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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!

If You Don’t Let Us Dream, We Won’t Let You Sleep, Royal Court

Anders Lustgarten Directed by Simon Godwin  ★★★ Pros: The cast are excellent and the lack of set and back stage area is an interesting way to present a drama set in times of ‘austerity’. Cons: There are too many ideas, presented too quickly and too piecemeal. Some of the characters and situations presented are clichéd and the humour just doesn’t happen. Our Verdict: This quality production will appeal to those who have an understanding and interest in politics and economics. It ...

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Waiting for Lefty, White Bear Theatre

Clifford Odets Directed by Christopher Emms ★★★★ Pros: A terrific script and a (mostly) excellent cast deliver an impassioned story which rings true. Cons: Not all of the actors are believable. Our Verdict: This is a very enjoyable play and the majority of the performances are of a very high standard. Courtesy of  Waiting for Lefty is a terrific political drama written in 1935 which tells the story of impoverished workers on strike through a series of vignettes. It was ...

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Othello, White Bear Theatre

William Shakespeare Directed by Emily Morrison ★★★★ Pros: Gorgeous costumes, inspired direction and world class acting. Cons: Not much to report here. A few of the actors didn’t quite hold my attention but this is only a minor dent in a truly dazzling show. Our Verdict: A stunning feat of wholly engaging entertainment with highly creative directing and two astonishing central performances. This came dangerously close to a 5 star review. Courtesy of Emanate Theatre Company Whoever calls the shots at the ...

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Dr Faustus, Network Theatre

Christopher Marlowe, adapted by Bernie C. Byrnes Director Bernie C. Byrnes ★★★ Pros: The themes of the play (the corruption of power and the struggle between personal morality and worldly temptation) are acutely condensed into an intelligent view on the faults of society today.  Cons: While the actors clearly understood the play inside out and presented an impressively cohesive and entertaining piece in half the usual rehearsal time, it did lack a certain polish.  Our Verdict: This play as a ...

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Linck, The Last Refuge

Danny West & Ben Fensome  Directed by Danny West★★★ Pros: A strong all-female cast with a very interesting and relevant subject matter Cons: There seemed to be a few inconsistencies in the script, a potentially biased representation of Catharina Linck and the final moments lacked passion Our Verdict: A very interesting script and a strong cast make this show worthwhile, despite some tiny flaws Courtesy of The Last Refuge The new production, Linck, at The Last Refuge in Peckham has ...

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Di and Viv and Rose, Hampstead Theatre

Amelia Bullmore Directed by Anna Mackmin★★★★ Pros: A play about life and friendship that is easy to relate to, funny and heart-warming. It is brilliantly acted by a high calibre cast and the costumes and sound design realistically evoke the passing of time. Cons: There are a lot of unnecessary set changes which chops up the flow of the drama and as there is no crew, the actors make the changes themselves which gets a bit distracting. Our Verdict: Guaranteed to ...

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Love On Trial, Ovalhouse Theatre

Adapted by Roe Lane from the story by Stanley Kenani based on an idea by Amy Bonsall Directed by Roe Lane, Amy Bonsall and Kate Stafford ★★ Pros: Strong ideas, interesting subject matter and a fearlessly ambitious approach. Cons: Rather confusing and hard to follow. Our Verdict: Despite important and relevant subject matter, impressive acting and a thoughtful set, the narrative is tricky to follow and I found it difficult to relate to the characters. Courtesy of the Ovalhouse This ...

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Brainville at Night, Brockley Jack Studio Theatre

Alexander Moschos Directed by Matthew Parker ★★★ Pros: A polished and well-crafted show. Excellent sound, lights and projection with good performances. Cons: The middle of the show drags and it started to feel a little bit repetitive. A shorter, punchier version would have more impact. Our Verdict: A good show which is nearly an excellent show. The company is doing great work and the Brockley Jack is a lovely venue. Courtesy of Brockley Jack The Brockley Jack is a charming venue, attached ...

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The Paper Cinema’s Odyssey, Battersea Arts Centre

HomerDevised by Nicholas Rawling, Imogen Charleston, Caroline Williams, Irena Stratieva, Christopher Reed, Ed Dowie, Quinta and Matthew Brown★★★★★ Pros: The combination of hand drawn and carefully cut out puppets with 21st century technology produces an intriguing take on the ancient art of paper and shadow puppetry. Cons: None to speak of but I think Paper Cinema are going to have to think hard about how they will top this one. Our Verdict: A must see! The performers utilise their attention ...

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Romeo and Juliet, Upstairs at the Gatehouse

William Shakespeare Directed by Zoé Ford ★★★★ Pros: Some excellent performances and great direction. This well known script is engaging throughout the two hour and forty five minute performance. Add the sixties soundtrack and this modern take will appeal to a wide audience. Cons: At times the sound and lighting are a bit clunky and I am not convinced by the interpretation of Juliet as a weeping frailty. A few performances pale against the more dynamic ones. Our Verdict: Hiraeth Artistic Productions ...

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