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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!

Waiting on Shakespeare, The Courtyard

Michael Harry Directed by Christopher Jefferies ★★★ Pros: A fun window into the world of Elizabethan acting and its famous historical characters. Cons: In an attempt to include interesting historical facts and insight, the script was clunky in places, giving the tone of a school history lesson. Our Verdict: A brilliant homage to the revered Samuel Beckett and his respected Waiting for Godot, as well as to the period and playwright to which we owe much of England’s theatrical gravitas. ...

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A Bit of a Hitch, The Courtyard

Written and directed by Michael Harry ★★★ Pros: A fun and light nod to Alfred Hitchcock and his legendary cinematic oeuvre with just enough tongue-in-cheek perspective on the mild absurdity of some of his plots, themes and characters. Cons: In the attempt to ‘cram’ as ‘many classic scenes’ as possible into ‘a piece that should however stand up on its own’ (Michael Harry), the plot was less cohesive than I would have liked. Our Verdict: An entertaining piece that cleverly ...

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Mistress Julie, Baron’s Court Theatre

Johan August Strindberg Directed by Zoe Thomas-Webb ★★ Pros: A fantastic script furnished by a clean and appropriate design are the highlights in this production. Cons: The sexual tension and gripping drama of Strindberg’s script are muted, making the action seem unfounded and unconvincing. Our Verdict: Strindberg’s classic exploration of the politics of desire, gender, and class is always worth checking out, but this particular version fails to take full advantage of what the script has to offer. Courtesy of ...

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Scoop, Imagine Watford 2013

Presented by Pins and NeedlesPart of Imagine Watford 2013Lyric Hammersmith, Greenwich + Docklands International Festival, Watford Palace Theatre and Latitude productions★★★★ Pros: Containing lots of humour for young and old this is an enjoyable half hour of street entertainment. Panto-esque fun, music and clever use of costumes and props bring the story to life and keep it upbeat and pacey.Cons: Just one– outdoor performance has taken its toll on the costumes and props which needed a good clean! Our Verdict: ...

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Splash, Imagine Watford 2013

Presented by Pin the TalePart of Imagine Watford 2013Lyric Hammersmith, Greenwich + Docklands International Festival, Watford Palace Theatre and Latitude Productions★★★Pros: This is a fun performance with lots of water and fantastic imagery using umbrellas and movement. The cast are engaging and enthusiastic. Cons: It appears to be aimed at very young children and there isn’t enough to keep the whole family interested as it drags a little in places. We were lucky it was a rare, warm afternoon as ...

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Julius Caesar, St Paul’s Church

William ShakespearePresented by Iris Theatre ★★★★ Pros: Great work by the actors and directors on making sure the Shakespearean language is understandable to all. Wonderful scenery including the use of lights and haze to set the mood of the play. Cons: Shakespeare does it again with the length of the play – too long! Especially as roughly 200 people have to move from stage to stage in between scenes. Our Verdict: A step up for Iris Theatre who are improving ...

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The Last Hour of Antigone, Camden People’s Theatre

Raul Quiros Molina  Directed by Sarah Provencal  ★★ Pros: An interesting production. It may not seem like an obvious ‘must-see’ show but I thought it was a worthwhile hour and a slightly left-field choice.  Cons: The acting was rather heavy with some odd choreography. You may find it helpful to track down a synopsis of the original classic play beforehand.  Our Verdict: A bold attempt, but ultimately this production is difficult to engage with and really enjoy.  Courtesy of the ...

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A Family Affair, Drayton Arms Theatre

Agnes Jaoui & Jean-Pierre Bacri Directed by Christine Renard★★★ Pros: Strong acting and expert timing elevated the play to a wonderful level of comic hilarity.  Cons: A couple of slip ups in the dialogue. Our Verdict: A witty play that explores the all too familiar genre of family dramas in the midst of accessible, enjoyable comedy. Every family has problems. The family residing at the middle of A family Affair, however, take standard Courtesy of Echange Theatre Company family bickerings ...

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Cheer Up, It Might Never Happen, Camden People’s Theatre

Sophia Kingshill Directed by Pradeep Jey ★★★ Pros: A surprising and welcome narrative which examines what it means to live in the 21st century, with a well-sustained and genuine performance by Maggie Gordon-Walker. Cons: While charming, the story lingered on the surface, and might have been more effective had we had a chance to better understand the character of Jean. Our Verdict: A sweet and thoughtful production which finds its strength in timing and the relatable woe of feeling disconnected ...

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