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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!

Lear, Greenwich Theatre

William ShakespeareDirected by Ricky Dukes★★★ Pros: Flashes of real quality and originality in the staging. Cons: Certain aspects of the staging didn’t quite work. Our Verdict: A hit and miss production which was admirable in its risk-taking and ingenuity. It had a nice pace but fell flat on a few occasions. Courtesy of Greenwich theatre Like many of my contemporaries, I studied Lear for A-Level. I remember my English teacher would turn up to class seemingly drunk – shirt untucked, ...

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The Platform, The Bread and Roses Pub

Johnny Did Not Come Marching Home, by Sharon M. Andrews, Directed by Tom Skitt Just Desserts, by Will Howells, Directed by Nathaniel Francis Skeleton, by David Payne, Directed by Kuba Drewa Cold Calling, by Suzette Coon, Directed by Tessa Hart Hamlet in Hiding, by Rich Rubin, Directed by Dominic Danson ★★★ Pros: A great survey of new works that showcase some truly blossoming talent. Cons: Not all the pieces are well-fleshed out, and some still require a lot of work. ...

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Hutch, Riverside Studios

Joe Evans Directed by Linnie Reedman ★★★ Pros: An interesting story and the music, costumes and set really evoke the atmosphere of the time. The Halbwelt Kultur troupe of chorus girls are a definite highlight– they are fab! Cons: The drama lacks depth and the second act is a bit lengthy. The performance of the title role isn’t quite dynamic enough to do justice to such a charismatic character. Our Verdict: In the program, author Charlotte Breese describes Hutch as ...

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The Collector, St Peter’s Church (site-specific)

Adaptation by Mark Healy Directed by Theo Herghekegiu ★★★★ Pros: Well adapted, intense play set in a magnificent theatre space. Cons: The dark nature of this script will inevitably unnerve some audience members. Some of the acting felt a bit overly dramatic at times. Our Verdict: A daring adaptation of this classic psychological thriller with some very good use of visuals. Elicits strong reactions from its audience. Courtesy of Notting Hill Mayfest website Admittedly, going to see The Collector was never going ...

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Mess, Battersea Arts Centre

Caroline Horton and Company Directed by Alex Swift ★★★★ Pros: A lively combination of a serious topic with a wacky play and enthusiastic characters. Cons: I’m not entirely sure the idea of it not being the ‘real show’ was necessary or worked (unless it really is moving into a bigger, more impressive venue). Our Verdict: Three strong actors perform a script by a writer who has a deep understanding of the subject. Courtesy of the Battersea Arts Centre Caroline Horton ...

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Genesis New Writing Night, Genesis Cinema

Presented by Genesis Cinema ★★★ Pros: A delightful and cosy atmosphere created in an architectural gem. Makes you feel like you’re amongst friends.  Cons: Due to that strong community feel, there’s the potential to feel like an outsider. Our Verdict: A very fun night where your input will directly affect creative growth. The format is still finding its feet. Courtesy of Genesis Cinema One of my favourite experiences in theatre is the post show tipple and the deeper delving into ...

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The Little Soldiers, The Cockpit

Conceived and directed by Guillaume Pigé ★★★★ Pros: Beautiful imagery, haunting original music, a showcase of first-rate physical performances. Cons: Might not be your cup of tea if you don’t like mimes! Without words, the story can be difficult to follow. Our Verdict: A beautiful piece of storytelling, featuring very skilled performers, that captures the magic of the circus. If you like physical theatre, go see it! Courtesy of The Cockpit The Little Soldiers is a mesmerizing tale told through ...

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4000 Miles, The Print Room

Amy HerzogDirected by James Dacre★★★★ Pros: Fantastic acting from Sara Kestelman and realistic lighting, sound and set by the production team. Cons: Annoying American accents and the use of American clichés (such as repetition of the word ‘like’) can be a bit distracting Our Verdict: Good acting and a heartwarming story makes this production one to watch. Courtesy of The Print Room Following on from its UK premiere in April this year at the Ustinov Studio, Theatre Royal Bath, 4000 ...

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The Storyteller – Curse of Bakawali, Etcetera Theatre

Written and performed by Ashley Alymann★★★★★ Pros: Combining the art of storytelling with contemporary performance, this piece captures the all-encompassing excitement one might remember from childhood.Cons: Slightly too long in running time, the ending seemed rather abrupt for such a captivating and intricate piece.Our Verdict: A masterfully told tale; an enthralling and empathetic experience that allows just enough give at the end to marvel at the feat of the performance just witnessed. Courtesy of the Etcetera Theatre It’s very easy to ...

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Cuddles, Ovalhouse Theatre

Joseph Wilde Directed by Rebecca Atkinson-Lord  ★★★★ Pros: A most unusual script brought to life by two strong actors.  Cons: Nothing much to report. Some elements of the show didn’t quite work but nothing too bad. Our Verdict: Funny, touching and incredibly intense, this is new writing at its best.  Courtesy of the Ovalhouse There have been a lot of shows about the riots in recent times. Some have been sympathetic to the rioters, whilst others have presented the facts ...

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