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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!

Killing Romeo, Lion and Unicorn Theatre

Written and directed by Jazz Martinez-Gamboa ★★★★ Pros: The plot stays with you; I love a play that doesn’t leave you alone and forces you to relive the experience. I still come up with new thoughts even a few days after seeing it. Cons: If you lose concentration for even a second the plot might be completely lost to you. It’s filled with subtleties that act as brush strokes to create a powerful picture. Our Verdict: I loved it. If ...

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The Significant Other Festival, Park Theatre

Presented by The Pensive Federation ★★★★ Pros: An excellent short-play challenge with great results Cons: A couple of noticeably weaker pieces within the 10 plays. Our Verdict: An overall enjoyable evening of short plays, with the added fun of a competitive spirit and participation from the audience as well. Courtesy of The Pensive Federation I’ve seen a lot of short plays in the past month or so, but The Pensive Federation’s Significant Other Festival has far and away been my ...

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The Bear, Ovalhouse Theatre

Angela Clerkin & Lee Simpson  Directed by Lee Simpson ★★★★ Pros: This show has something for everyone; from drama to dance and spoof to satire, there is never a dull moment. A genuinely funny and original concept performed with perfect simplicity. Cons: Very few. The twist in the plot is quite obscure and comes out of nowhere, which could leave you more than a little bemused (but that’s the idea, really).  Our Verdict: We highly recommend this show. At times ...

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Nothing is the End of the World (Except for the End of the World), Finborough Theatre

Bekah Brunstetter Directed by Max Pappenheim ★★★ Pros: Well-fleshed out drama chronicling the highs and lows of adolescence complimented by a solid cast and highly original staging. Cons: A tad repetitive in places and occasionally suffering from a case of over-inflated teenage angst. Our Verdict: Provocative, snappy dialogue from a bright emerging American playwright who is definitely a talent to keep an eye on. Courtesy of the Finborough Theatre Bekah Brunstetter has a knack for creating the kind of dialogue ...

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Not I, Royal Court

Samuel Beckett★★★ Pros: This is a masterful piece of theatre, brilliantly written and delivered with incredible sensory impact. The post show film of Billie Whitelaw, and talk with Lisa Dwan (actress) and Roger Michell was interesting and enlightening. Cons: At nine minutes long it is very brief, and in my opinion delivered too quickly. Having never seen it, I did not understand a word of what was said. Our Verdict: If you are interested in Beckett’s work this is a ...

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The Audition and Against Democracy double bill, Arcola Theatre

Rodolf Sirera Esteve Soler Directed by Sílvia Ayguadé ★★★ Pros: A rare opportunity to see prime examples of Catalan theatre in Britain. Cons: Its strength is also its weakness. The plays deal extensively with social and political themes, it’s not likely to appeal to everyone. It is also a rather long evening. Our Verdict: An interesting curio. Surreal theatre with intelligence and bite. Worth checking out if you’re free and up for something different. Courtesy of Bots & Barrals Theatre ...

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The Knight of the Sorrowful Figure, Blue Elephant Theatre

Tiffany Wood from the Original Cervantes “Don Quixote”Directed by Ian NicholsonResearch and development by Simon Day and Aitor Basauri ★★★ Pros: Never boring, at times comical and fittingly dynamic physical theatre. Good use of Spanish accents and guitar. Fun to watch.  Cons: Limited resources inevitably dictate small crew, bare props and no visual aids. But this was a work-in-progress after all. Our Verdict: A thoroughly enjoyable hour of physical theatre, guaranteed to keep you entertained and leave in good spirits. ...

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No Rhyme, Brockley Jack Studio Theatre

Melanie Pennant Directed by Kate Bannister ★★★ Pros: Transports the audience into a club toilet – a brilliant set, and some very believable characters. Cons: Tries to pack too much in and doesn’t quite pull everything together. The drama becomes little strident and confused towards the end. Our Verdict: An interesting and commendable effort from lots of new talent to keep an eye on. Courtesy of Brockley Jack StudioTheatre website There seems to be a fashion at the moment for setting ...

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Lear, Greenwich Theatre

William ShakespeareDirected by Ricky Dukes★★★ Pros: Flashes of real quality and originality in the staging. Cons: Certain aspects of the staging didn’t quite work. Our Verdict: A hit and miss production which was admirable in its risk-taking and ingenuity. It had a nice pace but fell flat on a few occasions. Courtesy of Greenwich theatre Like many of my contemporaries, I studied Lear for A-Level. I remember my English teacher would turn up to class seemingly drunk – shirt untucked, ...

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