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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!

Salomé, The Old Cholmeley Boys’ Club

Oscar WildeDirected by Anastasia Revi★★★ Pros: The Old Cholmeley Boys’ Club – a dilapidated church like building on the outside, and a lavish looking dining hall on the inside – is perfectly suited to the luxurious circumstances and persistent ominous-ness of the piece. The costumes by Valentina Sanna are exquisite. Cons: While the script itself definitely calls for heightened emotion, I found this to be over dramatised in many instances – a greater variety in delivery would have been welcome. ...

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Dead Static, Hen and Chickens Theatre

Written and directed by Steve Jordan★★★ Pros: A witty script written by a clearly talented and intelligent writer. Cons: The characters seemed a bit one dimensional; Tyler very angry, Gary very dim. Not even the more personal moments or the very end made me fully believe in the characters. Our Verdict: A quite clever and amusing script is performed relatively well in this production. Courtesy of ManMoth Productions Imagine you’re in a post-apocalyptic future where earth has been burnt asunder ...

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Unbroken Line, Ovalhouse Theatre

Jamie ZubairiDirected by Kath Burlinson★★★ Pros: A fantastic and engaging one-man performance, funny and poignant. Cons: Some higher stakes would have really sealed the deal for this piece. The incorporation of visual art into the performance was perhaps overstated somewhat. Our Verdict: An entertaining and thoughtful exploration of personal and artistic identity. Courtesy of the Ovalhouse Jamie Zubairi is a writer, painter, actor, and dancer, and in the Ovalhouse Theatre’s current upstairs production, Unbroken Line, he showcases all of his ...

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Mydidae, Soho Theatre

Jack ThorneDirected by Vicky Jones★★★ Pros: The vibrant conversation and wit between the two characters in the first half of the show was delivered perfectly. Cons: I thought David’s action two-thirds of the way through the play was unexplainable and Marian’s response equally bizarre even taking into consideration the severe sadness they’ve had in their lives. Our Verdict: An interesting concept with strong performances from the two actors. Unfortunately the characters’ histories don’t quite match up with their behaviour on ...

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Everyday Maps for Everyday Use, Finborough Theatre

Tom Morton-SmithDirected by Beckie Mills★★★★ Pros: Fascinating script and great acting. Cons: It’s a shame there is nowhere to have a drink before the show! Our Verdict: A great piece of new writing. Don’t miss this one. Courtesy of the Finborough Theatre It was with great regret that I arrived at the Finborough to find that the wine bar which used to be below the theatre has gone into administration (a less successful by-product of the Olympics we’re told). I ...

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The Most Incredible Nothing, Battersea Arts Centre

A Battersea Arts Centre Homegrown ProductionDirected by Neil Callaghan★★★ Pros: A creative and engaging piece all-round, and it feels good to know that it was created by young people who have obviously made a strong connection with the theatre. Cons: The content and delivery felt a bit self-indulgent at times but it was obviously coming from an honest and raw place. For the bravery alone, we can cut it some slack. Our Verdict: For a piece created in two months, ...

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Machines for Living, Battersea Arts Centre

Originally devised by Let Slip TheatreRedeveloped by Crank Theatre ★★★★ Pros: Clever, quirky, visually striking, fun, and thought-provoking. Cons: A few bits were hard to follow, and a fuller conclusion would have been welcome. Our Verdict: A great first piece for Crank Theatre; lots of fun and very smart! Courtesy of Battersea Arts Centre Crank Theatre and their inaugural production of Machines for Living at the Battersea Arts Centre this week were born from Let Slip’s original production of the ...

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Rémy, Arcola Theatre

Created and Performed by Claire Gaydon★★★ Pros: A very enjoyable performance from a charming young actress and some lovely, magical storytelling. Cons: The story seemed to contain quite a bit of filler and sitting in the Arcola Tent in December can be a fairly uncomfortable experience. Our Verdict: Not a particularly energetic or engaging story but it is brimming with warm-hearted, feel-good cheer and an uplifting performance that is both refreshingly minimalistic and natural. Be sure to wear your thermals ...

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Fulfil Me Fully, Phil, The Space

Written and directed by Sebastian Rex★★★ Pros: Interesting concept, with a great performance by the eponymous Phil. Cons: Some of the characters can come across as overly simplistic. Our Verdict: A good night out, if you have the energy to travel to the venue! Courtesy of The Space Even after a quite a few years in the London theatre scene, I must say that I wasn’t aware of The Space, which is a great shame. The charming venue, admittedly, is ...

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Pack, Finborough Theatre

Louise MonaghanDirected by Louise Hill★★★ Pros: An absolutely amazing all-female cast and a passionate, intense, and unique story. Cons: A bit of a jumpy script – coherency sometimes took a backseat to valuable but heavy-handed morals. Our Verdict: A polished and fiercely performed show that was powerful but in the end maybe a bit too overpowering. Courtesy of the Finborough Theatre I didn’t go into the Finborough’s new play about race and politics expecting the setting to be a bridge ...

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