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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!

Hindle Wakes, Finborough Theatre

Stanley HoughtonDirected by Bethan Dear★★★★★ Pros: Expertly produced, expertly performed, expertly designed, and a fantastic script. Cons: I would be clutching at straws if I were to try and formulate any genuine criticism. Our Verdict: If you can get your hands on a ticket, it’s a must. Courtesy of the Finborough Theatre Just to confirm: the Finborough is a truly magical place, an opinion of ours that anyone who has read our reviews before will know. About ten minutes’ walk ...

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Uninvited, New Diorama Theatre

Fat-Git Theatre, adapted from the novella by Peter MortimerDirected by Josh Roche★★★ Pros: Dark, quirky comedy, well acted, smooth and simple design. Cons: Sometimes hard to follow. Thought provoking, but ultimately unrewarding. Our Verdict: An equally entertaining and unsettling piece inviting questions about the safety and dangers of solitude, but failing to create a completely connected story line. Courtesy of Fat-Git Theatre It’s not an uncommon trope in modern theatre to have actors, like scenery, preset onstage as the audience ...

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The Matchmakers/Yolk, RADA Studios

The MatchmakersPaula Fleming YolkNatalie Cheary Directed by Ng Choon Ping★★★ Pros: Interesting new writing, not far off being very good; committed performances. Cons: Slightly more development needed by both the script and the acting in places, felt slightly like a first draft of something excellent. Our Verdict: An enjoyable showcase of two shows and two writers with real potential that isn’t fully realised on this occasion. Credit: Jon Cartwright This visit to the RADA Studios was a first for Everything ...

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This is a Reconstruction, Oxford House Theatre

Presented by MayDay Theatre ★★ Pros: A funny, talented all-female cast with lots of great humour. Cons: A lot of it just didn’t make much sense and the show had very little depth given the subject matter. Our Verdict: Nice comedic performances from an undoubtedly talented cast, but ultimately let down by an undeserving script. Courtesy of Oxford House Theatre The 21st December 2012 is thought to be the final date on the 5,125-year-long Mayan calendar. There are currently hundreds ...

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I Am A Camera, Southwark Playhouse

John Van DrutenDirected by Anthony Lau ★★★★★ Pros: Great writing, great acting, great direction, great music, great costumes, great set design (I could go on!). Cons: I know I have to write something here but I’m struggling to think of anything. The herbal cigarettes were a bit stinky, I guess. Our Verdict: A fantastic evening with stunning performances. Hilarious, devastating and thought-provoking. “I am a camera with its shutter open, quite passive, recording, not thinking.” Credit: Nicolai Kornum I Am A ...

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Jumpers, Tabard Theatre

Tom StoppardDirected by Madeleine Loftin★★★★ Pros: Outstanding script, some cracking performances and strong production values. Cons: A couple of slip-ups here and there, but nothing that won’t get fixed as the run progresses. Our Verdict: Buy your tickets now, you won’t regret it! Courtesy of the Tabard Theatre As an ex-West Londoner, I always used to feel a certain sense of regret at never having ventured to the Tabard Theatre. Situated around the corner from Turnham Green station (and I ...

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Disco Pigs, Tristan Bates Theatre

Enda WalshDirected by Anna Simpson ★★★  Pros: The tender moments were beautifully performed with the actors really matching each other on stage. Cons: The fast pace of the show and the quick delivery of lines in Irish accents made it difficult to understand what was going on in places. Our Verdict: The combination of quirky aspects and sensitive moments make this production very special, but while it hits the mark perfectly in certain places, some potentially excellent moments are lost. Credit: ...

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The Tsarevich and the Wolf, Etcetera Theatre

Presented by Tree Folk Theatre★★★ Pros: Ethereal, old-worldy and cute as can be. Cons: The overall energy needs cranking up a notch or two and the story drags in places. Our Verdict: Far from perfect but full of gorgeous quirky details and some very nice storytelling. Courtesy of Tree Folk Theatre Sometime around the mid-1800s, a folklorist named Alexander Afanasyev set about collecting, recording and publishing an anthology of traditional Russian folktales and fairytales. Prior to this work, very little ...

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After the Rainfall, Watford Palace Theatre

Presented by Curious DirectiveDirected by Jack Lowe★★★ Pros: Brilliantly intelligent theatre delivered with tremendous style and magnificent production values. Cons: Slightly unclear and dry content which didn’t engage me throughout. Our Verdict: 5 stars for the performance and the physical elements of the show, 3 stars for the content which lets it down. A magnificent company nonetheless; we’re very excited to see more of them. Courtesy of Murdo Macleod for The Guardian There are two things I’d like to get ...

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Grey Matters: A Play for Six Brains/Curricula Vitae, Chelsea Theatre

Presented by Head of a Woman★★★ Pros: Both acts present concepts that are easily identifiable. They delve deep into exploring how our society works without ostracising the audience through overly complicated notions. Cons: The concepts could have been pushed further; by adding extra dimensions they could have kept the agreeable timings whilst speeding the shows up. Overall: A heroic attempt to produce performances that encourage the audience to reconsider themselves and the society that has formed them. While all concepts ...

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