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No tickets to the Games? Perhaps you’d prefer a trip to the theatre instead. London’s theatres have responded to the Olympics fever spreading across the city with a slew of particularly sporty shows. Take your pick from the following:
Chariots of Fire at the Gielgud Theatre, Until 10 Nov
A fantastic display of 1920s sportsmanship, this show takes the Oscar-winning film and transforms it into an inventive piece of theatre. With a wonderful cast and a gorgeous score, Chariots of Fire will leave you feeling really patriotic about Team GB as you’re treated to the story of Harold Abrahams and Eric Liddel’s triumphs from another age.
1936 at Sadler’s Wells, Until 5 Aug
Sadler’s Wells is recreating a darker side of the Olympic Games this summer with 1936 – Tom McNab’s examination of the power and the politics behind the Berlin Games hosted by Nazi Germany in the titular year. The political compromises and manipulations are laid bare; although the athletes are still given the chance to shine, McNab’s piece asks if sport can ever surpass politics.
Complete World of Sports at the Arts Theatre, Until 25 Aug
The silly (but hugely clever) chaps from the Reduced Shakespeare Company are back in town this time with a show about sport. This is the European premiere of the Complete World of Sports, and the team have had to make a few amendments to suit our slightly different sporting tastes in the UK. Wherever you’re from, you’re sure to enjoy their irreverent take on sporting history, featuring everything from cavemen’s games to the clichés of modern sports commentators.
Playing The Games at the Criterion Theatre, Until 12 Aug
The Criterion Theatre is running a whole series of events, plays, talks and suchlike to celebrate the Games. As well as Sporting Stories Before Bedtime (10 Aug) by Brian Blessed, Stephen Fry and Eddie Izzard, there’s an evening of entertainment from Alan Davies and some top lunchtime conversations between actors and stars. The two theatre shows that form part of Playing The Games are After The Party by Serge Cartwright (about two best friends trying to make their dreams come true as the Olympics roll into their neighbourhood) and Taking Part by Adam Brace, the story of a Congolese security guard with plans to swim for his country at the 2012 Olympics.
Run, Brer Rabbit, Run at the Chickenshed Theatre Until 4 Aug
If you’re looking for a child-friendly sports show to entertain the little ones, Run, Brer Rabbit, Run from Chickenshed might be the perfect solution. Based on the traditional Brer Rabbit stories, Run, Brer Rabbit, Run features the well-known characters causing mayhem when they collide with the present day London Olympics. Your kids’ imaginations can run wild as they follow the mischievous Brer Rabbit and his friends on crazy adventures and cheer them on as they go for gold! The show is suitable for babies to kids up to the age of seven.
Sports Play at the Chelsea Theatre, 30 July-4 Aug
Sports Play is the English language premiere of Austrian Elfriede Jelinek’s cool, clever 1998 play about the marketing and sale of the human body and of emotions in sport. In this show, Jelinek considers sport as a medium for chauvinism and fanaticism – sport as war – but with her trademark mix of anger and irony.
Endure: A Run Woman Show at the Riverside Studios, 2-5 Aug
If all that sporting action makes you want to get involved, here’s a novel idea from the Riverside Studios. Endure invites you to follow actress and runner Melanie Jones across 5kn of public parklands, walking, running and engaging physically with the performer in what’s described as â€œan immersive dance theatre performance experienceâ€! You’ll be loaned an MP3 player to listen to the rich narrative and musical soundtrack while the performance unfolds. Jones’ show will give you an intimate view into the mind and body of a marathon runner: if you’re a fan of quirky theatre, this is one show you just can’t miss!
Have you seen any more sporty theatre shows in London? Let us know in the comments below.