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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!

Dr Faustus, Network Theatre

Christopher Marlowe, adapted by Bernie C. Byrnes Director Bernie C. Byrnes ★★★ Pros: The themes of the play (the corruption of power and the struggle between personal morality and worldly temptation) are acutely condensed into an intelligent view on the faults of society today.  Cons: While the actors clearly understood the play inside out and presented an impressively cohesive and entertaining piece in half the usual rehearsal time, it did lack a certain polish.  Our Verdict: This play as a ...

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Linck, The Last Refuge

Danny West & Ben Fensome  Directed by Danny West★★★ Pros: A strong all-female cast with a very interesting and relevant subject matter Cons: There seemed to be a few inconsistencies in the script, a potentially biased representation of Catharina Linck and the final moments lacked passion Our Verdict: A very interesting script and a strong cast make this show worthwhile, despite some tiny flaws Courtesy of The Last Refuge The new production, Linck, at The Last Refuge in Peckham has ...

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Di and Viv and Rose, Hampstead Theatre

Amelia Bullmore Directed by Anna Mackmin★★★★ Pros: A play about life and friendship that is easy to relate to, funny and heart-warming. It is brilliantly acted by a high calibre cast and the costumes and sound design realistically evoke the passing of time. Cons: There are a lot of unnecessary set changes which chops up the flow of the drama and as there is no crew, the actors make the changes themselves which gets a bit distracting. Our Verdict: Guaranteed to ...

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Love On Trial, Ovalhouse Theatre

Adapted by Roe Lane from the story by Stanley Kenani based on an idea by Amy Bonsall Directed by Roe Lane, Amy Bonsall and Kate Stafford ★★ Pros: Strong ideas, interesting subject matter and a fearlessly ambitious approach. Cons: Rather confusing and hard to follow. Our Verdict: Despite important and relevant subject matter, impressive acting and a thoughtful set, the narrative is tricky to follow and I found it difficult to relate to the characters. Courtesy of the Ovalhouse This ...

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Brainville at Night, Brockley Jack Studio Theatre

Alexander Moschos Directed by Matthew Parker ★★★ Pros: A polished and well-crafted show. Excellent sound, lights and projection with good performances. Cons: The middle of the show drags and it started to feel a little bit repetitive. A shorter, punchier version would have more impact. Our Verdict: A good show which is nearly an excellent show. The company is doing great work and the Brockley Jack is a lovely venue. Courtesy of Brockley Jack The Brockley Jack is a charming venue, attached ...

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The Paper Cinema’s Odyssey, Battersea Arts Centre

HomerDevised by Nicholas Rawling, Imogen Charleston, Caroline Williams, Irena Stratieva, Christopher Reed, Ed Dowie, Quinta and Matthew Brown★★★★★ Pros: The combination of hand drawn and carefully cut out puppets with 21st century technology produces an intriguing take on the ancient art of paper and shadow puppetry. Cons: None to speak of but I think Paper Cinema are going to have to think hard about how they will top this one. Our Verdict: A must see! The performers utilise their attention ...

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Romeo and Juliet, Upstairs at the Gatehouse

William Shakespeare Directed by Zoé Ford ★★★★ Pros: Some excellent performances and great direction. This well known script is engaging throughout the two hour and forty five minute performance. Add the sixties soundtrack and this modern take will appeal to a wide audience. Cons: At times the sound and lighting are a bit clunky and I am not convinced by the interpretation of Juliet as a weeping frailty. A few performances pale against the more dynamic ones. Our Verdict: Hiraeth Artistic Productions ...

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Equally Divided, Watford Palace Theatre

Ronald Harwood Directed by Brigid Larmour ★★★ Pros: A great cast and a polished production featuring funny and touching moments. Cons: The last leg of the play unfortunately does not compare in quality to the first two-thirds. Our Verdict: A very decent production in most ways, which sadly loses some of its impact since the conclusion unravels before the curtain closes. Courtesy of Watford Palace Theatre It’s always nice to see an old-fashioned parlour-room drama which manages to compete in ...

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The Lady’s Not For Walking Like an Egyptian, Ovalhouse Theatre

Written and directed by Rachel Mars and nat tarrab ★★★★ Pros: Two great performances, great big laughs from start to finish and an interesting, intelligent script. Cons: Not much to report here. If you’re easily offended by jokes about the Falklands war and such, best avoid this one. Our Verdict: A brilliant night out brimming with light-hearted fun but also featuring many poignant ideas on feminism, homophobia and other important issues. A great show! Courtesy of the Ovalhouse The Ovalhouse ...

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Prophesy, Blackall Studios

Devised by Baz ProductionsDirected by Sarah Bedi★★★★ Pros: An incredibly original and exciting reimagining of Greek mythology. Cons: Sight lines are a little inconvenient and some background information would have been helpful. Our Verdict: A truly engaging revision of classic characters by a great up-and-coming company! Courtesy of Baz Productions As my two favorite productions of 2012 were the Gate’s Trojan Women and Kneehigh’s Midnight’s Pumpkin, it seems Baz Production’s new work was created with tastes like mine in mind. Like ...

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