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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!

The Snow Spider, Ovalhouse Theatre

Delyth Jones & James Lark, based on the book by Jenny NimmoDirected by Delyth Jones★★★★ Pros: A really interesting script, incredibly talented performers, and a great design. Cons: Though advertised for children, some moments came off as potentially too dark for the youngest viewers. Our Verdict: A delightful and engaging adaptation suitable for kids and mature viewers. Courtesy of the Ovalhouse Theatre In their latest production at the Ovalhouse, the Io Theatre Company has successfully intertwined children’s literature with music ...

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The Supper Party, Tabard Theatre

Alison EvansDirected by James Beedham and Eleanor Teasdale★★★ Pros: A witty script with interesting, quotable thoughts on life, art and relationships. Some very good acting too. Cons: The story lags in places and some of the acting is less than perfect. Nothing too bad though. Our Verdict: This is a show which offers plenty of laughs with a number of profound observations to add real depth to a story which is essentially about rubbish parties and vacuous people. A definite ...

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Unseasoned, Shooting Star Pub

Presented by Back Here! Theatre Company★★ Pros: Most of these pieces contain interesting concepts and humour, and there is some observant and poignant writing in the monologues. Bethan Cullinane stands out as a talented writer and actor. Cons: The characters presented in the plays are, on the whole, unimaginative and obvious. The dialogues are delivered to a measured cadence that lacks dynamic. The acting is weak at several points throughout the performance, lacking credibility and sincerity. Our Verdict: This company ...

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The Watcher’s Kaleidoscope, The London Theatre

Chris ThorpePresented by New Write Productions★★ Pros: An interesting actor in the central role. Cons: Full of annoying and unprofessional mistakes from start to finish. Our Verdict: A dull and occasionally infuriating evening. Please note that this review was for a preview performance of The Watcher’s Kaleidoscope. The Watcher’s Kaleidoscope is the story of Paul, an awkward but outwardly sweet young man as he deals with the news that he has cancer. As the story develops we see that he ...

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Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay!, Chickenshed Theatre

Dario FoTranslated by Lino Pertile, adapted by Bill Colvill and Robert WalkerDirected by Jelena Budimir★★★★ Pros: A fun play from a Nobel prize winning playwright. Great comedy with impressive rough-and-tumble slapstick. Cons: The venue is at the top end of the Piccadilly Line (possibly the slowest line of them all) so give yourself plenty of time to get there, and then some! Our Verdict: A night of hilarity from a tremendous, forward-thinking company who are on the up. Courtesy of ...

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Nightmare, The Space

Roger MossDirected by Peter Snee★★ Pros: Some good performances and character interaction. Cons: A clichéd evening where the acting, direction and script didn’t quite create the perfect recipe overall. Our Verdict: Not great I’m afraid, but a decent attempt at the (extremely difficult) on stage horror which may get better with time. Courtesy of The Space When I finally found The Space in East London, it was last thing I think I expected. I had disembarked the train at Canary ...

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The Ones Who Kill Shooting Stars, White Bear Theatre

Conall QuinnDirected by Alice Malin★★★ Pros: A funny and beautifully poetic script with some fantastic characters. Cons: The action is occasionally too loud and grandiose for such a tiny venue and some of the accents are not quite right. Our Verdict: A fairly decent (ish) production of an excellent script. Courtesy of The Public Reviews The White Bear is an intimate theatre hidden at the back of a lovely, cozy pub near Kennington tube station in South London. It is ...

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The Good Neighbour, Battersea Arts Centre

Intrepid Explorers Tour (Adults)Presented by the Battersea Arts Centre★★★★ Pros: A thought-provoking, inclusive and friendly production. Cons: Could perhaps have been a little shorter; at times a little unpolished. Our Verdict: Story-telling turned on its head. Certainly worth the trip down to South London! Courtesy of the BAC The Battersea Arts Centre, affectionately known as the BAC, probably doesn’t look like you’d expect it to. Based in a grade two listed Victorian town hall, it is an imposing but welcoming ...

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Scallywags, The Space

Presented by SOOPDirected by Nathan Chapman★★★★ Pros: Highly talented and dynamic cast, clever and simple design, interesting subject. Cons: The stakes of the story often took a back seat to the comedy, leaving something to be desired from the conclusion. Our Verdict: A fantastically funny and clever tribute to some unsung heroes of World War II – a history lesson without the lecture! Courtesy of The Space The first thing you should know about SOOP’s production of Scallywags at The ...

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Stacy, New Diorama Theatre

Jack ThorneDirected by Sam Miller★★★★ Pros: Simple, effective, easy to ‘get’, thought-provoking, funny and stylishly executed. Cons: I needed clarification on the plot in some places (but I’m not that bright, so…) Our Verdict: Great stuff once again from this excellent young company. Worth every penny of the measly £10 cost. Courtesy of All The Pigs I know we’ve raved about All The Pigs before now: our review of Scooter Thomas was so gushy that I could understand people believing ...

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