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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!

Job Seekers Anonymous, Etcetera Theatre

Written and Performed by Louise Mothersole and Rebecca Biscuit (AKA Booise) ★★★ Pros: Fun, fast paced, topical and true. Uses slapstick to wonderful and meaningful effect. Cons: No clear message. Mainly focussed on the frustration of navigating the current benefits system rather than on seeking a job as the title suggests, even though it’s punalicious. Our Verdict: A really fun piece of theatre to watch as it uses the truth and personal experience to give an insight into the world of government ...

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The Future Show, Battersea Arts Centre

Written and Performed by Deborah Pearson ★★★ Pros: The performance uses an interesting topic – the passage of time – to explore humanity. Cons: I felt it was an underdeveloped idea, and there was something missing. Hard to put a finger on exactly what though. Our Verdict: From award-winning writer and performer Deborah Pearson we get a performance that is very interesting, even if it’s not entirely clear what message she wants the audience to take away from it. Courtesy ...

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Impotent, Lion and Unicorn Theatre

Matt ReedDirected by Graham Hubbard ★★★★ Pros: This show is funny, smart and accessible. The obvious rude humour one might expect from a play about impotence remains mostly absent, thankfully. Cons: A couple of characters (a failed beautician and her boyfriend) were overly stereotypical and the second half felt a lot slower than the first. Our Verdict: This is a clever, well-written, well-structured play. It entertains while exploring the issue of impotence in today’s society. Courtesy of Giant Olive Theatre ...

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The Way You Tell Them, Camden People’s Theatre

Written and Performed by Rachel Mars Part of the Beyond the Joke Festival ★★★ Pros: Thoughtful and relevant subject matter delivered by a charming performer. Cons: Not all elements come together well, and several moments feel forced or contrived. Our Verdict: Not the feel-good romp it might initially seem, but a worthwhile and well-delivered exploration of the role of comedy. Courtesy of Rachel Mars Many people argue that irreverent humour is the most interesting, and while individual taste makes this ...

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So Great a Crime, Finborough Theatre

Written and Directed by David Gooderson★★★ Pros: Solid performances from the cast, especially from Stuart McGugan in the lead role of Hector MacDonald. Cons: The objective of the play is a little unclear, although the script is good overall. Our Verdict: Not the best to come from this West London paradise, but well worth a watch nonetheless! Courtesy of the Finborough Theatre The Finborough Wine Café remains closed. However, the theatre has reclaimed the area which used to house the ...

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Top Story, Old Vic Tunnels

Top Story - Old Vic - Review

Sebastian Michael Directed by Adam Berzsenyi Bellaagh ★★ Pros: A cast of talented actors deliver strong, impressive performances. Cons: The script drags for the most part and a lot of the scenes don’t serve the storyline. Our Verdict: The 2012 apocalypse idea has been overdone at this stage and although a terrific collection of performers do their best to breathe life into this play, sadly it just doesn’t work. Courtesy of Foteini Christofilopoulou Situated beneath Waterloo Station, the Old Vic Tunnels is ...

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Somersaults, Finborough Theatre

Iain Finlay MacleodDirected by Russell Bolam★★★ Pros: Great movement and high production values throughout.Cons: The show is a little disjointed to begin with and doesn’t quite challenge the audience enough. Our Verdict: This is a play which goes some distance in tackling an important subject matter but sadly it doesn’t have quite enough depth. Courtesy of the Finborough Theatre Somersaults is a play which explores the importance of Scots Gaelic to our protagonist as his life in London begins to unravel. The writer Iain Finlay ...

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A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Lion and Unicorn Theatre

William Shakespeare Presented by the Grassroots Shakespeare Company London ★★★★ Pros: Tremendously funny, great use of language and an engaging, vibrant cast. Cons: Despite cuts, it’s still a bit long. Our Verdict: An incredibly approachable, tasteful, and uproarious Shakespeare production. Courtesy of Grassroots Shakespeare My main complaint about productions of Shakespeare’s plays is always that they either tend to be tired, unoriginal and stale, or that they try too hard to be original and lose all the sense and beauty ...

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Seasonal, Old Red Lion Theatre

Presented by BackHere! Theatre Company★★★ Pros: A really diverse mix of Christmas stories with a lot of interest and cleverly written twists. Excellent stage direction and use of the space and minimal set throughout, with some notably good performances. Cons: Not all of the writing is witty or tight enough to make these dramas about the nuances of everyday situations interesting and punchy; at times there are some slow moments therefore. Some of the acting is a little forced and ...

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The Tempest, Lion and Unicorn Theatre

William Shakespeare Presented by the Grassroots Shakespeare Company London★★★★ Pros: A wonderfully modern, high energy production filled with great jokes, lovely acting and lots of amusing pop culture references. Cons: If you’re a serious Shakespearean scholar you might find this production a bit silly and it felt a teensy bit too long overall. Our Verdict: A fun and unpretentious production from a great theatre company. This show is perfect for anyone seeking a fun night out and it is also ...

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