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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!

The Little Soldiers, The Cockpit

Conceived and directed by Guillaume Pigé ★★★★ Pros: Beautiful imagery, haunting original music, a showcase of first-rate physical performances. Cons: Might not be your cup of tea if you don’t like mimes! Without words, the story can be difficult to follow. Our Verdict: A beautiful piece of storytelling, featuring very skilled performers, that captures the magic of the circus. If you like physical theatre, go see it! Courtesy of The Cockpit The Little Soldiers is a mesmerizing tale told through ...

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4000 Miles, The Print Room

Amy HerzogDirected by James Dacre★★★★ Pros: Fantastic acting from Sara Kestelman and realistic lighting, sound and set by the production team. Cons: Annoying American accents and the use of American clichés (such as repetition of the word ‘like’) can be a bit distracting Our Verdict: Good acting and a heartwarming story makes this production one to watch. Courtesy of The Print Room Following on from its UK premiere in April this year at the Ustinov Studio, Theatre Royal Bath, 4000 ...

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The Storyteller – Curse of Bakawali, Etcetera Theatre

Written and performed by Ashley Alymann★★★★★ Pros: Combining the art of storytelling with contemporary performance, this piece captures the all-encompassing excitement one might remember from childhood.Cons: Slightly too long in running time, the ending seemed rather abrupt for such a captivating and intricate piece.Our Verdict: A masterfully told tale; an enthralling and empathetic experience that allows just enough give at the end to marvel at the feat of the performance just witnessed. Courtesy of the Etcetera Theatre It’s very easy to ...

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Cuddles, Ovalhouse Theatre

Joseph Wilde Directed by Rebecca Atkinson-Lord  ★★★★ Pros: A most unusual script brought to life by two strong actors.  Cons: Nothing much to report. Some elements of the show didn’t quite work but nothing too bad. Our Verdict: Funny, touching and incredibly intense, this is new writing at its best.  Courtesy of the Ovalhouse There have been a lot of shows about the riots in recent times. Some have been sympathetic to the rioters, whilst others have presented the facts ...

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The Anorak, Lion and Unicorn Theatre

Adam Kelly MortonDirected by Matthew Gould★★★★ Pros: Strong acting and a captivating storyline. Cons: The staging was perhaps a little too bleak. Our Verdict: An accomplished and intelligent piece of writing performed with flair and intense emotion. Courtesy of Giant Olive Speeches are the old-fashioned status updates: most people tolerate them, others even encourage them, but more often than not they end up self-indulgent and utterly tedious. And like status updates, they should always be short and sweet. Which is ...

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Hamlet’s Fool, The Cockpit

Written and performed by Peter Cutts Directed by Mandy Fox ★★★★ Pros: An exceptional all-round play designed for the stage with imagination, creativity and talent. Fascinates from start to finish. Cons: A rushed latter half and unnecessary musical interludes. Our Verdict: If you want to explain to anyone what’s so great about theatre, take them to this. A piece with plenty of thought invested in it that pays the audience dividends. Courtesy of The Cockpit There’s a saying about acting: ...

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The Love Bites Plays: Apartment, Etcetera Theatre

Craig Donaghy, Ziella Bryars, Jack Fiehn and Daniel Frankenburg Directed by Sophie Davies, Ziella Bryars, Nikita Strange and James Veitch ★★★★ Pros: Clever, short, sharp scripts performed by a solid cast. Leaves you wanting more.  Cons: A little unpolished at times.  Our Verdict: Short, sharp bursts of good quality theatre. Perfect for a mid-week theatre trip. Courtesy of The Love Bites Plays As a regular theatre goer, I am used to seeing shows of all lengths, from the twenty-minute one ...

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The Gut Girls, The Space

Sarah Daniels Directed by David England ★★★★ Pros: A funny, hard-hitting and incredibly well written play. Cons: The large space made for a tricky acoustic meaning some speech is lost every so often.  Our Verdict: A seriously fantastic play that, despite its Victorian setting, is incredibly relevant to society and women today.  Courtesy of The Space Victorian South East London: the docks are alive and buzzing with traders, ships and livestock ready to be sent to the slaughter sheds. It ...

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The Government Inspector, Ovalhouse Theatre

Nikolai Gogol Directed by Lucy Richardson ★★★ Pros: An interesting take on a familiar classic.  Cons: Everyone was so interesting to watch on stage that it was hard to decide who to focus on at any one time.  Our Verdict: A comedy of errors with a healthy dose of slapstick humour.  Courtesy of LMU Recently I watched a ‘comedy’ on the fringe that, unfortunately, I didn’t find very funny. With dramatic plays, much can be forgiven if it’s not enjoyable. ...

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