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Author Archives: Polly Allen

When the Friendship Has Sailed, C Venues: C Aquila, Edinburgh Festival Fringe – Review

Pros: A versatile cast, clever props and a well-rounded piece that delivers lots of humour alongside the take-home message. The cast and crew should be proud. Cons: None. Loneliness is a hot topic that can leave you out in the cold. We’ve known for decades that it affects the elderly, but the media has only discussed loneliness in millennials and upwards in the last few years. Carrie, the protagonist of When the Friendship Has Sailed, has a goldfish to talk ...

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Pity, Royal Court – Review

Pros: British clichés and drama tropes are nailed, aided by a vast number of fun props and different music styles, from rap to community brass band tunes. The cast is a deliberate cross-section of modern Britain, with some stand-out performances. Cons: At times it feels like the weirdness factor is cranked up just for a reaction, with little relevance to the plot. A seemingly relentless war section labours its writer’s and director’s point. It must be a nightmare to clear ...

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For King and Country, Southwark Playhouse – Review

Pros: The cast can sustain tension and passion; it is genuinely moving to watch this less-discussed side of WWI history. Cons: A stiflingly hot venue makes several audience members lose concentration; due to the thrust stage, some lines are hard to hear when actors aren’t facing you. At the end of this month, it will be 101 years since the Battle of Passchendaele began. It lasted until November 1917. Unlike the current British heatwave, Passchendaele started with heavy rainfall, turning ...

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A Lesson from Auschwitz, New Wimbledon Theatre – Review

Pros: By honing in on Höss, Hyland’s play doesn’t choose the obvious Holocaust perpetrators (Hitler, Himmler, Mengele et al). Cons: Crescendos in Höss’ speech become distracting; likewise, proximity to the audience and prolonged emphasis of gestures can overkill the intensity. The term ‘political hygiene’ is a chilling one, especially when spoken by Rudolf Höss, commandant of Auschwitz-Birkenau, a place he has just described as ‘the largest human slaughterhouse in history’. Hearing these words on a hot Saturday night in gentrified ...

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