Review : 50 Shades of Fairytales @ The Alexander Upstairs

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While things may be a bit different nowadays when it comes to children’s entertainment with Disney becoming all PC and ensuring that their stories aren’t as whitewashed as they once were and contain some sort of feminist undertone, I’m old enough to be of that generation brought up on the traditional notion of a fairytale. You know those feel-good stories where Prince Charming is an alpha male with BIG MAN muscles who is capable of destroying all the bad people in order to ‘save’ the damsel in distress and give her the happily-ever-after she deserves …. blah blah blah. Sigh. Unfortunately, as we are all by now well aware. Disney LIED. Alpha males, very much like unicorns, only exist in La La land and when it comes to slaying dragons and dealing with bad people, well us chicks are probably better off dealing with all that stuff ourselves because Prince Charming it seems is getting delayed.
’50 Shades of Fairytales’ is a one-women show which deals with exactly that. It tells the story of two women (played by Titilayo Adedokun) who share their personal experiences of relationships and the associated challenges through a string of songs. Covering everything from little girls fantasizing about the arrival of their Prince Charming and the excitement of planning one’s dream wedding to coming to terms with the reality of dating one deadbeat after another, being trapped in an unhappy codependent relationship with someone you want to kill.
Sure, it sounds a bit cynical. But I think most 20,30, 40-somethings can definitely identify with the characters’ struggles. Especially that of trying to remain hopeful despite all the knocks. Although the show is ultimately focuses on women chasing fairytales, the way that modern dating operates these days I think even the guys will find that they can relate. And even though there are parts that come down pretty hard on the male-species, the humour and sing-song of it all helps to tone down the raging-feminist vibe, which makes it more digestible for the men in the audience and those of us who aren’t quite yet complete haters of men.
The show is also provides a nice reality check for anyone who is feeling that the whole world is against them. It’s a nice reminder that nobody’s story is all that ‘original’. All you have to do is talk to five randoms on a bus to find that you aren’t the first woman to be blind-sided by a philandering jerk, to have dated a broke-ass loser, or fallen in madly in love in a sociopath. But in this world of Facebook reality we only ever get insights into the sugarcoated version of other people’s lives which tricks us into believing we are thee ultimate failure in life.
While there are anecdotes throughout the show which will pretty much resonate with anyone who didn’t simply marry their first love, it’s not all doom and gloom. And as much as it isn’t ‘cool’ to be into musicals these days, the whimsical show tunes here keep things light and fluffy, allowing the audience to leave lol’ing and skipping their way into the night rather than feeling depressed and hopeless. The lyrics are well-written and thought provoking and Titilayo Adedokun just has an amazing stage presence with a voice so incredible that it is almost too big for such a intimate venue. Furthermore, the fact that all the stage paraphernalia and costume changes are kept to a minimum also mean that you can focus more on the songs without being overly distracted.
All in all, 50 Shades of Fairytales is a lovely, uncomplicated little bit of entertainment that tackles the somewhat painful issues associated with modern romance in a fun and quirky way. I’d highly recommend it to anyone who is currently feeling a bit hateful towards the opposite sex and world at large.  It’s on at the Alex for till the end of September and tickets are reasonably priced at just R120 (online), so catch it while you can. You really won’t be disappointed!


Review : Significant Other @ The Fugard Theatre


So, this is a bit of a pointless review as Significant Other is only playing at the Fugard for a few more days but let’s chat about it regardless…

The storyline is a twist on that of a typical chick flick (so great for a girls night out). Jordan Berman, like much of the Tinderverse, is desperately looking for ‘The One’ and again like the majority of 20/30 somethings is failing miserably in that mission. Unfortunately for him, Jordan is at that age where are his friends are rapidly pairing off one by one. To make matters worse, all of his closest girlfriends keep getting hitched. Forcing him to deal with the following :

a) the associated expenses (bachelorettes, destination weddings, wedding gifts, etc)

b) the plus one conundrum 

c) and the fact is expected to support and be happy for his friends (most of whom he knows are just settling) while he is crying inside because his ‘social life’ (as his grandmother calls it) is basically non-existent.

d) Oh, and the fact that not only is he never the bride/groom but he doesn’t even get bridesmaid privledges. Boo hoo.

