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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!

Dead Quiet – Kensington Central Library, Review

Pros: An immersive theatre show in which you get to challenge the actors in your quest to reveal the truth Cons: The cramped library setting sometimes makes it hard to witness all the events It’s 1962, and Kensington Central Library is host to a sparsely-attended lecture on Cuban music – coinciding with the Cuban missile crisis, during which the world came as close as it has ever been to all-out nuclear war. A man is found murdered shortly after the ...

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For Reasons That Remain Unclear, King’s Head Theatre – Review

Pros: A strong script with equally striking performances from the cast. Cons: The over-estimated running time stretches the story too much. A cosy pub theatre isn’t necessarily the place to be in the hottest summer since 1976. Thankfully, every fan in Islington has been seized to produce some much needed air in the back room for the UK premiere of For Reasons that Remain Unclear, presented by the King’s Head as part of its 2018 Queer Season. A tightly lit ...

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Mowgli, Brunel Museum – Review

Pros: Set and costumes are the most inspired outcome of the company’s joint effort. Cons: An overstretched, overlong production which should shed a third of its weight to hold audience engagement. Taken from his family when he was a toddler, Mowgli (Nnamdi Oli) is adopted by a family of wolves and raised in the Indian jungle as a part of the pack. Responsibility for his education lies with the bear Baloo (Paul Robinson) and the black panther Bagheera (Joe Newton), who teach him ...

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Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, The Cockpit – Review

Pros: Strong acting which created a present, dark and twisted atmosphere Cons: Some risky creative choices were made which didn’t quite land for me and seemed peculiar Best known for it’s miraculous ability to engage with both the twisted and the tender, Sondheim’s musical Sweeney Todd is a tough balancing act to pull off. The play delves into the dirty streets of London and follows the vengeful and murderous actions of Todd as he desperately tries to reclaim his daughter ...

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The Time Capsule, Landor Theatre – Review

Pros: Audience engagement through a novel mechanism involving ping pong bats Cons: A muddled, confused plot, riddled with inconsistency The Time Capsule bills itself as a “pick your own adventure” play, in the manner of those books where you make moral or logical choices to determine which page you turn to continue the story. You’re handed a ping pong bat on entering the theatre, one side red, one black. Its purpose is explained through mime: each actor appears in turn, and ...

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End Of The Pier, Park Theatre – Review

Pros: A bright cast and slow burning story that blossom in an excellent Act II. Cons: Act I is disappointingly slow and spends far too much time setting the scene. Casting familiar faces in a play is usually a safe bet, as the audience already have a rapport though television. End Of The Pier neatly pulls off the trick at the wonderful Park Theatre. Les Dennis takes the lead, while Blake Harrison, Nitin Ganatra and Tala Gouveia complete the line-up. ...

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But It Still Goes On, Finborough Theatre – Review

Pros: This never-before-seen play has funny moments and quirky characters. Cons: The meandering writing and cramped staging let it down. The Finborough, the dinky pub theatre above the plain but cosy Finborough Arms, is fond of rediscovering forgotten twentieth century plays. Sometimes, as with The Passing of the Third Floor Back last year, the attempts are charming and reasonably successful. This time, however, with war poet Robert Graves’ never-performed late-1929 play But It Still Goes On, the play feels as ...

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Sounds and Sorcery, The Vaults – Review

Pros: A total treat for eyes and ears. Cons: Given the show’s steep price tag and focus on the music of Fantasia, I wish the sound had worked better. Those of us who grew up with a VHS tape of Disney’s Fantasia in the family film collection are likely to have vague memories of psychedelic colours, fairies dancing to swirling music and the harrowing tale of the sorcerer’s apprentice, which tells the sorry story of young Mickey Mouse daring to ...

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