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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!

Blair’s Children, The Cockpit

Anders Lustgarten, Paula B Stanic, Georgia Fitch, April De Angelis, Mark Norfolk Directed by Charlotte Westenra ★★★ Pros: The characters are well written and varied with good performances by the cast. The parallel recollections provide a textured view of the human story of the Blair years. Cons: The stories lack climax and the production fizzles out in the second act. It would benefit from a lot more humour. Our Verdict: Gets off to a strong start, with a sound concept, ...

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Rutherford and Son, St James Theatre

Githa Sowerby Directed by Jonathan Miller★★★★  Pros: Strong and nuanced acting, especially the central performance of Rutherford, and a beautiful period set.  Cons: At two and a half hours long, the heavy storyline could be a bit too much for some. Our Verdict: Grim and somewhat old fashioned, it is a hard going-evening but still an enjoyable production with compelling performances. It is worth going to see if you like a period drama. Courtesy of St James Theatre Set in the ...

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A Picture of Dorian Gray, The White Rabbit Cocktail Club

Rob JohnstonDirected by Andy McQuade★★★★ Pros: A truly original, deliciously dark and modern reimagining of Oscar Wilde’s gothic novel, with top-notch performances to boot. Cons: Dark lighting and less than ideal sightlines made it sometimes difficult to get the most out of the action, and audiences completely unfamiliar with the source material may feel a bit confused. Our Verdict: It’s a thrilling and chilling gothic piece brought to life by a diverse and talented cast – not one to miss! ...

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Mandrake, The Brockley Jack Studio Theatre

Machiavelli, adapted by Howard Colyer Directed by Scott Le Crass ★★ Pros: A fun romp of a story. Cons: Limited depth of thought in this production. The script is played comically rather than as comedy. Verdict: Loosely enjoyable but ultimately not very satisfying. Courtesy of The Brockley Jack Studio Theatre When you enter the auditorium you see clever and elegantly designed dividing frames that suggest the creation of a vast array of locations and, in their sparseness, promise simple but ...

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Don’t Wake Me: The Ballad of Nihal Armstrong, The Cockpit

Rahila GuptaDirected by Guy Slater★★★★ Pros: The play gives the subject of caring for the disabled a personal dimension. Cons: The show may not sound like everyone’s cup of tea, but appearances are deceiving. Our Verdict: A one-woman show that taps into the fears and experiences of all parents. I don’t know about you, but when someone says, “Do you want to see a moving play about a parent with a Courtesy of the Cockpit disabled child?” it doesn’t necessarily ...

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LineUp, Greenwich Theatre

Vertical Line Theatre Company ★★★★ Pros: A very enjoyable series of short plays to both amuse and entertain. Provides us with glimpses into our current world issues. Cons: A bit short on the production value, with a few kinks to iron out here and there. Our Verdict: Some fantastic new work, great for a fun night out! Complete with that great feeling of knowing you’re supporting up-and-coming talent. Courtesy of Vertical Line Theatre Company Watching new writing line ups can ...

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Playing With Fire, Drayton Arms

Johan August StrindbergTranslated and Directed by Anna Ostergren★★★ Pros: The tension of the play is palpable throughout, making for exciting viewing. Cons: Some of the acting didn’t quite work for me. Our Verdict: A tense piece of work focusing closely and effectively on human relationships. While an hour isn’t necessarily long enough to engage with characters, Playing with Fire is a wonderfully tense production with extremely strong direction.  Tucked away just off of Gloucester Road, the Drayton Arms appears to ...

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In The Loop, LOST Theatre

Jennifer Sarah Dean Directed by Jennifer Sarah Dean ★★★ Pros: The production’s sense of urgency, its ambiguity, its use of space, its assured acting, and its daring treatment of some important issues (memory, truth, testimony, consequence) make for an absorbing half-hour.  Cons: The whole thing dashes past breathlessly. The audience might have benefitted from some opportunities to reflect on the intriguing scenario set before them.  Our Verdict: A bold piece that certainly commands attention and encourages later reflection on some ...

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Final Showcase, The Poor School

Presented by Graduates of The Poor School  ★★★★  Pros: Witnessing so much talent and potential makes for a thrilling evening. Cons: Nothing springs to mind. Our Verdict: A wonderful evening showcasing the talent of the school’s graduating students in a varied collection of repertoire. As the oldest of six children, I’m all too aware of what a school production traditionally entails. Having endured many nativities and small-scale musicals, I can’t say that my expectations for this showcase of The Poor School’s graduating students ...

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The Rules, Old Red Lion Theatre

Lila WhelanDirected by Lila Whelan★★★★ Pros: Dark, witty and with a strong cast, The Rules is a cross between a psychological thriller and an Elizabethan tragedy, with a couple of gags thrown in. Cons: Some of the delivery could be tightened and the lighting might benefit from some more subtlety, but these are minor criticisms in a very solid production. Our verdict: For fans of American Psycho, The Rules is a must-see. For everyone else, it is highly recommended. It ...

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