As any single girl knows while getting yourself a bit of casual sex isn’t all that hard, finding Mr Right is much easier said than done (let’s hop along and find a unicorn at the end of a rainbow instead!).

For what it’s worth, Significant Other is nice light-hearted bit of entertainment. While it’s not to high-brow or taxing on the brain, I think many will be able to relate to it. We’ve all been THAT single person before. There was some debate as to whether or not people liked the shows ending…and more generally whether or not a person needs to be ok enough with themselves to be single forever or whether they should always continue the search for Mr/Miss Right even if they become bitter in the process? Something for you to ponder in the comments below.


Review : #Actorslife @ The Alexander Upstairs


Last night #zlotybaby and I had a date night. Scoffing down at Hokey Poke Bar and then heading to our old time favourite Alexander Bar for more wine and a bit of theatre.

#Actorslife is a one-woman show staring Estelle Terblanche as Christine, a woman in her 20s (we are not quite sure if she is 23, 25 or 27?!) who is trying to make it as an actress in a hugely competitive industry. Endlessly learning lines and trying to impress at auditions, Christine is a bit of a perfectionist who is trying her best to stand out from the crowd to the point that it seems to be causing her to breakdown a little. The play not only shows how the character deals with her career struggles but also the pressures she faces from all angles, from various people who are all intent on offering their expert opinions on her life and career.

Although, most of us probably don’t do anything quite as showbiz as acting, I think a lot of people can relate to the pain of trying to find your feet in the working world. If you are anything like me, you probably left university with aspirations of making the world a better place. But, as is the case in Christine’s story, reality has a way of slapping you straight in the face, bringing all those high hopes you once had tumbling to the ground and forcing you to downgrade your dreams somewhat (like when Christine starts to question how much nudity she’ll allow herself to partake in just to progress in the industry). It’s tough out there, hey?

I won’t give too much more away because I don’t want to ruin it for you. It’s a pretty complex theatrical piece and the acting is excellent. #Actorslife is sadly only doing a short run so is just on for another two nights, 9pm at the Alexander Upstairs. Tickets are very reasonably priced at just R85 (and you can make a saving and get your tickets for R70 by booking online)


Review: In Bocca Al Lupo at Alexander Upstairs


“In Bocca al Lupo” is a third show by Jemma Kahn. You may know her previous work The Epicene Butcher and We Didn’t Come to Hell for the Croissants or not (I didn’t before the show). Even more of a good reason to give her new thing at the Alexander Upstairs a go.

In “In Bocca Al Lupo” Kahn uses her own technique based on a Japanese art form kamishibai. What it means in practice, is that she tells her stories using cardboard story panels which are a crucial part of her monologue. The one woman show is very impressive: the artist talks us through her story at the same time showing us different images that go with it. Her coordination is very impressive (particularly to someone who, like yours truly, finds a Zumba class challenging).

The story Kahn shares with the audience is that of her experience  in Japan. She moved there to work as an English teacher and save some money to continue her studies. Life often doesn’t go according to plans, though. Japanese reality overwhelms Jemma and so do news from home. Last but not least, LOVE comes her way. Will the girl stick to her plan? You’ll have to see the show to find out! You can catch “In Bocca al Lupo” in Alexander Upstairs next week (24th – 29th July). The tickets are 110 rand online on Alexander’s website or 130 rand at the door.

The play is definitely worth seeing, even if it was just for the actress’s acting skills. She knows how to tell a story to captivate the audience. The show wraps up in an hour, which makes the experience adequately entertaining (there’s nothing worse than an unnecessarily extended play). Apart from the graphic side of things, the sound effects are also apt and complete the experience. It’s probably one of the best shows I’ve seen in my life from the technical point of view.

When it comes to the plot, the story was very entertaining but… I must say I was a bit disappointed. The story of a girl moving to a different country is just nothing new. Perhaps for a person who’s never lived abroad it can be interesting to learn that one experiences a culture shock. I also did laugh a lot but I did find her observations about Japan mean towards the country’s culture. “These Japanese people are so weird!”, we learn. Isn’t weird just what we don’t know, though? A bit of cultural sensitivity goes a long way. Also, is one really such a big specialist on a country and its customs after spending not even two years there? Just saying. The same goes for the stories of Jemma’s boyfriends which are slightly cruel. In order to give her audience a good LOL she forgets that they’re actual people, who won’t have any problem recognizing themselves in what is obviously a memoir. Her ex boyfriends become cartoons to serve her show and I wonder how she would feel if she became such a cartoon herself. Perhaps it’s just one of the dangers of dating an artist…

These considerations aside I did have a lot of fun and I was very impressed by Jemma Kahn’s talent. I’d definitely go to see her next show.



