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Barbican - December 2018/January 2019 highlights

December/January preview

THEATRE and dance highlights at the Barbican in December 2018 and January 2019 include:

CN Lester – Transpose: The Future – in The Pit from December 6 to December 8, 2018.

Transpose returns to The Pit for its third edition this December, as multi-talented performers and leading lights from the trans community come together to look to the future. Transpose: The Future is curated by CN Lester and directed by Kate O’Donnell and all three performances are BSL-interpreted.

Featuring artists from across the generations collaborating in performances of opera, poetry, video art and electronica, this show considers, in a celebratory atmosphere, what gender, identity and individuality might look like tomorrow.

The cast is Daniel Brathwaite-Shirley, Robin Gurney, Jamie Hale, CN Lester, Holden Madagame and Rebekah Ubuntu.

Transpose: The Future is part of our 2018 season The Art of Change.

Royal Shakespeare Company – The Merry Wives of Windsor – in the Barbican Theatre from December 7, 2018 to January 5, 2019.

There’s more than a hint of reality TV to this modern production of Shakespeare’s hilarious comedy, directed by Fiona Laird.

Down on his luck in the suburbs, Sir John Falstaff plans to hustle his way to a comfortable retirement by seducing the wives of two wealthy men. Unknown to him, it’s the women of Windsor who really pull the strings, orchestrating his comeuppance amid a theatrical smorgasbord of petty rivalries, jealousies and over-inflated egos.

RSC Associate Artist David Troughton takes on the role of Sir John following his masterful performance in Titus Andronicus last year.

Circa – Wolfgang – in The Pit from December 12 to December 22, 2018.

Straight from the score and onto the stage, the man known as Mozart appears amid a storm of powder, tumbling and twirling, as musical mayhem and movement fuse in this family show with a circus twist.

To those who know him, he is Wolfgang, the dart-playing, pun-loving ratbag. To those who are watching and listening, he is the wigged genius Mozart. His irrepressible spirit is exposed as he rediscovers his own vibrant compositions, the notes lifting off the page through physical comedy and mischievous antics.

Wolfgang’s Magical Musical Circus is a skilful and playful show for audiences aged three and upwards, featuring two of Circa’s dexterous daredevil artists and real-life spouses Kathryn and Paul O’Keeffe. Joined by musician Gareth Chin on the accordion, the production is directed by Circa’s Artistic Director Yaron Lifschitz.


Les Antliaclastes – Waltz of the Hommelettes – in The Pit from January 15 to January 19, 2019.

In this magical cabinet of curiosities, with hints of Alice in Wonderland and Brothers Grimm, events are controlled by a giant, Black Forest cuckoo clock, supernatural in its keeping of time.

A shoemaker, a mother bird who spins wool and a menacing, musket-toting rabbit are the protagonists in three interwoven tales filled with striking imagery, surprises, twists and turns. When the clock strikes thirteen, elves and goblins appear from its mechanical gears and wheels. They manipulate time and rearrange the notion of natural order so that humans are no longer in charge. Then the fun begins.

Using masked performers, extraordinary music and sound, automatons and sculptural puppets to achieve his fantastical universe, Waltz of the Hommelettes is an eerily delightful folklorish adventure.

Le Théâtre de L’Entrouvert – Anywhere – in The Pit from January 22 to January 26, 2019.

King Oedipus, a marionette made almost entirely of ice, sets out on a redemptive voyage accompanied by his daughter Antigone, their long passage punctuated by poetic visions of water and fire, shadow and light.

Rejected, hurt and alone, the blind king abandons his throne and takes to the road with his guide Antigone – a puppeteer in human form dressed in a protective felt cloak. As they walk across misty landscapes, his metamorphosis is conveyed by his melting physical state until they reach the crossroads of the world and he disappears from sight.

Featuring a wondrous, luminous ice puppet made anew for each performance, Anywhere is freely adapted from the book, Oedipus on the Road, by Belgian author Henry Bauchau.

Gecko – The Wedding – in the Barbican Theatre from January 24 to January 26, 2019.

Seducing audiences with intricate choreography, provocative narratives and vivid symbolism, The Wedding brings the union between state and individual into question amid a flurry of white dresses.

From a chute the performers emerge giddy as newborns, expectantly clutching teddy bears. But things soon turn business-like. Doubt, regret and a creeping sense of dislocation enter the physically emotive language of the faultless nine-strong ensemble, their thrillingly tribal and rhythmic finale suggesting revolution and hope.

Led by Artistic Director Amit Lahav, physical theatre company Gecko meld heightened movement with spectacular staging and minimal dialogue to confront big themes.

Read more about The Wedding.

Peeping Tom – Father (Vader) – in the Barbican Theatre from January 30 to February 2, 2019.

The phenomenal choreography and enigmatic visual imagery of Peeping Tom see fantasy and reality collide in this empathetic and surprising portrait of ageing.

Towering walls surround the visiting room of a care home where an elderly father counts his final days. Shifting scenes speak of isolation, divinity, ridicule and melancholia as his complex identity and lived experiences are revealed. People and objects move around him whilst memories make way for hallucinatory, less lucid moments.

Astonishing dance, song and live music are interwoven in this incisive and compassionate piece. Father, directed by Franck Chartier, is part of the company’s surreal trilogy about families. Mother, was critically acclaimed at the Barbican in January 2018, whilst an earlier show, 32 rue Vandenbranden, presented in 2015, won an Olivier Award.

For more information or to book tickets, call the box office on 020 7638 8891 or visit