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Soho Theatre

  • Theatre
  • Soho
  • Recommended
  1. Soho Theatre entrance (Heloise Bergman / Time Out)
    Heloise Bergman / Time Out
  2. Soho Theatre sign (Andrew Brackenbury / Time Out)
    Andrew Brackenbury / Time Out
  3. Soho Theatre performace (Andrew Brackenbury / Time Out
)
    Andrew Brackenbury / Time Out

  4. Soho Theatre performace (Heloise Bergman / Time Out)
    Heloise Bergman / Time Out
  5. Soho Theatre exterior (Heloise Bergman  / Time Out)
    Heloise Bergman / Time Out
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Time Out says

This neon-lit Soho venue is a megastore for the best comedy and fringe shows in town

Its cool blue neon lights, front-of-house café and occasional late-night shows may blend it into the Soho landscape, but since taking up residence on Dean Street in 2000 Soho Theatre has made quite a name for itself.

Across three studio spaces, it puts on an eclectic line-up of work from some of the biggest names in comedy, spoken word, and cabaret, and hosts at least six different shows a night. If ever there were a place in London to get a year-round taste of the Edinburgh Fringe it's here, with its eclectic programming, late shows and ever-buzzing bar. Just don't expect to find deep-fried haggis on the menu - teas, coffees, and wine are the order of the day at Soho Theatre's chic cafe/bar, which is reliably packed out after 6pm.

It has to be said that Soho excels in almost every area apart from the production of good in-house theatre shows, something it's consistently struggled with (though it has many fine co-productions). But this barely impacts on anybody's good time, and it's hard to hold it against the most fun theatre in central London.

Details

Address:
21 Dean St
London
W1D 3NE
Transport:
Tube: Tottenham Court Rd
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What’s on

‘The Ministry of Lesbian Affairs’ review

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Drama

The rainbow flag offers an idealised portrait of the LGBTQ-plus community: people of different stripes co-existing in harmony, each taking up an equal amount of space. But the reality is messier, scribbled over with conflicts and inequalities. Iman Qureshi's warm, complex play 'The Ministry of Lesbian Affairs' explores just how difficult it is to create a queer space, while showing how beautiful it can be when the stars align. Things start out in pretty formulaic style. Each week, a disparate gaggle of lesbians meet up in a leaky-roofed hall to sing in a choir, with the lofty goal of performing on the main stage at Pride. There's wildly confident womaniser Ellie (Fanta Barrie), hyper-woke academic Ana (Claudia Jolly), and her reluctantly-tagging-along butch engineer girlfriend Lori (Kibong Tanji) who turns out to have an amazing singing voice, all arranged into an approximation of harmony by self-styled OWL (older wiser lesbian) Connie (Shuna Snow). It could all be the beginnings of a dykier, hopefully less doomed remake of 'Glee'. But Qureshi's play is way smarter than that. She toys enjoyably with lesbian cliches (sensible footwear, veganism, buzzcuts) only to reach beyond them to tell less familiar stories. Like that of Dina (an engagingly puppyish Lara Sawalha), a Muslim woman who throws herself into choir as an escape from her forbidding husband. Or that of the faltering romance between trans woman Brig (Mariah Louca), and Fi (Kiruna Stamell), who campaigns fruitlessly

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