Normally, 'Blue Monday' joins 'Black Friday' and 'Cyber Monday' as one of those not-actually-a-thing days you can safely ignore; the term was first dreamt up to sell holidays by a travel company PR in 2005. But midway through lockdown #3, this Monday feels bluer than an adult panto joke, Paul Hollywood's eyes and Eiffel 65 put together.
It's gloomy outside, and everyone's emotional batteries are all but empty after a year of world events whisking away plans and depriving us of human contact. So I guess there are two options for the rest of today; try to press on, or just give up and wallow in what will hopefully be the gloomiest day in a rapidly-improving year. And if you want to go for the latter, we've got a few ideas...
💙 Watch a weepy stage classic
You've only got until Wednesday 20th January to rent War Horse on NT at Home; a sweeping wartime adventure that's set decades of theatregoers sniffling into their programmes. Or weep along (with a classy French accent) to [Marguerite and Armand], a gorgeous story of heartbreak from Royal Ballet.
💙 Revel in classic musical theatre torch songs
Torch songs are laments of unrequited passion, so they're perfect for anyone who's missing the regular company of their true love, theatre. Sulk to your favourites, or discover some new ones with this Spotify playlist.
💙 Take a bath (with an arty twist)
Judging by the number of tub-based shows right now, baths are the new wild swimming (minus the goose pimples and duck poo); discover why with Swimming Home, which explores the wonders of water via specially designed app Mercurious.
💙 Embrace the January darkness
Put something dark, gothic, weird (and free!) into your evening with Waltz of the Hommelettes, a filmed performance that London International Mime Festival has dug out of its substantial archives. Eerie fairytale puppets cavort across the stage in three stories from the Brothers Grimm, creating uncanny images that'll linger in your brain all week.
💙 Or... shake all your blues away
Twitter account Dancers on Film is an incredible way to discover some of the most energising moments of dance on screen from bygone years; or take those steps off the screen by trying some of the new online workshops in Rambert's recently launched Home Studio.
If all else fails, theatrically stamping about in a silk dressing gown is a very 'Noël Coward' kind of way to signal your displeasure with world affairs; if nothing else, we've earned the right to flounce. But first, do read on for more performance-related things to fill your week with.
Until next week, Stage Savvy
ASK LYN: What does Brexit mean for theatre?
"If it is tricky to get a ham sandwich between Dover and Brussels, just think how hard it will be to move a theatre company with dozens of cast and backstage crew members and lots of scenery around Europe."
“We’re a place for the waifs and strays of the theatre world"
Lyn Gardner interviews the co-directors of London International Mime Festival - which is hosting a free online fest of some of its uncategorisable but astonishing shows from previous years.
QUOTES OF THE WEEK
"I like a perfect rhyme. I don’t like time and mine, or girl and world.”
- Legendary lyricist Tim Rice tells The Guardian about his perfectionist tendencies.
"All performance feels experimental now. Once theater or dance has been melted into the borderless online Uncanny Valley, it’s automatically hybridized, globalized, mediatized."
- Helen Shaw writes in Vulture on the weirdness of New York's January festivals - available online for the first time ever.
OPENING THIS WEEK
London International Mime Festival (Online 11 - 15 Jan)
Discover a quirky, gorgeous array of shows at this free online fest
Faith Healer (Online 20 - 22 Jan) Michael Sheen stars in Brian Friel's masterful play, as staged by Old Vic: In Camera
Crips Without Constraints (Available on demand)
Lyn Gardner recommends disabled-led company Graeae's new batch of online plays, starring some "very fine actors"
Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Hung Parliament (Online From 27 Jan)
Lyn Gardner reckons Les Enfant Terribles online mystery is "well worth donning your deerstalker."
Monday Night at the Apollo (Opening 12 Apr, tickets from £24)
A brand new socially-distanced concert series starring Rosalie Craig, Aimee Atkinson, Cedric Neal & more.
Jersey Boys (Opening 14 Apr, tickets from £24)
The bright & perky '60s musical is tapping its way back into the West End this spring
Leopoldstadt (Opening 12 Jun, ti ckets from £24)
Tom Stoppard's passionate drama of love, family and endurance
To Kill A Mockingbird (Opening 27 May, tickets from £24)
Rhys Ifans plays the iconic role of Atticus Finch in Aaron Sorkin's adaptation of the classic novel