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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!

Jack the Ripper’s London, London Bridge

Mike Carter and Lizzie Quinn for Crow TheatreDirected by Natasha Campbell★★★★★ Pros: Brilliant and truly unique immersive theatre in a superb venue. Cons: None whatsoever with the show, but had some problems finding where ‘the meeting point’ was. Our Verdict: A real gem and a fantastic surprise; the best immersive theatre I’ve experienced. Tremendous stuff! Courtesy of Crow Theatre It’s been nearly 3 months since we last awarded our highest accolade to a production; perhaps we’re too picky, but our ...

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An Incident at the Border, Finborough Theatre

Kieran LynnDirected by Bruce Guthrie★★★★ Pros: A short, sweet and very amusing performance with some cracking acting in the beautifully cool Finborough auditorium. Cons: Energy levels dropped in certain places where the dialogue got slightly long-winded and frustrating. Our Verdict: A great show which successfully addresses a serious issue in a comical manner. Well worth seeing! Courtesy of Frances Loney for WhatsOnStage Human beings really are a bizarre species. That was the overarching thought that was ringing in my ears ...

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Two-Headed, The Rose Theatre

July JensenDirected by Amy Bonsall★★★★ Pros: A truly fascinating venue hosting a snappy and energetic performance. Cons: Mormon culture is probably not the most riveting subject matter. Our Verdict: Worth the detour – check it out! Courtesy of My Lovely Productions A play dealing with the difficulties of living in the Mormon community in the middle of the 19th century is more relevant today than one might imagine. With the presidential race tightening in the USA, more and more fuss ...

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The Maids, Lion and Unicorn Theatre

Jean GenetDirected by Paul Linghorn★★★ Pros: Some powerful moments in the second half and a superb performance from Chris Stevenson. Cons: A weak first half, and it feels like the team hasn’t completely ‘got to know’ the script yet, meaning that it lacks definition in some places. Our Verdict: An ambitious and positive show from a young company (feats which should be applauded), but it needs more work in places to make it a true success. Courtesy of Pandemonium Performance ...

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Spring Awakening, Brockley Jack Studio Theatre

Frank Wedekind, translated by F.J. ZieglerDirected by John Fricker★★★★ Pros: A well-designed and well-performed production of a show with a strong message. Cons: A little long at 2 hours 30 mins. Our Verdict: A great show from a young theatre company; we hope to see more of them soon. Courtesy of OutFox Productions Spring Awakening – a title which many will remember from the short-lived, but ultimately well-received Rock Musical which swooped into the West End in 2009. It can ...

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Why is John Lennon wearing a Skirt?, Tristan Bates Theatre

Claire DowieDirected by Lauren Bracewell★★★★ Pros: A brilliant script and a superb performance from Joanna Griffin. Cons: Not necessarily ground-breaking, but who cares when it’s just very good theatre?! Our Verdict: A top show, certainly advisable that you get your tickets for their next performances! Courtesy of Local Girl Productions I must confess to not being particularly familiar to Claire Dowie’s work, much to the annoyance of one of my fellow bloggers! Our latest outing to the Tristan Bates was ...

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The Coming Storm, Battersea Arts Centre

Conceived and devised by Forced EntertainmentDirected by Tim Etchells★★★ Pros: A good concept and a magnificent venue. Cons: The execution leaves something to be desired, and makes for a rather dull show. Our Verdict: Not the best we’ve seen, but an interesting idea worth developing into something more interesting. Courtesy of Hugo Glendinning Another guilty secret of ours is that, until last week, we had never visited the famous Battersea Arts Centre, described by Lyn Gardner as being ‘one of ...

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The Enlightenment Cafe, Old Vic Tunnels

Produced by LAStheatre★★★★ Pros: Great science and a great cast make for an enjoyable evening. Cons: Drunken, unfunny hecklers…who needs them? Our Verdict: Definitely worth doing if you’re a science enthusiast or just love a night doing something out of the ordinary. Remember to listen to our blogcast interview with LAStheatre’s Barra Collins and Andy Franzkowiak. The Enlightenment Cafe from LAStheatre It was a fairly average day in the week for me yesterday. But then I went underground to The ...

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The Beloved, Bush Theatre

Written and Directed by Amir Nizar ZuabiA ShiberHur, Young Vic production co-produced with the Bush Theatre and KVS Brussels, part of World Stages London★★★★ Pros: Original, engaging, thought-provoking. Cons: Bit weird and very uncomfortable in a couple of places. Our Verdict: A great venue if you’ve never been before. Go if you want to really be challenged by something. Courtesy of Spoonfed When I sat down in the auditorium and read ‘young lamb’ in the cast list I was a ...

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