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October 2019 highlights at the Barbican include the RSC's As You Like It

October preview

OCTOBER theatre and dance highlights at the Barbican include:

Theatre of Nations, Moscow – Shukshin’s Stories – in the Barbican Theatre from October 7 to October 9 and Theatre of Nations, Moscow – Ivanov – in the Barbican Theatre on October 11 and 12.

Continuing its commitment to bring Russia’s finest acting ensembles to London, Moscow’s prestigious Theatre of Nations makes its Barbican debut, performing two UK premieres: Shukshin’s Stories, and Chekhov’s enigmatic play Ivanov. Both productions are performed in Russian with English surtitles and star Evgeny Mironov.

Alvis Hermanis adapts the comic, pithy, short stories of rural Russian life by writer and film-maker Vasily Shukshin. A major cultural figure from Soviet times, Shukshin’s work is melancholic yet laced with humour. The vivid characters, familiar provincial types from the 1970s Soviet Union, are portrayed with affection, irony and huge love that give them an authenticity instantly recognisable to Russian audiences today.

Director Timofey Kulyabin’s production of Ivanov brings a fresh and modern perspective to the text while retaining its keen observation and comedic eye for detail. The production is set in the present day with the weak, disenchanted Ivanov as a man facing a mid-life crisis who has exhausted his emotional reserves. His wife, Anna Petrovna, is dying and Ivanov seeks solace in his affection for the young Sasha, daughter of his creditor to whom he owes a large debt.

Jamie Hale – CRIPtic Pit Party – in The Pit on October 11 and 12.

Jamie Hale performs in and curates CRIPtic Pit Party, comprising a solo replete with hope, NOT DYING directed by Kate O’Donnell, and a mixed-bill of work by D/deaf and disabled artists directed by Shereen Hamilton.

In NOT DYING, Hale recounts their full-circle story of progressive disability – from the agony and gracelessness of imminent death to the jubilance and defiance of survival. Determined to confront and dismantle barriers often encountered by disabled people, this thought-provoking piece intertwines video and narrative.

The vibrant second-half showcase sees D/deaf and disabled artists, Signkid, Jackie Hagan, Amelia Cavallo, Elle Chante and Katie Walters, Donna and Jessi Parrott take to the stage. Revealing their own personal experiences of anger, fortitude and joy, performing short sets of music, dance and spoken word, each artist expands on the themes of NOT DYING.

Dance Umbrella 2019: Vuyani Dance Theatre/Gregory Maqoma – Cion: Requiem of Ravel’s Bolero – in the Barbican Theatre from October 17 to October 19.

Cion: Requiem of Ravel’s Bolero, presented as part of Dance Umbrella, is a rousing dance theatre work of rhythmic dexterity and ecstatic intensity to the sounds of a live South African choir.

Celebrated dancer and choreographer Gregory Maqoma is Toloki – a paid mourner confronting a world in which greed, power and religious ideology lead so often to the normalisation of needless death and loss.

Inspired by the protagonist from the stories of South African author Zakes Mda, this physical lamentation unfolds to the musical motif of Ravel’s Bolero, reinterpreted here through stirring song and percussion by four traditional vocalists joined onstage by eight dancers from Vuyani Dance Theatre.

Royal Shakespeare Company – As You Like It – in the Barbican Theatre from October 26, 2019 to January 18, 2020.

The Royal Shakespeare Company begin their residency in the Barbican Theatre with As You Like It. All the world really is a stage in Kimberley Sykes’ playful and imaginative take on Shakespeare’s romantic comedy.

Rosalind is banished, and with her best friend Celia by her side, she journeys to a world of exile. But not before catching the eye of love-struck Orlando, who is also forced from the Court into the Forest.

Blending physical comedy, music and storytelling, this As You Like It dares you to change your state of mind.