The AW16 Culture Edit: ​The 10 Must-See Shows

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Bridget Christie: Because You Demanded It

When Brexit happened comedian Bridget Christie scrapped her entire Edinburgh Fringe show – which was meant to be about death and mortality - and started all over again. 

The result is an uproarious anti-Brexit tirade that picked up five-star reviews at the Festival, and will now go on tour. 

Still shocked by Brexit? 

Laughing it off during this hour-long performance is as good as any political panacea. 

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Touring until February 2017; www.bridgetchristie.co.uk 

The Donmar Shakespeare Trilogy 

Swap your Netflix binge for a Shakespeare binge, with back-to-back, all-female performances of The Tempest, Henry IV and Julius Caesar. 

Directed by Phyllida Lloyd, who was behind the sell-out productions of Henry IV and Julius Caesar, this Shakespearean trilogy will be on at the Donmar's new pop-up space in King's Cross. 

The cast of The Tempest
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Set in a women's prison, and starring Atonement and Sense and Sensibility star Harriet Walter, expect a raw and powerful production (x3).  

From 23 September - 17 December; www.donmaratkingscross.com 

Saint Joan at The Donmar

Not many people can say they've been described, at various points in history, as a saint, a witch, an illiterate farm girl and a political genius. 

But Saint Joan can. 

Gemma Arterton as Saint Joan

Donmar chief Josie Rourke revives this Bernard Shaw play, starring Gemma Arterton as the young country girl who makes it her mission to drive the English from France. 

Judging on the actress's recent stage performances, this will be this season's one to watch. 

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From 9 December; www.donmarwarehouse.co.uk     

The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a key to the Scriptures

The title of this might leave you exhausted and confused but all the more reason to go and see director Michael Boyd's (former Artistic Director of The Royal Shakespeare Company) version of this Pulitzer Prize winning play, at Hampstead Theatre. 

Tamsin Grieg plays the role of Empty in a story that challenges our obsession with Utopias. 

From 15 October;  www.hampsteadtheatre.com

Oil at The Almeida

Anne-Marie Duff takes to the stage for the world Premier of Oil, a play (yes, you've guessed it) about our most valuable natural resource by the brilliant young playwright Ella Hickson. 

Expect 'an epic, hurtling crash of empire, history and family'.

And, we're guessing an increased desire to switch to renewable energy ASAP. 

From 07 October; www.almeida.co.uk

Giselle

It's one of the most romantic ballets of all time. 

And now it's getting the Akram Khan treatment. 

This will be the first full-length ballet from the award-winning choreographer – whose moves you will have seen during the London 2012 Opening Ceremony – so there's been a lot of talk about it both in and beyond the ballet world. 

Tamara Rojo as Giselle by Akram Khan

As well as incredible choreography, the set and costumes - designed by Tim Yip who won an Oscar for his work on the film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - are going to play a starring role. 

From 27 September; http://giselle.ballet.org.uk/  

Alvin Ailey at Sadler's Wells

The American dance company gets standing ovations every night.

For good reason.

During this run, they'll perform three different pieces, ending with Ailey's Revelations which is the most seen dance work in the world. 

Don't miss the energy, grace and technical genius of this troupe while they're in town.

From 6 September; www.sadlerswells.com and then touring across the UK; www.danceconsortium.com 

Carbon Life at The Royal Opera House

Ballet and fashion are the latest zeitgeisty bedfellows.

And this masterpiece, part of a programme alongside two other works Chroma and New McGregor, is testament to the latest trend. 

Music is by Mark Ronson and costumes by Gareth Pugh, while choreographer Wayne McGregor revives his ballet which first premiered in 2012.

Most importantly tickets start from £3 - who said ballet was elitist?

From 10 November; www.roh.org.uk  

Sarah Lamb and Steven McRae in Wayne McGregor's Carbon Life

Good Canary

John Malkovich makes his London stage directorial debut at The Rose Theatre in Kingston with this moving play by Zach Helm (otherwise known for the Will Ferrell Stranger Than Fiction). 

Based on two of Helm's real life acquaintances, the story deals with mental health in a humorous and brutal way.

Freya Mavor in Good Canary photographed by Mark Douet

 

The central roles are brilliantly acted by Harry Lloyd (Game of Thrones) and Freya Mavor (Skins, The White Queen) - who is high on speed for most of the action.

John Malkovich also makes a brief appearance - as the voiceover warning the audience to turn off their phones.

Until 8 October; www.rosetheatrekingston.org 

The Red Barn

Theatre's  wunderkind Robert Icke directs this new play by David Hare (Nicole Farhi's playwright husband). 

Based on a psychological thriller by Georges Simenon, this version is set in 1969 Connecticut when two couples make their way home from a party, struggling in the snow.

But not everyone makes it back safely.

Starring Mark Strong, off the back of his huge A View From The Bridge success, and The Night Manager's Elizabeth Debicki.  

From 6 October; www.nationaltheatre.org.uk

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