Thrones, with plenty of tits and dragons.

Warning: as with the musical, this review contains some GoT spoilers.

Like its televisual inspiration, Thrones! The Musical doesn’t take itself too seriously.  That much is clear from the opening number, which bluntly tells those who prefer George R.R. Martin’s books to leave now.  Because of that, it can recognise the TV show’s flaws upfront without committing sacrilege: “So many plot lines quickly end in disaster, although the blonde-girl-in-the-desert one could go a lot faster.”

We then cut to an apartment, where recently divorced Lesley admits to her friends that she’s never seen the hit HBO series.  Although initially horrified (“No wonder he left you!”), the friends agree to act out GoT to show her what she’s missing.

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Category: Comedy
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Erich McElroy: (US) Electile Dysfunction review

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Ian Cater, Chief Features Writer

Don’t miss a hilarious and insightful analysis of the state of American politics by a natural and intelligent entertainer.

So many shows at this year’s Fringe cover Brexit or depression, that it’s refreshing to get a little light relief with a witty analysis of the flawed individual who’ll soon run The Free World.  And there’s none better to provide it than Erich McElroy, an immensely likeable US stand-up who’s lived in the UK for 16 years.  Because he gets what we don’t understand about America, explains it simply and humorously, and – importantly, given the range of ages in the crowd – puts it in historical context.

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Category: Comedy
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James Wilson-Taylor: Ginger is the New Black, Edinburgh Preview

In our second Edinburgh Fringe preview, Ian Cater speaks to James Wilson-Taylor about his new show, Ginger is the New Black, being performed daily at Underbelly on Cowgate.

In the US, the depressingly regular mistreatment of African Americans has spawned the creation of the Black Lives Matter movement, harnessing protest through large demonstrations and worldwide solidarity on Twitter.  Back on this side of the pond, another minority continues to face daily prejudice and James Wilson-Taylor wants to do something about it.

Not through marches.  Not by lobbying.  Not even via a catchy hashtag.  Instead, Wilson-Taylor seeks to protect his fellow redheads with the skills he learned on a masters’ degree in musical theatre.  Following last year’s successful run of Bat-Fan – an hour-long audition to replace Ben Affleck as the Caped Crusader, showcasing Wilson-Taylor’s acting, musical and comedy talents – he returns to the Fringe with Ginger is the New Black.

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Category: Comedy