From a teen musical favourite to enchanting circus, there's lots to enjoy...
High School Musical, Grove Theatre, Dunstable,
February 22 to 24
Rare, the UK’s largest youth musical theatre company, presents the Disney smash hit musical. It unfolds on the first day after winter break at East High. The Jocks, Brainiacs, Thespians and Skater Dudes find their cliques, recount their vacations, and look forward to the new year. Basketball team captain and resident jock, Troy, discovers that the brainy Gabriella, a girl he met singing karaoke on his ski trip, has enrolled at East High. They cause an upheaval when they decide to audition for the high school musical, led by Ms Darbus. Although many students resent the threat posed to the status quo, Troy and Gabriella’s alliance might just open the door for others to shine as well.
Does My Bomb Look Big In This?, Hat Factory, Luton,
A dark comedy exploring identity, race, culture and radicalisation through the eyes of two British Muslim teenagers comes to the Hat Factory. Does My Bomb Look Big in This? tells of Aisha and Yasmin, and promises a “stark reflection on our fractured society with an insight into the turbulent millennial world”.
Watra, Storefront, 64 Bute Street, Luton, until March 25
Polish artist Karolina Lebek explores her Lemko heritage through traditional songs and singing as one of the factors that continue to unite this now dispersed community. Lebek will investigate themes of migration, displacement and assimilation informed by experiences of the Lemko community, an ethnic minority forcibly removed from their ancestral homeland in the Carpathian Mountains in a series of violent deportations, culminating in Operation Vistula in 1947. Merging sound, video, photography and sculpture, Karolina’s work “exists as a record of getting inside of a scar, reaching towards the most vulnerable source that yet radiates strength”. Karolina has lived and worked in Luton for many years and graduated from the University of Bedfordshire, before studying at the Royal College of Art.
Cirque Enchantment, Grove Theatre, Dunstable, February 25
A mystical world of frozen beauty and magical adventure is promise when Cirque Enchantment takes to the stage. Audiences are invited to join Scarlett, a young girl with a big imagination and even bigger voice. As she reads her enchanted storybook, the circus in her mind comes to life live on stage. What follows is an adventure through good and evil, led by the captivating vocals of Miss Enchantra. With an eclectic musical soundtrack that offers something for everyone, including current hits from One Direction, Sia, Paloma Faith, Rihanna and Beyonce in addition to a mix of classical, rock, dance and classic favourites, Cirque Enchantment promises a striking production that will delight adults and children in equal measure.
Dom Pipkin, Bear Club, Luton, February 23
One of Europe’s most spirited blues and jazz piano players brings his acclaimed one-man show to Luton Dom Pipkin has performed extensively in New Orleans and shared stages with international icons Allen Toussaint, Dr John and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins.
His work has ranged from teaching Jonathan Ross the piano to privately entertaining the film director, Stanley Kubrick, and performing to the opening committee of the 2012 London Olympics. He has recorded and toured with Paul Weller, Paloma Faith, Ray Davis, Morcheeba, David Byrne, Guy Barker, Ella Eyre, John Newman, Pee Wee Ellis and Laura Mvula. He also has dozens of radio and TV appearances to his credit and is in constant demand on the capital’s live music scene.
Dom’s show has been a huge success in the West End’s Phoenix Artist Club, and tells the story of “bad boys, bourbon, and the Big Easy” and the tragic and inspirational stories of characters such as Jelly Roll Morton, Dr John, Professor Longhair, and the “Purple Prince of the Piano”, James Booker.