Review : Renaissance @ The Alexander Upstairs


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Another date night with my darling #zlotybaby at one of our favourite venues the Alexander Upstairs…

Renaissance is the story of Leon, a socially awkward South African guy doing that typical expat stint in London. He is a failed actor who has ended up taking up a job as a security guard at the National Gallery in London. Leon is from one of those small backwater towns (probably somewhere in the Northern Suburbs :P) where it isn’t much fun growing up, especially as a young gay guy.

Like many of us at one stage in our lives, Leon leaves his homeland hoping that all his dreams will come true in the metropolis. As is usually the case, things don’t go according to plan. Not only does he find himself doing what is possibly the most boring job in the world ever but he also sees his five year relationship come to a miserable end.

However, things start to look up for the protagonist as he strikes up a little ‘romance’ with Yoram, a Syrian refugee who works in the gallery gift shop. Yoram gives Leon a bit of a masterclass in art appreciation and (through the protagonist’s eyes) we see the artworks coming to life during long night shifts at the gallery.  Each of the renaissance paintings has a story and Leon can draw parallels between them and things going on in his own life.

The play was quirky, clever and brilliantly un-PC, which we totally loved (although possibly not something you want to view with a Churchy Tinder date!). The acting from David Viviers who plays Leon as well as Jazzara Jaslyn and Len-Barry Simons was excellent and the jokes were on point. The play also touched on a lot of real-life issues – the challenges of being an expat in a foreign land, the highs and lows of inter-cultural dating, that gut-wrenching moment you cross paths with the ex you just wish had never existed and hopeless stage in our lives when you reach your mid 30s and realise you are not quite where you wanted to be.

The play covers a lot of ground in just over an hour and it’s definitely thought provoking (I mean how often to we get to hear Mother Mary’s opinion of all that went down in that Christmas story!). If you are looking for a bit of theatre that is slightly different from the norm then go see Renaissance.  The Alexander Upstairs is a pretty intimate venue and the opening night had a full house so I’d recommend booking your tickets ASAP.


“Funny Girl” at the Fugard Theatre

funny-girl-posterAnother theatre night for #englishrosiee and I meant watching a new musical at the Fugard Theatre “Funny Girl”. You probably heard of the film version of the story, which made Barbra Streisand famous (ja, it’s THAT old). I didn’t see it and didn’t really know anything about the play before we went to see it. Having said that, I expected the best from the Fugard, which after all rarely disappoints.

The plot is quite interesting and unfortunately still not outdated. Fanny (Ashleigh Harvey) is a girl with a beautiful voice and not so beautiful face. She dreams of a career in theatre but is discouraged to pursue it by her family. Her nearest and dearest are trying to convince her that the most important advantage of a woman is her beauty and this is what people go to see when paying for a performance. Despite discouragement Fanny keeps believing in herself and in her comedic skills. Her stubbornness gets her where she wants to be but that’s only the beginning of the story. Soon after her career takes off she meets a very handsome but rather unreliable man, Nick (Clyde Berning). Will Fanny be forced to choose between her two loves, Nick and the theatre? Will she be successful in her pursuit of happiness? You’ll certainly find out if you manage to catch the musical at the Fugard Theatre in the next two weeks. If you’re not in Cape Town you can always watch the movie.

The plot is certainly a big asset of the play as it’s very involving. The character of Fanny is amiable and we do want her to succeed in all imaginable ways. At the same time we’re all a bit suspicious of Nick and whether he’s any good for her. I’m sure that a lot of ladies in the audience caught themselves remembering the “dangerous” men in their own lives during the play. The actors are really well suited for their roles and there’s a good acting chemistry between them. As much as we know there’s perhaps a much better suitor for Fanny in her surrounding, we do want her and Nick to work out against our better judgment.

