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Alternative

Fancy something a bit different from the norm? Something immersive, or something taking place in a caravan perhaps? Here you’ll find reviews of some of the most interesting and unique shows that we’ve seen.

vessel, Battersea Arts Centre – Review

Sue MacLaine - vessel (Credit Hugo Glendinning) (7)_resized

Pros: Let’s talk about an intriguing piece of abstract art Cons: Let’s talk about intense inscrutability Let’s talk about conceptual theatre. This is not a play in any conventional sense, jettisoning character and plot in favour of something almost entirely different. Let’s talk about four women sitting in a row on chairs within vivid yellow circles as though hemmed in by the whirls of an enormous highlighter pen. Let’s talk about reading and repeating lines that all begin “Let’s talk ...

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Mirabel, Ovalhouse – Review

Mirabel Production Photos

©The Other Richard

Pros: Mirabel is a highly original and emotionally affecting tale of loss and learning. Cons: The abstract narrative can be challenging and sometimes hard to follow. The end of the world has rarely been a cheerful affair. In films, television, novels, and of course, the Bible, the apocalyptic event has usually been described in terms of fiery chaos, fractured earth, and the horror of mass death. We are not short of inspiration for such imaginings, whether looking to the past, ...

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Fans, Canada Water Theatre – Review

Pros: Theatre and live music gig for the price of one! Cons: The show is on tour with only short stops, so you’ll have to be quick off the mark to see it! Nina Berry’s show Fans is described as a performance for anyone who has ever loved music – i.e., everyone. Indeed, it is hard to think of anyone who wouldn’t be charmed by the humour, energy and sheer joyfulness of Fans. It’s a beautiful production peppered with excellent musical hits, ...

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Buddha Babies, The Soho Theatre – Review

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Evenings with the Crick Crack Club begin with a call and response: the word ‘CRICK’ prompts the audience to inform their storyteller that they are open to listening, and therefore you are required to reply emphatically ‘CRACK’. Thus begins a slightly barmy, but beautiful evening of storytelling. Buddha Babies, with story teller Xanthe Gresham Knight, is a complex and hilarious exploration of what it means to be ‘childless’, with whatever connotations that might carry for a woman, negative or positive. In the ...

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Two Little Ducks, The Albany – Review

Two Little Ducks by Matt Abbott. Matthew Thomas Photo_4243 sml

Pros: Two Little Ducks speaks to the present with unaffected language that cuts to the heart. Cons: While the poems are all beautiful, the show’s impact could be enhanced with a shorter run-time.   In the aftermath of the Brexit vote, news crews filed report after report from places that might otherwise have never made national headlines. Towns and cities long-ignored and long-suffering were suddenly in the news for voting to leave. In poet Matt Abbott’s town of Wakefield, two-thirds ...

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The Cloak and Dagger Show, Sweet Grassmarket (Grassmarket 3) – Review

The Cloak and Dagger Show

Pros: A great combination of theatre and history. Cons: More polished storytelling required. When it comes down to walking tours I consider myself an expert – this is my favourite way to get to know a city. That’s why I was very excited to join The Cloak and Dagger Show, a first-time Fringe act with a well-established older sibling in London. The company’s mission is to share with their audience the surviving stories from the Jacobean period that revolve around ...

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The Time Capsule, Landor Theatre – Review

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Pros: Audience engagement through a novel mechanism involving ping pong bats Cons: A muddled, confused plot, riddled with inconsistency The Time Capsule bills itself as a “pick your own adventure” play, in the manner of those books where you make moral or logical choices to determine which page you turn to continue the story. You’re handed a ping pong bat on entering the theatre, one side red, one black. Its purpose is explained through mime: each actor appears in turn, and ...

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Breaking Out Season: Kiss Chase & Guy, The Bunker – Review

Guy 07 - photographers credit-Simon J Webb _ Jack The Lad magazine

Pros: The second show, Guy, is enough to make the whole evening worthwhile Cons: With such contrast between the two shows, a question mark has to be put over the decision to schedule these on the same evening The Bunker’s remit is new contemporary theatre, and with its short Breaking Out Season it is certainly meeting that. Six shows rotating over a month is a great introduction to these emerging theatre groups.  Two shows each night, with the chance to ...

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