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Mum’s the word: Loot @ParkTheatre

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In the fifty years since Joe Orton’s death, Loot has lost none of its bite. In fact, with the naughtier, dirtier bits restored, it presents a hypocritical and corrupt British society that feels like present day. It’s currently playing at Park Theatre.
The targets here are religion, the police, corruption and our perception of death. It’s intended to shock. It’s intended to be funny. But taking in all the banter and word play you realise Orton’s attacking the veneer of polite respectability that pervades Britain. Here rhetoric clashes with reality. But at least it’s damn funny.
It opens with Mr McLeavy (Ian Redford) grieving over the death of his wife and getting ready to go to her funeral. He’s lived a respectable life. He is with Nurse Fay (Sinéad Matthews) who looked after her in her final weeks. But as she talks and talks about piety and respectability all is not what it seems.
McLeavy’s son, Hal (Sam Frenchum), has strayed from the righteous path. Attracted to petty crime, prostitute…

Boys town: Eyes Closed, Ears Covered @BunkerTheatreUK

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In the year since opening, The Bunker at Southwark has established itself for new and experimental pieces. Alex Gwyther’s Eyes Closed, Ears Covered is no exception. It’s a dark and confusing world where laughs and kicking about is a cover for something more sinister. It opens with an incident on the beach in Brighton in the late eighties. A boy’s been attacked and the police arrest two boys and question them about the events of the day.The two boys questioned, Seb and Aaron, had planned the day for weeks. They’ve planned and saved enough money and are going to bunk off school. But something has gone horribly wrong.There’s Aaron (Danny-Boy Hatchard), the cocky yet short-fused one. He’s got the plan to make it happen. And it was Seb’s (Joe Iris-Roberts) idea of the wide-eyed to visit his mum in Brighton. They seem like ten year olds as they bounce off each other and run about the stage recounting their mate ship. But as they tell their stories separately neither seem to provide a cred…

The lady’s not for turning: Doubt A Parable @swkplay

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It feels as if Doubt, A Parable, has transformed the Southwark Playhouse into a church. There’s the smell of incense, the stained glass and way too many seats for the audience in attendance. But a sensational subject, the ambiguity of the story and terrific performances make this a must see.It’s a tense and brisk and ambiguous piece that will leave you debating exactly what you saw.

The award-winning play by John Patrick Shanley is set in a fictional Catholic school in the Bronx in 1964. Sister Aloysius (Stella Gonet) is the head of a grade school. She’s convinced that Father Flynn (Jonathan Chambers) has had an inappropriate relationship with a boy in her school.

Shortwave: Talk Radio @ORLTheatre

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Thirty years on from its first premiere, Talk Radio was a hint about what lies in store for the future of radio. And the future of journalism. It’s an early insight into the media world we now accept where you no longer have to be an expert, you just have to have an opinion. It’s currently playing at the Old Red Lion Theatre.

It’s a step back in time to the eighties with this piece. But in doing so its a chance to reflect on the self-loathing monster writer Eric Bogosian created.

The controversial, opinionated, provocateur achieving fame and fortune but hating himself in the process seems quaint in an era of various bile-producing columnists and radio hosts. Nowadays to be sacked for being too provocative is a badge of honour; Merely a stepping stone to a bigger book deal or show. So you can be forgiven for not understanding all the angst in this piece.

The wipers times: Windows @Finborough

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Windows is yet another rediscovery of a play that resonates with the issues of today. It’s set in the period after the First World War, but the issues it tackles seem familiar. Class, rehabilitation and liberal minded values are put to the test. Politicians are despised for their incompetence and the changing economy makes it hard to find help at the right price.Written by John Galsworthy, better known for The Forsyte Sage, it’s currently playing at the Finborough Theatre. And it’s having the first professional UK production in 85 years.
We’re introduced to the March family, who are living in Highgate. Geoffrey March (David Shelley) is a successful writer of novels. His son Johnny (Duncan Moore) is still suffering the effects of three years in the trenches. But they are in desperate need of a woman to help clear the table. Surely in Highgate they could not be expected to do that for themselves?

Love and marriage: Mrs Orwell @ORLTheatre

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London in 1949 was a grim time with ration books and strange fish from South Africa. But it's amazing the lengths people will go to keep up morale. Or secure a future income. The business of marriage is explored in Mrs Orwell, currently playing at the Old Red Lion Theatre.

It opens shortly after the publication of Nineteen Eighty-Four. George Orwell is dying of tuberculosis in hospital. But in his rage against the dying light he believes he has at three more novels in him. So to keep up his morale he proposes to his friend Sonia Brownell, an assistant magazine editor.

Brownell is clear that she is not in love with him, but she does care for him. And she realises she could be his only hope to keep him going. Her heart is with a French Philospher and her body is often with Lucien Freud. Well, such is the glamorous life living with artists.

Grudge match: The Wasp @JSTheatre

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Just how long can you hold a grudge? Well it probably depends on what exactly went down at school. Morgan Lloyd Malcolm's The Wasp is back in the West End. It last appeared in 2015 at Hampstead Theatre and then transfered to Trafalgar Studios.
Two years on, it's at the Jermyn Street Theatre and just as chilling and just as spooky. Although perhaps having seen it all before, you see more of the mechanics behind the story that evolves over cups of tea. 
The story is about Carla and Heather. They were once schoolmates but drifted apart due to their different backgrounds. And one or two horrible incidents. Heather has become a successful businesswoman. She drinks lattes and has nice clothes. Carla is probably just about managing - pregnant and in a track suit - and prefers builders tea. The scene is set for what you think will be a class struggle and then Heather asks Carla if she would help her kill her husband.