The acting of everyone in the show is remarkable, but even more importantly they sing and dance very well. Ms Harvey has a very strong voice which makes the walls tremble. She’s also very funny with her exaggerated facial expressions. Her partner’s voice is perhaps not as great as hers but more than enough for the role. I must say I enjoyed the sensual way in which he talks much more than his singing. This is not to say there’s anything to complain about the latter. The music is really good but the songs are not as catchy as in other musicals. I didn’t leave the theatre humming anything in particular.

The scenography was well prepared but not panty dropping. One should also mention the impressive costumes which are almost exact copies of what the stars wore in the movie (I checked a YouTube video after the show).

To sum up, everything in the musical gets from either 4 out of 5 or 5 stars with the average of 4,5/5. If you have the time to watch it and a spare 300 rand (some tickets are cheaper but that’s what you pay for an uninterrupted view) do yourself a favor and go have some fun watching “Funny Lady”.

Have you seen the movie, Dear Rinser? Perhaps you’re a Capetonian who has seen the play? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section.

Review : The Lover by Harold Pinter @ The Alexander Upstairs


Last night #zlotybaby and I decided to be a bit a cultured for our #rinsebeforeuse date night and catch a show at The Alexander Upstairs. With a title like ‘The Lover’ we figured it was a show that would pique the interest of all our lovely Rinsers.

The Lover written by Harold Pinter tells the story of a standard middle class couple, Sarah and Richard, living a pretty ‘decent’ life in the suburbs.  At first glance, it looks like married life for these two has become pretty stale.  Richard is a respectable banker who spends his days dealing with balance sheets and entertaining overseas clients while Sarah is a typical desperate housewife – doing Pilates, flirting with the milk man and generally twiddling her thumbs all day. It seems her only real purpose in life is to have dinner on the table for her hubby when he gets home from a hard day in the office.

Clearly this couple recognise a need to spice up their relationship somewhat as they come to an agreement whereby Richard promises not to return home from work before 6pm allowing his wife to have mad, passionate sex with her lover who she entertains after lunch a few times a week. Meanwhile he visits his mistress/prostitute – so you know, all is even Stevens in this open relationship of theirs.

Well, that’s until their worlds collide as the couple discuss the four of them meet to indulge in more strange role playing games. Eventually conflict ensues…and I have to stop there because I don’t want to give away the twist in the tale.  So, if you want to get to the bottom you’ll have to take yourself out for the evening and visit the Alexander Upstairs this week.

The tickets are a steal at just R100 each but you’ll need to be speedy as they are selling fast and it’s only on till Thursday.  It’s a great performance and seeing as it is only an hour long it is even suitable for those with low attention spans (take those Tinder boys!). The acting by Sjaka S.Septembir and Caroline Midgley is excellent and the show contains quite a few good LOL moments so I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. Beyond the giggles though, the story also raises some important questions about the monotony of married life, the ‘difficulties’ faced by kept women and the extent to which we need to be open-minded when it comes to keeping the spark alive in a long-term relationship.

OK, Dear Rinsers…If you’ve seen this version of The Lover let us know your thoughts in the comments below. Alternatively, feel free to share stories about your lovers, favourite prostitutes and the lengths you’d be willing to go to keep things interesting. We are all friends here and sharing is caring! 

Review: LOVE SEX FLEAS GOD – Confessions of a Stay-At-Home-Dad @ The Alexander Upstairs

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As most of our readers are well aware traditional gender roles are changing partly due to this thing known as a male defecit and it is becoming increasingly common for the woman in a relationship to be more educated/career-driven than the man.  Naturally, as a result of this trend, with women becoming breadwinners and being eager to get back to work after popping out those screaming kids it falls (or should do at least) to the father to pick up much more of the child-rearing. I admit we do sometimes get a bit carried away from time to time with our bitching and moaning about men these days being nothing but a bunch of good for nothing lazy mama’s boys but there are also some guys who’ve successfully managed to embrace change and do pull their weight in a relationship.  And LOVE, SEX, FLEAS, GOD is actually a play about one of the good guys.

As the title indicates this play provides some insights into the life of a Stay-At-Home-Dad named Bruce whose job it is to take care of his two kids Angus and Anastasia while his wife works as a big shot banker and brings home the bacon. Based on an autobiographical account this stage adaptation tells us the story of how initially Bruce is rather shocked to hear those dreaded words ‘I’m Late’ and learn that he is going to be a father (after all his family all thought he was gay even when he got married!). But he comes to accept his new role and tries to embrace the pulling power that comes with having cute baby Angus as his wingman.

