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Small yet perfectly formed: King Tut A Pyramid Panto @KingsHeadThtr

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Christmas is coming and so that means that pantomime season is in full swing. Charles Court Opera is back at the Kings Head Theatre with their off-kilter take on the panto genre with King Tut, A Pyramid Panto. Pared back so it’s called a “boutique panto” this one is small but perfectly formed with cheap laughs, a weird plot and some fine singing.Set in the Valley of the Kings, a small troupe of explorers are about to open up King Tut’s tomb only to find themselves whisked back in time to when King Tut ruled with his pal... Who just happens to be a talking Camel.

Wishful thinking: The Passing of The Third Floor Back @Finborough

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In The Passing of The Third Floor Back, the arrival of a mystery man at a lodging turns a bunch of crooks, philanderers and pretenders that make up English society into human beings.  The action takes place over the festive season and it could be an alternative to Dickens's A Christmas Carol. Without the ghosts.

The piece is having its first revival in 70 years at the Finborough Theatre. I overheard someone leaving the theatre noting they found the first part more interesting than the rest. Afterall, this prologue is the bit that presents the characters with all their flaws. The dialogue is sharp and hilarious. And you could be forgiven for thinking not much has changed in London since Edwardian times.

But Jerome K Jerome, who spent some time living in down and out places depicted here, has other plans for his characters. The arrival of a mysterious new lodger (Alexander Knox) confronts the characters one by one. Each believes they have met him somewhere before and take his advic…

Lost in the city: Ordinary Days @OrdinaryDaysLDN @draytonarmsSW5

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Life goes on whether you like it or not in Ordinary Days. A great little musical currently running at the Drayton Arms Theatre.At first glance this story of two couples coming together could be confused for yet another quirky New York-y musical... Like the dreary I Love You, You’re Perfect Now Change or I Love You Because. But Adam Gwon’s songs explore loneliness and wasted time in a big city and give this piece a lot of heart. And perhaps a few tears.The premise if four people lost in New York and coming together. They find something about each other and themselves in the process. There’s Warren (Neil Cameron) the struggling artist and cat sitter. Deb (Nora Perone) the student with an implausible thesis. Jason (Taite-Elliot Drew) who’s moving in with his girlfriend. And Claire (Natalie Day) who’s making room for her boyfriend, but not much.Through a series of songs each character gets to tell their story. The songs, like their lives, are at first compartmentalised. But over the course…

Mixed race privilege: White @ovalhouse

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I always knew what I was. I was mixed race. I was... And so begins Koko Brown’s monologue White. It’s about being mixed race and being an outsider and growing up in modern Britain dealing with labels when sometimes none really fit.

It’s currently playing at the Ovalhouse Theatre as part of its Autumn Series of shows.

Koko Brown uses spoken word, live vocal looping and multimedia to create a powerful and compelling statement on how we view people.

Distant and remote: The Dark Room @theatre503

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Angela Betzien’s hard-hitting play The Dark Room at Theatre 503 explores the underbelly of neglect and violence in outback Australia. Or the Northern Territory to be precise. But this isn’t the Northern Territory famous for its obscure newspaper headlines. This is a much darker, isolated place where the people meant to protect vulnerable people mistreat them instead.

It’s billed as a disturbing psychological thriller but the resemblance to real events makes it feel more like a horror show. Betzien wrote the play after witnessing first-hand the shortage of accommodation for children in care in these communities. In the end you leave the theatre feeling shocked and numb from what you’ve seen.

Set in a run-down motel room, a series of characters come together to tell the story of stretched resources, limited patience and a tyranny of distance. Time moves forward and back as this bleak plywood motel room as each character recalls another.



It opens with youth worker Anni (Katy Brittain) b…

Stuck on you: Quaint Honour @Finborough

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It’s a boys life in Quaint Honour. It’s currently having a sold-out run at the Finborough Theatre. It’s set in a boarding school in 1950s England. Where among the study, cricket and Shakespearian productions, homosexual activity is rampant.

It’s not encouraged, but its seen as something to pass the time between all that study and sport. And there’s enough ambiguity about these relationships for the house master to turn a blind eye.
The premise is that Tully (Harley Viveash), a prefect, accepts a challenge to seduce younger pupil Hamilton (Jack Archer). It’s all meant to be harmless fun but the pair develop stronger feelings for each other.

And even as the play reaches its predictable conclusions, you can’t help but enjoy the time you spent with these characters.

Keeping up appearances: The House of Bernarda Alba @SpanishTheatreC

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You’re never in doubt with this production of The House of Bernarda Alba that the heat and the attitudes are oppressive in this small Spanish town.

A thin veneer of respectability and status barely conceals the urges and desires lurking beneath. And women, as second class citizens have only gossip, traditions and the church to cling to.

This passionate, topical and emotional production is currently playing at the Cervantes Theatre near Southwark, in both English and Spanish.