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Off West End

Ah, the Off West End. For those not familiar with the term, this is where the real magic of the London theatre scene happens. Great shows are born here, in pubs, in 50-seat theatres, in tunnels. Recommended for the adventurous – we can’t get enough of it, and you’ll save a quid or two as well!

Somersaults, Finborough Theatre

Iain Finlay MacleodDirected by Russell Bolam★★★ Pros: Great movement and high production values throughout.Cons: The show is a little disjointed to begin with and doesn’t quite challenge the audience enough. Our Verdict: This is a play which goes some distance in tackling an important subject matter but sadly it doesn’t have quite enough depth. Courtesy of the Finborough Theatre Somersaults is a play which explores the importance of Scots Gaelic to our protagonist as his life in London begins to unravel. The writer Iain Finlay ...

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A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Lion and Unicorn Theatre

William Shakespeare Presented by the Grassroots Shakespeare Company London ★★★★ Pros: Tremendously funny, great use of language and an engaging, vibrant cast. Cons: Despite cuts, it’s still a bit long. Our Verdict: An incredibly approachable, tasteful, and uproarious Shakespeare production. Courtesy of Grassroots Shakespeare My main complaint about productions of Shakespeare’s plays is always that they either tend to be tired, unoriginal and stale, or that they try too hard to be original and lose all the sense and beauty ...

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Seasonal, Old Red Lion Theatre

Presented by BackHere! Theatre Company★★★ Pros: A really diverse mix of Christmas stories with a lot of interest and cleverly written twists. Excellent stage direction and use of the space and minimal set throughout, with some notably good performances. Cons: Not all of the writing is witty or tight enough to make these dramas about the nuances of everyday situations interesting and punchy; at times there are some slow moments therefore. Some of the acting is a little forced and ...

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The Tempest, Lion and Unicorn Theatre

William Shakespeare Presented by the Grassroots Shakespeare Company London★★★★ Pros: A wonderfully modern, high energy production filled with great jokes, lovely acting and lots of amusing pop culture references. Cons: If you’re a serious Shakespearean scholar you might find this production a bit silly and it felt a teensy bit too long overall. Our Verdict: A fun and unpretentious production from a great theatre company. This show is perfect for anyone seeking a fun night out and it is also ...

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A Thornton Wilder Christmas, King’s Head Theatre

The Happy Journey to Trenton and Camden and The Long Christmas DinnerThornton WilderDirected by Tim Sullivan★★★ Pros: A brilliant script filled with excellent characters, lots of laughs and some very good acting. Cons: The first act seemed to labour in places and some of the performances were a bit unpolished at times. Our Verdict: Well worth a look. The show is Christmassy without being nauseating. Courtesy of Saviour Theatre Company Thornton Wilder is a multi-award-winning American author and playwright, probably ...

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Salomé, The Old Cholmeley Boys’ Club

Oscar WildeDirected by Anastasia Revi★★★ Pros: The Old Cholmeley Boys’ Club – a dilapidated church like building on the outside, and a lavish looking dining hall on the inside – is perfectly suited to the luxurious circumstances and persistent ominous-ness of the piece. The costumes by Valentina Sanna are exquisite. Cons: While the script itself definitely calls for heightened emotion, I found this to be over dramatised in many instances – a greater variety in delivery would have been welcome. ...

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Dead Static, Hen and Chickens Theatre

Written and directed by Steve Jordan★★★ Pros: A witty script written by a clearly talented and intelligent writer. Cons: The characters seemed a bit one dimensional; Tyler very angry, Gary very dim. Not even the more personal moments or the very end made me fully believe in the characters. Our Verdict: A quite clever and amusing script is performed relatively well in this production. Courtesy of ManMoth Productions Imagine you’re in a post-apocalyptic future where earth has been burnt asunder ...

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Unbroken Line, Ovalhouse Theatre

Jamie ZubairiDirected by Kath Burlinson★★★ Pros: A fantastic and engaging one-man performance, funny and poignant. Cons: Some higher stakes would have really sealed the deal for this piece. The incorporation of visual art into the performance was perhaps overstated somewhat. Our Verdict: An entertaining and thoughtful exploration of personal and artistic identity. Courtesy of the Ovalhouse Jamie Zubairi is a writer, painter, actor, and dancer, and in the Ovalhouse Theatre’s current upstairs production, Unbroken Line, he showcases all of his ...

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Mydidae, Soho Theatre

Jack ThorneDirected by Vicky Jones★★★ Pros: The vibrant conversation and wit between the two characters in the first half of the show was delivered perfectly. Cons: I thought David’s action two-thirds of the way through the play was unexplainable and Marian’s response equally bizarre even taking into consideration the severe sadness they’ve had in their lives. Our Verdict: An interesting concept with strong performances from the two actors. Unfortunately the characters’ histories don’t quite match up with their behaviour on ...

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Everyday Maps for Everyday Use, Finborough Theatre

Tom Morton-SmithDirected by Beckie Mills★★★★ Pros: Fascinating script and great acting. Cons: It’s a shame there is nowhere to have a drink before the show! Our Verdict: A great piece of new writing. Don’t miss this one. Courtesy of the Finborough Theatre It was with great regret that I arrived at the Finborough to find that the wine bar which used to be below the theatre has gone into administration (a less successful by-product of the Olympics we’re told). I ...

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