Once you move past the comedy element of the show, the audience learns that in order to become a good parent Bruce has had to overcome the issues from his own toxic childhood. It turns out that his Mother was brainwashed by Scientologists and was forever swanning off on Scientology missions and returning with a different man on her arm while Bruce and his sister were left to be brought up by their Scottish grandmother. To make matters worse in addition to an overwhelmingly absent father, much of Bruce’s extended family are nothing more than a dysfunctional bunch of perverts.

Despite his turbulent childhood and even a stint on the streets, Bruce doesn’t use this as an excuse to shirk his responsibilities as a Father. I think this story is also a reminder of how self-indulgent most millennials are these days. Many of us delay settling down to focus on our own self-development – travelling, career, puppies, etc. While I still stand by my belief that this a good thing for most people, the truth is that for there are also some cases where parenthood can be an overwhelmingly positive thing in a person’s life and exactly what is needed to give them some purpose and direction.

The character of Bruce is portrayed brilliantly by David Muller in this one man production. Props are minimal, consisting of nothing more than a blue blanket, a teddy bear and a few pieces of Lego (my date and I suddenly felt inspired and ended up going down a rabbit hole doing some quick google research on the history of Lego before the show kicked off!). The lack of paraphernalia and other distractions on the stage allows the audience to focus on the dialogue.

LOVE, SEX, FLEAS, GOD is playing at the intimate  Alexander Upstairs until the 29th April 2017 and with tickets priced at just R90 (R80 online), it is well worth watching. People who’ve had kids of their own will probably identify with much of what is said and I think the show could provide some inspiration to those considering a career in parenting.

The Cock Lodger – Men Who ‘Date’ To Save on Rent


If you are the kinda girl who is searching for that traditional idea of happily ever after, people will probably warn against letting a guy stay over after the first (or second or third) date regardless how great the sparkles are. Agh, forget ‘people’, there are self-help guides written by professionals that letting a dude into your personal space to early on in a relationship just serves to show him how super keen you are and is, therefore, a recipe for disaster in the long run. There is no doubt that giving a partner access to your humble abode (and vice versa) is a pretty significant step. Someone’s home gives you a pretty intimate insight into them. Sure they can do a quick tidy-up and remove all traces of that secret wife and kids but if you stick around long enough you’ll find signs of who they really are. Naturally, inviting anyone into your home comes with a whole host of dangers (and no I’m not talking about the potential of them being a serial killer). Today Rinsers, I want to talk to you about Cock Lodgers, a special breed of the males species who comes over to stay the night and then NEVER leave.

It is common knowledge that millennials are pretty screwed when it comes to the property market. Most of our generation are probably never going to own property and its pretty ‘normal’ in cities like New York, London and Paris  (and now even Cape Town) for ‘kids’ to stay living at home with their Olds well into their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s in the hopes of saving up enough for a deposit on a shack to call their own. I’ve already voiced my views on the implications of this trend on a person’s prospects of holding down a healthy relationship. But there are also this growing breed of mama’s boys for whom property prices don’t feature in their decision to live at home – it’s all about staying close to the only woman who’ll wash their dirty boxers, pack their favourite lunches and even fetch the remote when he needs to change the TV channel.

Sure there are financial benefits (and others) for not having a place of your own but you can’t avoid the problems this can cause when it comes to dating, relationships and various other types of sexual encounters. Life would surely be more straightforward if you had some private space to take your latest squeeze home to, right? Yes but no but. You see these cunning little foxes out there who have found a way to play the system. Don’t have a place of your own? There is a simple solution. ‘Date’ a girl who does.

Of course, if you are part of the population who does value your independence and would rather opt to live on a diet of two-minute noodles for the rest of your days than live with Mummy and Daddy forevermore, then the decision to let another human into your precious castle is not one which should be taken lightly. Obviously, there comes a time in any blossoming relationship when one needs to remove the relationship from the public eye. If you happen to be dating someone who is pretty much your equal you’ll be faced with the simple question of your place or mine? You’ll take turns to have sleepovers and not much more needs to be said.

