Birmingham Weekly Arts Roundup, September 11 – 17

Stand by for an impossibly intense and exhilarating hour of theatre, as Not I/Footfalls/Rockaby, the Royal Court’s hugely acclaimed triple bill of short Samuel Beckett pieces, arrives at the Rep from Tuesday (September 16).  All three works are performed by Irish actress Lisa Dwan, who was mentored by Beckett’s own protégée Billie Whitelaw.  In Not I, all that is visible is a mouth delivering a stream of consciousness at breakneck speed.  Meanwhile, Footfalls follows a ragged woman’s vigil outside her dying mother’s room, while Rockaby explores the loneliness of the protagonist.  Not to be missed.

A couple of promising shows at the Mac this week.  Somewhere Else, opening on Friday (September 12), sees a man and woman thrown together by “time and habit”, while on Tuesday (September 16), the inventive Liverpool company 20 Stories High come to town with Tales From The MP3, in which the performers present each other’s stories, as relayed to them in real time via headphones.

Tea And Tenacity, a Midlands-based outfit championing female performers, are at the Blue Orange from Friday (September 12) with First Do No Harm, a powerful wartime piece centring on the suffragist movement, while at Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre from Saturday (September 13), there’s Propaganda Swing, the fascinating true story of the Nazis’ unlikely attempts to use jazz music as a weapon of war.

And at The Crescent from Saturday (September 13), the theatre’s resident company present an adaptation of William Golding’s Lord Of The Flies.

Cycling fans are in for a treat this week, with the opening of Bike Unltd on Friday (September 12).  Running throughout the autumn, Vivid Projects have assembled a team of artists, designers, producers, technicians and cyclists to run workshops testing ideas that harness bike technology.  Sign up if you fancy getting involved.

And on Sunday (September 14), the mac will be screening Bicycle, a new documentary exploring how cycling became cool again, featuring contributions from the likes of Chris Hoy, Dave Brailsford and Chris Boardman.  There’ll be a Q&A after the film too.

A DIVINE EVENINGThere’s a John Waters double bill at the Electric Cinema on Friday (September 12), celebrating the work of the drag artist Divine.  A Divine Evening pairs the cult favourite Female Trouble with a special scratch-’n-sniff screening of Polyester.

The Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery’s big new show starts on Saturday (September 13), with Sound And Silence documenting the importance of prayer and contemplation across the faiths.  And on the same day, Mark Wilson leads the fascinating Birmingham TV & Film Location Walking Tour, setting off from Colmore Row.

Also this week, the RBSA presents Useful Or Beautiful from Monday (September 15), which showcases the continuing influence of Victorian and Edwardian pattern and design, while over at the Bilston Craft Gallery, Craft And Conflict rounds up a range of historical and contemporary pieces reflecting on war and remembrance.  The show opens on Saturday (September 13).

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