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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!

Forwards and Backwards, Camden People’s Theatre

Presented by Square Peg Theatre★★★★  Pros: Minimalist design, a show where strong performances create the scene. Cons: Few to speak of; perhaps the chemistry between the two leads could be tweaked, but not by much! Our Verdict: Don’t miss this well-planned, well-written and well-acted show. It’s what fringe theatre is all about. Courtesy of Camden People’s Theare The greatest thing about fringe theatre festivals is the experience of walking into a small auditorium where the set is composed of a ...

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Shakespeare Goes for Gold, The Union Theatre

Produced by Noor Lawson and Liz McMullen for MyLovely Productions★★★ Pros: A good idea, easy to watch and easy laughs. Cons: A tad sloppy in places perhaps, but nothing too severe. Our Verdict: Worth going to see, a fun evening out and MyLovely Productions are one to watch. Courtesy of MyLovely Productions In light of the current ‘Olympomania’, MyLovely Productions are getting into the spirit of things with their most recent production of Shakespeare Goes for Gold, in which they ...

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Queen for a Day, Upstairs at the Gatehouse

Hayley AtkinsonDirected by Will Bird ★★★ Pros: A thought-provoking conversation between two intriguing characters, strong performances. Cons: Drags a little bit at points even though it was only an hour long. Our Verdict: An interesting premise that ultimately left me feeling a bit uncertain at the end. Courtesy of BitLip Theatre Queen for a Day is one of the many shows that has appeared at the Camden Fringe Festival. At the very top of Highgate Hill, in a relatively well ...

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Is Anything Broken?, Tristan Bates Theatre

Dan DaviesDirected by Maja Milatovic-Ovadia★★★ Pros: A sharp and relevant script and a short, punchy performance overall. Cons: A slightly slow first half, possibly due to some slightly mediocre performances. Our Verdict: An enjoyable show on balance, but I left feeling slightly disappointed by the way in which the script was brought to life on stage. Andrew Ward and Simon Desborough. Photo: Peter Tilling The last Dan Davies play we saw was 55M SQ, the rather excellent 10 minute short ...

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Jack the Ripper’s London, London Bridge

Mike Carter and Lizzie Quinn for Crow TheatreDirected by Natasha Campbell★★★★★ Pros: Brilliant and truly unique immersive theatre in a superb venue. Cons: None whatsoever with the show, but had some problems finding where ‘the meeting point’ was. Our Verdict: A real gem and a fantastic surprise; the best immersive theatre I’ve experienced. Tremendous stuff! Courtesy of Crow Theatre It’s been nearly 3 months since we last awarded our highest accolade to a production; perhaps we’re too picky, but our ...

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An Incident at the Border, Finborough Theatre

Kieran LynnDirected by Bruce Guthrie★★★★ Pros: A short, sweet and very amusing performance with some cracking acting in the beautifully cool Finborough auditorium. Cons: Energy levels dropped in certain places where the dialogue got slightly long-winded and frustrating. Our Verdict: A great show which successfully addresses a serious issue in a comical manner. Well worth seeing! Courtesy of Frances Loney for WhatsOnStage Human beings really are a bizarre species. That was the overarching thought that was ringing in my ears ...

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Two-Headed, The Rose Theatre

July JensenDirected by Amy Bonsall★★★★ Pros: A truly fascinating venue hosting a snappy and energetic performance. Cons: Mormon culture is probably not the most riveting subject matter. Our Verdict: Worth the detour – check it out! Courtesy of My Lovely Productions A play dealing with the difficulties of living in the Mormon community in the middle of the 19th century is more relevant today than one might imagine. With the presidential race tightening in the USA, more and more fuss ...

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The Maids, Lion and Unicorn Theatre

Jean GenetDirected by Paul Linghorn★★★ Pros: Some powerful moments in the second half and a superb performance from Chris Stevenson. Cons: A weak first half, and it feels like the team hasn’t completely ‘got to know’ the script yet, meaning that it lacks definition in some places. Our Verdict: An ambitious and positive show from a young company (feats which should be applauded), but it needs more work in places to make it a true success. Courtesy of Pandemonium Performance ...

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Spring Awakening, Brockley Jack Studio Theatre

Frank Wedekind, translated by F.J. ZieglerDirected by John Fricker★★★★ Pros: A well-designed and well-performed production of a show with a strong message. Cons: A little long at 2 hours 30 mins. Our Verdict: A great show from a young theatre company; we hope to see more of them soon. Courtesy of OutFox Productions Spring Awakening – a title which many will remember from the short-lived, but ultimately well-received Rock Musical which swooped into the West End in 2009. It can ...

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