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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!

Vaudevilles and Other Sketches, Jermyn Street Theatre

Anton Chekhov Translated and adapted by Michael Frayn Directed by Jenny Eastop ★★★★  Pros: Seamlessly staged and well-acted, with six different mini plays to get your teeth into. Cons: The sketch format meant there was, perhaps, an unsatisfying lack of investment in the characters. Our Verdict: A very professional production that will be accessible and enjoyable to most, but which as a consequence didn’t particularly push any boundaries. Courtesy of Jermyn Street Theatre When I was at school, I once wrote a sketch ...

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The Decorator, The Space

Donald Churchill Directed by Franko Figueiredo ★★★ Pros: Ingenious farce set-up, vibrant comedic performances and a fun sixties setting. Cons: The actors’ accents can difficult to understand, making it easy to miss jokes. Our Verdict: The difficulty in understanding the dialogue is a problem that can’t be overlooked. It is a shame that this issue obscured the fine comedic performances, but The Decorator is still a goofy, fun evening out. Courtesy of The Space The Decorator is classic English farce ...

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Dr N. H. Service, Ms Surveillance and Dame Lansley May, Etcetera Theatre

Written and directed by Paul Martin ★★★ Pros: A strong opinion piece with a definitive voice, unafraid of the provocative and outrageous – everything a good piece of political theatre should be. Cons: The strong, definitive ‘voice’ waxes didactic and prescriptive, wavering dangerously on the line of a monotonous rant. Our Verdict: The author makes a sharp point, but I felt I was being told what to think – off-putting for a free-thinking theatre-goer in a democratic society. Or is ...

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Fuente Ovejuna, CLF Art Café

Lope de Vega Adapted by Tangram Theatre Company Directed by Daniel Goldman ★★★★★ Pros: Has theatre ever been this fun?! Cons: I don’t know the meaning of the word. Our Verdict: Theatre at its best, simply do not miss it. Read our interview with Daniel Goldman, Director of Tangram Theatre here! Courtesy of Tangram Theatre Lope de Vega was Spain’s most prolific and famous author under the ruling of Felipe II of Castilla and I of Portugal. He wrote over ...

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The Incredible Adventures of Clown Slut, Old Red Lion Theatre

Joanna Griffin Directed by Lauren Bracewell ★★★ Pros: Fun, dynamic and entertaining. Superb delivery from Joanna Griffin recounting her adventures as the Clown Slut.  Cons: The concept of the play seems to be directed to only a certain group of people, young graduates and students.  Our verdict: The play gives you something to think about and coats its message in hilarity. Prepare for bellyaching laughter. Courtesy of facebook.com What does it mean to be a feminist? Feminists address issues such as rape, ...

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The Comedy of Oedipus, Lion and Unicorn

Ali SalemDirected by Ahmed El-Alfy★★★★ Pros: An entertaining and dynamic comedy. Cons: Due to lots of movement and excessive volume, the stage became overcrowded at times. Our Verdict: A well-executed, politically charged adaptation of a classic play. Some very good acting and dynamic direction make it enjoyable to watch. Guaranteed fun and laughter.  As part of the international Shubbuk Festival – a window into contemporary Arab culture –this comedy, Courtesy of Giant Olive written in 1970 by legendary Egyptian playwright, was ...

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Casualties, Park Theatre

Written by Ross EricsonDirected by Harry Burton ★★★ Pros: Excellent direction of a world premier with an outstanding central performance and realistic dialogue. Cons: Somehow the tension just seemed to be lacking at key moments and I never really felt like I cared what happened to these characters. Our verdict: A good show with nice staging and some realistic and funny dialogue. I’ll take a small fringe or community theatre with a pleasant front of house team over the glam ...

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Four Farces, Wilton’s Music Hall

Various Playwrights Directed by Jonathan Kemp★★★ Pros: A spectacle in the best sense. Cons: Sometimes not quite funny enough. Our verdict: Possibly the best performance of these farces ever given. Courtesy of European Arts Company The program promises a hilarious evening of Victorian one-act farces. What we get instead are moments of hilarity and moments of merriment. The show begins with a performance of Box and Cox, written in 1847 by John Maddison Morton. This is followed by Wanted, A ...

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Early Days, Finborough Theatre

David StoreyDirected by Tim Newns ★★★ Pros: A rarely performed play that carries itself with gentle humour and poise. Cons: The play doesn’t quite pull the heart strings as you would expect about from such a subject. Our Verdict: A poignant tribute to a celebrated novelist and playwright David Storey. Courtesy of the Finborough As the audience sat down, there was an immediate sense of calm and stillness in this small, intimate theatre. The mellow murmuring of the sea permeated the ...

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