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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!

Peanuts, The Last Refuge

Ashleigh Packham Directed by Adam Reeves ★★★ Pros: A very enjoyable journey following a delightfully quirky character. Cons: The scatty nature of the protagonist is just as prevalent in the play as a whole. Our Verdict: Very enjoyable and worth seeing, but it needs a bit more development as it currently leaves the audience somewhat unquenched. Courtesy of Poleroid Theatre This is a self-narration detailing the world of Anna. She’s quiet, has some rather odd habits and has a lovely ...

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I Didn’t Always Live Here, Finborough Theatre

Stewart Conn Directed by Lisa Blair ★★★★ Pros: A poetic script, inspired casting and high production values make this show most enjoyable. Cons: The script works well in terms of dialogue, but loses its way as far as the plot is concerned. Our Verdict: This is a heartwarming show with very believable characters and strong direction. Courtesy of the Finborough Theatre I Didn’t Always Live Here is a tale set in Glasgow, focusing mainly on the life of Martha, an ...

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Sing Something Simple, The Cockpit

Written and directed by Vanessa Brooks ★★★★ Pros: Beautifully written and very well performed with a great design and excellent music. Cons: I can’t think of any real drawbacks. There is a very clichéd plot twist at one point but it doesn’t spoil the fun. Our Verdict: This show is like a little ray of sunshine. A toe-tapping, knee-slapping evening of pure joy. Courtesy of Dark Horse Theatre I think we can all agree that Spring seems to be taking ...

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No Man’s Land, Blue Elephant Theatre

Presented by Glass-eye Theatre ★★★ Pros: A wonderful story line full of humanity and imagination. Cons: Alexandra Krassa’s depiction of ten year old Ailsa Thomas was unconvincing at times, preventing much of an attachment to the character. Our Verdict: A captivating performance which uses physical theatre to convincingly place you in an imaginary world. It also involves some very exciting shadow puppets. Courtesy of the Blue Elephant Theatre One of the many joys of visiting the Blue Elephant Theatre is ...

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Rutherford and Son, Watford Palace Theatre

KG SowerbyDirected by Jonathan Miller★★★★ Pros: An important play, powerfully directed by Jonathan Miller, with excellent dramatic leads. Cons: Some of the secondary male characters seemed far too shallow – but then in many ways this adds to the anger against male oppression which the play explores. Our Verdict: Excellent performances, excellent direction, excellent lighting, excellent edit of the script. All in all, excellent! Courtesy of Watford Palace Theatre Rutherford and Son was written in 1912 by KG Sowerby, and first ...

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My Robot Heart, Battersea Arts Centre

Devised and performed by Molly Naylor★★★★ Pros: A sweet, honest and funny show. A very pleasant and engaging production.Cons: Although the music was a nice personal touch, it would have been great to see more interaction with the folk duo. Our Verdict: A very nice show but a short run. Keep an eye out for future shows. Courtesy of The Battersea Arts Centre Anyone who has ever been to the Battersea Arts Centre will know that it is a rather ...

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The Street, Ovalhouse (site-specific in East Dulwich)

Ovalhouse Creative Youth★★★★ Pros: A beautifully written and compiled piece of theatre performed with heaps of energy throughout.Cons: After a fantastic build up, the finale was disappointing and felt like it needed more substance. Our Verdict: This was a fantastic production performed on the streets of South London with a host of talented writers/actors voicing their stories. Courtesy of Ovalhouse Growing up, I was exposed to the traditional side of theatre – plush seats, gilded cherubs and polite applause. The ...

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The Café, Old Red Lion Theatre (site-specific at The CoffeeWorks Project)

Ben AitkenDirected by Josh Roche★★★★ Pros: An all-round, very strong piece which deftly explores the harmony (or lack of) between self-identity and circumstance. Cons: I couldn’t see the benefits of making this show site-specific. Our Verdict: A very absorbing, intriguing narrative which is relevant to anyone living in Britain in 2013. Courtesy of The Old Red Lion Although the title refers to a place, this play is about people and the complex factors defining who we are. It delves into ...

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3some, Etcetera Theatre

Lisa Gifford Directed by Paul Linghorn ★★★ Pros: An interesting script with some very funny moments and a top performance from Lisa Gifford. Cons: Some of the actors appeared to be playing for laughs every now and again, which got irritating. Our Verdict: This show isn’t ground-breaking but it is lots of fun with enough plot twists to keep you engaged till the end. Courtesy of Capital City Entertainment This is not my first time seeing Lisa Gifford’s sassy, modern play about ...

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The Suicide, The Space

Nikolai Erdman Directed by Adam Hemming ★★ Pros: An unexpectedly funny script and a full cast with great comic timing and energy. Cons: The performance was shallow overall, relying totally on comic delivery. Moments which weren’t funny but had true potential to be meaningful were rushed through and caused confusion later. Our Verdict: A valiant but ultimately ineffective effort to make this 20th century Russian play refreshing for new audiences. Courtesy of The Space Arts Centre Space Productions’ current show ...

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