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“The whole year was timed out,” recalls comedian Steve Shanyaski of March 2020. “I was supporting John Bishop on tour, I had gigs lined up. Then lockdown happened and my whole diary turned white. I’ve never experienced anything like it in my life. It felt alien.”
Few stand-up comedians are laughing these days, with Covid-19 decimating their industry. So raise a glass to Kiri Pritchard-McLean, who has been providing much-needed gigs for her fellow comics, and raising thousands for charity, via her online “pub”, The Covid Arms.
Theatre is due to return – again – in December, after a stop-start year of openings and closures. Now, numerous shows depend on the government ending the second lockdown on December 2, as announced, in order to bring us some Christmas cheer.
This was quite the Bizarro World Strictly, with a sadly absent Nicola and Katya, Motsi joining Bruno in Zoom purgatory, and Anton du Beke finally wearing the producers down and getting his shot at judging – the equivalent of a small child pleading for ice cream repeatedly during a six-hour drive. Yes, fine, don’t spill it everywhere, don’t wreck the show, and let’s all try to ignore the fact that Anton critiquing someone else’s Latin is surely one of the signs of the apocalypse. Along with, you know, the plague.
There was drama both on and off the Strictly floor this week, with the sad departure of Nicola Adams and Katya Jones, due to a positive Covid test, and Anton du Beke stepping in for quarantining judge Motsi Mabuse.
After landing in the dreaded dance-off last week, Nicola Adams confronted the terrible possibility of leaving Strictly Come Dancing. Now, the worst has happened, but for a completely different reason: her professional partner, Katya Jones, has tested positive for Covid-19, taking them both out of the competition for good.
In November 2018, the Old Vic staged a series of five solo performances, curated by Arinzé Kene and directed by Annabel Bolton, to mark 100 years since the Armistice. Presented without scenery or costumes, they aimed to remind us of the power of a single voice.