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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!

Love vs Hate, Tristan Bates Theatre

Wounds Chantelle Dusette Directed by Zoe Ford To The End Of Love Edwin Preece Directed by Sean Turner ★★★ Pros: Two plays for the price of one. Well-crafted, well-produced performances set in an intimate space. Cons: The individual character storylines lacked that spark of originality. Our Verdict: An intensely moving and depressing show – wouldn’t recommend it for someone looking for a jovial night out. Gripping, though not particularly groundbreaking. Courtesy of Lonesome Schoolboy Productions When I was 14, I ...

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Shaw Thing: Two one act plays, The Poor School

George Bernard Shaw Directed by Paul Caister ★★★ Pros: You can’t beat George Bernard Shaw for witty, digestible period drama with a twist in the tale. The cast do a good job of delivering an enjoyable performance and provide plenty of laughs. Cons: There are some clunky bits and some performances are a bit hollow. At times the lines are delivered at such a pace that they become blurred, lose impact and are a little difficult to distinguish. Our Verdict: ...

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Tartuffe, Canal Café Theatre

Molière, adapted by Sarah E. Pitard Directed by Cat Robey ★★ Pros: Great choice of era (1920s) to set this 17th century French classic. The lavish and indulgent background feeds perfectly into the title character’s greed and his champion’s blind charity and devotion. Cons: The ‘frame’ of the piece (cabaret) was not clear until an out of place reference at the end of the show, and the physical space itself was too small for such an iconic farce. The show ...

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Trash, White Bear Theatre

Tom HuntDirected by Timothy J Howe★★★ Pros: A wonderful atmosphere and a few laughs. Cons: Lack of development or evolution of the characters. Our Verdict: Light and amusing, but it could be more engaging. Courtesy of LittleBerry Productions With curtain up being about the time of your evening meal, it’s not unusual to attend a show feeling a little peckish, which is somewhat worrying considering that this play is all about food. I should not have feared however, as this ...

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Jumpers for Goalposts, Watford Palace Theatre

Tom Wells Directed by James Grieve ★★★★ Pros: A superbly well-written, well-acted, and well-designed production. Cons: While charming, the script occasionally borders on cliché. Our Verdict: A truly outstanding production with a fine balance of humour and heart. Courtesy of Watford Palace Theatre Watford Palace Theatre is on a winning streak in my book – after four visits this year, I’ve not even come close to being disappointed by a single production. The venue strikes again this month, housing the premier run ...

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My Favourite Madman, Tristan Bates Theatre

Elchin AfandlyevDirected by Matthew Gould★★★★ Pros: Elchin Afandlyev is a world-renowned writer. He has the ability to condense a lot of thinking into a 90 minute play, and some of his musings are inspired. Cons: The script is very literary and as such it is a bit of a challenge. Our Verdict: It’s not every day of the week that you can go and get an insight into the affairs of Azerbaijan. With the exception of this week. Courtesy of ...

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The Seagull, Theatro Technis

Anton Chekhov Directed by Gavin McAlinden ★★★ Pros: A terrific Chekhov script with some interesting performances. Cons: This show has plenty of moments which fall flat and are not quite believable. Our Verdict: An unusual production of a classic play which tends to be a bit samey elsewhere. It’s certainly nice to see these characters getting a revamp. Courtesy of Theatro Technis Much as I love The Seagull, it is one of those plays I’ve seen once too often. Chekhov ...

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A Month in the Country, Theatro Technis

Ivan TurgenevDirected by Gavin McAlinden★★★ Pros: An interesting and entertaining story performed by an energetic and well-balanced ensemble. Cons: The lengthy Russian classic suffered some dull ruts. Our Verdict: An enjoyable and refreshingly simple period piece that succeeds despite some dragging. Courtesy of Theatro Technis The Acting Gymnasium allows actors to explore classic works by writers such as Turgenev and Chekhov among others, and their current production at the Theatro Technis is Turgenev’s dramatic comedy, A Month in the Country. ...

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Alice Diamond and The Forty Thieves, The Bell Pub

Madelaine BeeversDirected by Emma Williamson★★★★ Pros: A unique and fascinating venue with compelling performances from all the cast. Cons: At the end of two hours you may have a stiff neck if you sit on the front row, as it is akin to watching a tennis match at times. Our Verdict: Impressive on all fronts and a story which could easily have been set today. A creation SOOT Theatre Company can be proud of. Courtesy of SOOT Theatre If you ...

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You and Me, Blue Elephant Theatre

Roger SimeonDirected by Bryony Shanahan★★★★ Pros: Demonstrates character acting at its best. Chameleon-like performances by Patricia Rodriguez and Mercè Ribot take you on an unpredictable and whacky ride through the love and hate of sisterhood. Cons: This is a very specific kind of theatre – esoteric, philosophic and abstract. It may prove frustrating for those preferring linear plot lines and story structure. Our Verdict: Refreshingly different, this is a show that plucks us out of traditional storytelling and hurls us ...

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