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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!

3some, Etcetera Theatre

Lisa Gifford Directed by Paul Linghorn ★★★ Pros: An interesting script with some very funny moments and a top performance from Lisa Gifford. Cons: Some of the actors appeared to be playing for laughs every now and again, which got irritating. Our Verdict: This show isn’t ground-breaking but it is lots of fun with enough plot twists to keep you engaged till the end. Courtesy of Capital City Entertainment This is not my first time seeing Lisa Gifford’s sassy, modern play about ...

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The Suicide, The Space

Nikolai Erdman Directed by Adam Hemming ★★ Pros: An unexpectedly funny script and a full cast with great comic timing and energy. Cons: The performance was shallow overall, relying totally on comic delivery. Moments which weren’t funny but had true potential to be meaningful were rushed through and caused confusion later. Our Verdict: A valiant but ultimately ineffective effort to make this 20th century Russian play refreshing for new audiences. Courtesy of The Space Arts Centre Space Productions’ current show ...

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Knock Yourself Out, The Courtyard

Tom H C Holloway Directed by Becky Catlin ★★★ Pros: The characters are very well developed and observed. Some strong dialogue and dynamic action on stage and the scenes where time is passing are clever and well performed. Credible acting gives this performance a little sparkle. Cons: The plot isn’t strong enough to sustain interest throughout. It feels more like an illustration than a story and the writing could focus more on the audience and what they take away. Our Verdict: There ...

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Silence, Brockley Jack Studio Theatre

Moira BuffiniDirected by Jonathan Bradshaw★★★ Pros: Meaty on content and message – a strong mix of darkness, comedy and grit. Cons: This is a long evening (almost three hours including an interval) and while the production is well crafted and well performed, the writing lacks consistency and balance. Our Verdict: An interesting look into the fate of women in the Dark Ages raising thought-provoking questions on identity, sexuality and gender in an exciting and chilling tale. ‘Women are strongest in ...

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Bottleneck, Watford Palace Theatre

Luke BarnesDirected by Steven Atkinson★★★★ Pros: An incredibly powerful script delivered by a dynamic and talented performer. Cons: A lacklustre epilogue was a disappointing close to an otherwise completely engaging production. Our Verdict: A great piece of new writing and a shining example of what solo performances should strive for. Courtesy of Watford Palace Theatre Bottleneck, a product of HighTide Fesitval Theatre, wrapped up in London last week with a one-off performance at the Watford Palace Theatre after a brief ...

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Boy in a Dress, Battersea Arts Centre

La JohnJoseph Directed by Sarah Chew ★★★★★ Pros: A fun riot of a show with an intelligent core and an impressive insight into an unusual life. Cons: If you’re not interested in 20th Century philosophy, this may not be for you. Our Verdict: An emboldening story which grabs the audience attention and refuses to let it go. Courtesy of Battersea Arts Centre Boy in a Dress is both entertaining and fun which is quite remarkable considering it is a story ...

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GamePlan, Hen and Chickens Theatre

Alan Ayckbourn Directed by Lucy Bull ★★ Pros: A really enjoyable performance by Nicola Bland brings life to this performance of Ayckbourn’s black comedy. There is some clever use of the simple set. Cons: There is a lack of comic timing, the laughs are sporadic and the action can be a little forced. Some weak performances leave the production feeling flat. Our Verdict: Black comedy relies on crisp delivery of one liners, puns and visual humour to bring enjoyable laughs ...

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School for Wives, White Bear Theatre

Jean-Baptiste PoquelinTranslated by Neil Bartlett Directed by Jenny Eastop ★★★★ Pros: A wonderfully entertaining and witty adaptation of Moliere’s famous play. Tom Barratt’s indefatigable performance is not to be missed. Cons: Too few to mention. Our Verdict: A simply wonderful version of a classic French farce. Nothing is lost in translation in this production. 80 minutes of pure entertainment. Courtesy of Mercurius Theatre Company Jean-Baptiste Poquelin (better known by his stage name Moliere) was a master of comedy in 17th ...

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Ring, Battersea Arts Centre

Glen NeathDirected by David Rosenberg ★★★★ Pros: A profoundly creative, unique and deeply immersive show which will have you on the edge of your seat. Cons: I got a bit spooked a few times but as long as you don’t mind feeling insecure in the dark, this can’t really be described as a con. Our Verdict: This is new writing at its absolute best. I am still baffled by how cleverly this show comes together. Courtesy of Fuel Theatre The ...

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