But how about when the dude your dating doesn’t really have a place of his own where the two of you can get up to no good without the prying eyes of his dear mama or possibly worse, he spends his life couch surfing from one friends sofa to the next until he outstays his welcome? Well… enter the cock lodger! A cock lodger can be defined as the type of guy who attaches himself to an independent, established woman and in return for his services in the bedroom (at a minimum) he expects to be given full squatting rights in her home.

It’ll all start out pretty innocently. He’ll stay over one night, then a whole weekend, slowly you’ll find him leaving his stuff around your place and claiming space in your wardrobe. Because he is about so much, a naive young lady maybe tempted to give him a set of keys. Of course, if his performance in bed is mindblowing and he does some basic DIY around the house one may convince themselves that this is a mutually beneficial arrangement. However, over time having a cock lodger squatting in your home and not pulling their weight financially in a ‘relationship’ becomes tiresome for even the most patient of women.

Chances are the moment he is given his marching orders will mark the end of this love affair as the Cock Lodger will need to start missioning to find his next victim (that or move back to his mama). In some cases, he may grovel and promise you the world (seriously, don’t fall foR it) or the worst case scenario he will fight back and try to make you out to be a heartless materialist, racist or some other hateful creature. Don’t listen. It’s just an opportunity for the Cock Lodger to pull you back in. The best way to get yourself out of this messy situation is to avoid confrontation. Sure it’s nice having a guy around the house (for security and reaching the high shelves) but do not negotiate. Remember you have bills to pay and if he can’t contribute he has to go. Having a Cock Lodger on your premises is just another form of transactional sex (if indeed you were getting serviced at all!). So change the locks. Go on holiday if you must. Stop indulging yet another weak man. Cock Lodger Be Gone!!!

Rinsers – Have you ever experienced a cock lodger (or whatever the female version is called)? How did you get rid of them? Is a cock lodger nothing more than a symptom of our times where mummy’s boy and lazy men take advantage of supposedly strong, capable but somewhat naive women? Comment below!

Review : MATE @ Alexander Upstairs


Being a single girl in your 30s is hard. Constantly being reminded by your friends, family and even randoms on the street that you are no longer a spring chicken and that the biological clock is ticking is not much fun. But the thing is you are not alone on the shelf (and this my friends is part of the problem!). Set in a ‘Love Recovery’ workshop led by a therapist (played by Samantha Gray) who doesn’t hold back when it comes to giving it to her clients straight, MATE is a hybrid live/filmed performance which follows the trials and tribulations of three very different 30 somethings (all of whom are played amazingly well by Alicia McCormick) attempting to deal with the painful realities of modern dating.

The first of the three singletons is the ever-so-sweet hopeless romantic Sarah who is simultaneously trying to get over her ex and doing everything in her power to find happily ever after (she even tries to do the whole Eat, Pray, Love thing by going to Paris). Then there is the somewhat crass Afrikaans chick, Jeanine who has been through her fair share of douche bags and understands that at some point one has to cut her losses and settle for a one-legged shop-keeper. Finally, there is the ‘Sloaney’ one, Elaine. A career woman of the highest pedigree, a typical Alpha female who has failed to meet a man who meets her high standards (or even just some basic understanding of English grammar!).

This humorous two-woman show, based on real-life experiences, really gets stuck into the nitty gritty of life as 21st-century woman. While having a laugh at the expense of the Tinder generation has become quite a thing these days, what sets MATE apart from other similar shows that it also makes light of how seriously a lot of us take our mission to find love; investing lots of time and money in self-help books and therapy, when actually the people peddling this stuff are probably just as hopeless as we are. At some points, this tragicomedy does get painfully close to the bone and I could certainly tell from the audience’s reaction and comments that there were lots of people who could personally identify with the stories.

Anybody who has tried their hand at online dating will be able to relate and even those that are happily settled down will enjoy the humour. I have to say I was surprised at the number of guys in the audience – but they all seemed to enjoy themselves so it’s all good! So whether you are just looking for some light entertainment or for a little bit of cynicism during this sickly sweet month of love, I’d definitely recommend seeing MATE. It is playing at the intimate Alexander Upstairs theatre till the 18th February and the first two nights were sold out so book ahead of time to avoid disappointment.