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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 Trojan Women, Gate Theatre

Caroline Bird, After EuripidesDirected by Christopher Haydon★★★★★ Pros: An excellent and original reworking of the Greek text with stellar performances and an exceptional design. Cons: Sight-lines are a little tricky, but blockages can be avoided by arriving early to claim front seats. Our Verdict: An all-around wonderful production featuring a spectacular script, cast, design, and message. Courtesy of the Gate Theatre Several years ago I worked in the sound-booth for my university’s production of The Trojan Women, so while I ...

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The Atheist, Lion and Unicorn Theatre

Ronan NooneDirected by Hugh Ross★★★ Pros: An interesting insight into a world that is written, created and manipulated by the media from the perspective of one overly self-aware journalist. Cons: While this one man performance is impressive, there could have been better differentiation between the female characters. The slight predictability of the plot made the end points of acts less impactful than they should have been. Our Verdict: A compelling story of relevance well-told. However, the one man characterisation of ...

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Opposition, Ovalhouse Theatre

Written and Performed by Hannah Silva ★★★★ Pros: A political satire which works remarkably well on many different levels. A brilliant performance from a dynamic young artist. Cons: The sound effects and the music occasionally drown out the words. This is particularly bad during an important speech at the end. Our Verdict: This is abstract theatre for people who don’t like abstract theatre (as well as those who do, of course). A unique, funny, incredibly clever one-woman show from a ...

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Our Country’s Good, Watford Palace Theatre

everything theatre originally reviewed this production at the Watford Palace Theatre. It will return to London from 30th January – 9th March 2013 at the St James Theatre: http://www.stjamestheatre.co.uk/events/our-countrys-good/Timberlake WertenbakerDirected by Max Stafford-Clark★★★★ Pros: Great ensemble production with a fabulous cast, and a message that remains incredibly important. Cons: Parts of the script remain tricky in places. Our Verdict: A very good production with an excellent cast that will make you feel good about the very fact you’re in a ...

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Bones, Tristan Bates Theatre

Jane UptonDirected by Angharad Jones & Laura Ford★★★★ Pros: An excellent performance and script complimented by a well-designed set. Cons: The fast-paced script was occasionally hard-to-follow, and the subject matter is not for the faint hearted. Our Verdict: A disturbing but overwhelmingly engrossing and worthwhile production. Courtesy of Fifth Word If you’ve ever seen a grisly car accident on the side of the road but been guiltily unable to peel your eyes away, prepare for a similar experience when viewing ...

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Happy Birthday, Wanda June, Old Red Lion Theatre

Kurt VonnegutDirected by Ant Stones★★★ Pros: A very clever script full of wit and humour, poignant moments and surrealism. The cast are versatile – I really liked the use of female actors playing male roles – and the comic timing is really good. Cons: The interpretation of a central character lacks charisma which saps the energy during an important scene in the second act. At times the dialogue was a little stiff. Our Verdict: This is a really enjoyable production ...

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Khadija is 18, Finborough Theatre

Shamser SinhaDirected by Tim Stark★★★ Pros: A brilliant and haunting ending, great performances from the female actors in particular and a noble script attempting to raise the profile of refugees. Cons: Often moments involving the male actors weren’t quite believable; dodgy accents in places didn’t help. Our Verdict: A show of two halves. It took a while for us to suspend that pesky disbelief, but the ending was tremendous. Courtesy of the Finborough Theatre Khadija is 18 marks the full-length ...

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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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