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Reality bites: Summer Street @WaterlooEast

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Shows that call themselves hilarious are setting a high bar for themselves. Summer Street the hilarious Aussie soap opera musical, alas does not live up to its name. Despite the enthusiastic cast, and a title song that will remain an earworm long after you've left the show. It's currently playing at Waterloo East theatre.

The premise is that a few years after the cancelling of the first (and ever) soap opera with musical numbers, its stars reunite for a one-off episode. The years have not been kind to the former cast members. Drugs, drinking or dirty costumes seemed to have befallen them. But the "secret" plan is to make this reunion show more geared to the reality era.


It works best when it's just a silly soap opera where the cast doubles as partners and parents of various characters on the neighbourhood street. But many of the jokes fall flat, and it also misses the opportunity to make others - such as the cast doubling various roles or how hideous the set loo…

Attracting attention: Amour @charingcrossthr

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Amour is about the brief charming life of an ordinary man who discovers he can walk through walls in 1950s Paris. With music by Michael Legrand, it’s a whimsical fantasy that it’s hard to dislike. As the piece says, “There’s magic in the air” even if the lyrics translated into English bring the piece crashing back to reality. It’s having its UK professional premiere at Charing Cross Theatre.

At the centre of the piece is an earnest young man Dusoleil (Gary Tushaw), who lives alone in a flat in Montmartre, dreaming about his neighbour Isabelle (Anna O’Byrne), who is married. He’s a hard worker in the civil service who gets his work done so he can write a letter to his dear mother. But one day during a power outage he discovers he can walk through walls. So he decides to put his new talents to good use to become a latter-day Robin Hood, winning the hearts of the locals and Isabelle.

The lyrics become predictable that it’s tempting to play a guessing game. You just know when the lead si…

Songs and dancing: Three / 8:38 / Seven @WiltonMusicHall

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It was meant to be ballet with songs. But instead after the cancelling of the original programming of Seven Deadly Sins, it became songs and a little bit of choreography. But with its beautiful singing and a chance to see a new dance piece choreographed by Javier De Frutos, Three / 8:38 / Seven shows that simple (although unplanned) premises can make a for a great evening of entertainment. It’s currently at Wiltons Music Hall.

The programme opens with “Three”, representing songs from Kurt Weil and Bertolt Brecht’s Threepenny Opera. Beginning with the overture, it sets the mood for the period of Weimar Berlin. It might help to understand the time and context of the piece, but by the time we’re into the Pimp’s Ballad and Mack The Knife (arguably Weil’s biggest hit) it probably doesn’t matter.


Next up is the dance piece, 8:38 performed by Viviana Durante and Mbulelo Ndabeni, set to music by Bach and Weil, ending with Lotte Lenya’s version of September Song. As the two dance in synchroni…

Night and day: The Reality @CervantesTheatr

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What's real and what's imagined seem to be at the heart of The Reality. A new piece of writing by Denise Despeyroux and translated by Sarah Maitland. It's currently playing at the Cervantes Theatre.

Told over a series of video chats, one sister is dying, and the other has to become more like her. Or is that what's happening? Is there a good sister and a darker sister? One sister who loves life and the other despair.

As the sisters converse, it becomes less clear what really is happening and what are the games being played here.

Maite Jáuregui holds your attention throughout, with her energetic performance as the darker sister. Full of rage and anger. Walking into the theatre, she is repeatedly chanting. It was quite an achievement as she had to do it for an extra five minutes due to latecomers. But the pre-recorded video of her alternate sister feels more like a gimmick and is often a distraction instead of supporting the drama and themes of the piece.

Nevertheless, …

Love abridged: Uncle Vanya @Thehopetheatre

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Production company Tales Retold, which aims to take a new look at old classics distils the essence and passion of Chekhov's Uncle Vanya into a brisk 90-minute observation on family dysfunctions. And the disputes for money, love and survival in the Russian countryside with too much sun and vodka at hand don't seem too foreign to similar skirmishes nowadays either. It's currently playing at the Hope Theatre.

Professor Serebryakov (Rory McCallum) and his young and beautiful second wife Yelena (Esme Mahoney) have come to the country estate run by Uncle Vanya (Adrian Wheeler) and his plain daughter from his first marriage, Sonya (Cassandra Hodges). Their arrival has upset the delicate balance of life at the property with their late nights and random walks. But Uncle Vanya is regretting his life, particularly since he had met Yelena ten years before and never asked her to marry her. And he doesn't think much of the professor. There's a doctor, Astrov (DK Ugonna) who is …

Love and war: Creditors @JSTheatre

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Walking into Jermyn Street Theatre to see the new translation of Strindberg's Creditors feels like you're transported to a small seaside hotel in the late 1800s. The sounds, look and feel, takes you there on some unknown Nordic island where the action takes place.

And it's gorgeousness lulls you into a false sense of security for the mind games that are about to take place over the next ninety minutes.

It opens with Adolf (James Sheldon), talking desperately about the love for his new wife with a man he recently has befriended, Gustaf (David Sturzaker). She's just published a book about her idiotic husband from her first marriage and now gone away for a few days. And her absence is driving Adolf crazy. He's stopped painting and started working on a very sexually provocative sculpture.

But his new friend is sowing the seeds of doubt about his wife. He saw her on the ferry chatting to some young men. And as Adolf becomes increasingly neurotic about his new wife'…

Rough trade: Market Boy @theuniontheatre

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In Market Boy, the market is free and full of life lessons. Never dull. There’s no time to dwell on why you’re there as there’s merchandise to move and money to be made. And maybe a girl to impress. It's currently playing at the Union Theatre.

The show opens in the early 1980s at Romford Street Market. It’s the era before online deliveries and fashionable farmers markets selling fresh produce. This is a rough trade. And Boy (Tommy Knight), lands a job selling women's shoes. Under the apprenticeship of Trader (Andy Umerah), he learns a thing or two about shoes, selling to the women of Romford, and closing a deal.

David Eldridge’s play, first seen at the National Theatre over ten years ago, whisks you on a journey through the eighties from boom to bust. With over fifty characters, all are loveable rogues with hearts of gold. And they have a thing or two to teach the Boy.

What this show lacks in epic scale (or characterisation), it makes up with enthusiasm and energy from its yo…

Gay gore: Tumulus @Sohotheatre

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Something is unnerving about Tumulus. It isn't just that some audience members are asked if they want apple juice or Lucozade before the piece begins (although that's pretty weird too if you're unfamiliar with the subject matter). But it's that the show will leave you with the thought that in the London gay community there are a group of professional men who are perfectly happy to let you die. Just not in their own flats. So beware partying with anyone with easy access to Hampstead Heath.

A short piece it's about respectable professional Anthony (Ciarán Owens). He has a stable job and a penchant for young boys and 36-hour chemsex parties. When his ex-lover is found dead on Hampstead Heath was it just another overdose that happens every week. Or was it something more sinister?

The life of Anthony, his addictions and the people around him weave together like a gay gore whodunnit. But writer Christopher Williams creates a funny and playful account of life in London, …