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Playmates: Original Death Rabbit @JSTheatre

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A monologue by a woman in a dirty rabbit onesie seems like the unlikeliest of dark tales. But Original Death Rabbit leaves no stone unturned. It‘s an exploration of millennial angst, mental illness and the quest for acceptance on the internet. Rose Heiney’s monologue which was originally broadcast on BBC Radio Four is currently playing at the Jermyn Street Theatre.
It opens with a woman in a filthy pink bunny outfit. She is the original death rabbit. It started out as a stunt at university to reclaim the bunny from Playboy. But by accident she became an internet meme when she photographed wearing the outfit at a cemetery. Soon death rabbiting (wearing a bunny outfit in inappropriate settings) became a thing. Like planking or flossing. And then a promising career tumbles down a rabbit hole of internet forums, social media platforms, mental illness and addiction. 

On the internet, anyone can be a star. Unless of course you have a theatre blog. If you’re controversial and unique you can ge…

Flying away: My Dad's Gap Year @ParkTheatre

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Sometimes you just have to throw in the towel and fly out to Thailand. To hell with the consequences. At first. So is the premise In My Dad's Gap Year. But while some of the plot points might be as suspicious as the sexual antics on stage, there's a lot of heart and great performances in this piece. Written by Tom Wright, it's having its world premiere at Park Theatre.

Dave (Adam Lannon) is having a mid-life crisis. And he drinks too much. His wife Cath (Michelle Collins) has left him and is uptight teenage gay son, William (Alex Britt) is trying to enter the world of work. So what better way to get over it all by heading off to Thailand? Beside's it's supposed to be William's gap year. So why can't dad join in?

Along the way Dave falls for Mae (Victoria Gigante), who runs the bar at the beach. And there's a sexy lifesaver Matias (Max Percy) who is about to open William's eyes to a whole new world.

What at first seems to be a wild funny hedonistic…

Come fly with me: Cuzco @Theatre503

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An acquaintance came back from a holiday in Thailand recently. On his return he announced he was separating from his Spanish girlfriend. As I was watching Cuzco at Theatre 503 I was hoping the end of his affair wasn't anything like this. This is a provocative and fascinating piece about relationships and mind games in the the era of globalised tourism.

We're introduced to this Spanish couple in a bland hotel room in Cuzco. We don't know their names. She (Dilek Rose) is wearing sunglasses as she says she has a migraine. He (Gareth Jones) is wanting to go out and explore the city. But what seems like simple altitude sickness gives way to some more susbstantial. Soon angry politics, a failing relationships and colonisation is the focus of the discussion.

This two hander builds in intensity to an uneasy finale. A trip intended to escape the cracks in their relationship only serves to expand the divide between the two. Both Rose and Jones give an intimate intensity to a couple…

Axes to grind: Violet @charingcrossthr

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A game of poker, a greyhound bus trip and a few stops at whorehouses of America lead to salvation. Or so it appears in Violet, a musical getting its UK premiere at Charing Cross Theatre. An inspired production set in the traverse and a stellar cast are somewhat let down by a superficial story. And sound that made it difficult to hear what people were singing about.

Violet is set in 1964 North Carolina.  It's about a young woman who was disfigured as child when her father was careless with an axe. With her life savings she travels on a bus trip across the country in search of a miracle healer and tele-evangelist in Oklahoma. Along the way she strikes up a friendship with benefits with two young soldiers.

With this setup I was half expecting a Dogfight on the bus. But instead of some kinda time, things are kept bright and sweet with its bluegrass score by Jeanine Tesori and Brian Crawley. But soon the sweetness becomes relentless. By the time you're half way through you're …

Someone to watch over me: Dangerous Lenses #dangerouslensesplay @VaultFestival

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As I am writing up my thoughts on Dangerous Lenses I can see the neighbours opposite have switched on their lights. They look like they're getting ready to head out. And the people below them are setting the table for dinner. Perhaps the life of a blogger and the recluse at the centre of this piece are converging.

The premise is that Ann (Grace Chilton) who lives alone is watching the lives of her neighbours as hers goes by. But when a new tenant and his daughter move in. And the tenant says she has no daughter. Ann starts to obsess about what she saw and didn't see.

Written by Brooke Robinson and directed by Melissa Dunne, this monologue is a great exploration of loneliness and obsession in the city. Chilton is great (and a little creepy) as the lonely people-watcher.

It's enough to make you reflect on all the times you've made assumptions or watched others. Assuming you've done that sort of thing.

Papercut Theatre, presented Just To Get Married at the Finborough …

For the birds: Outlying Islands @KingsHeadThtr

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Life on Outlying Islands at the Kings Head Theatre is for the birds. Or  what happens on a remote island should stay on the island. David Greig's play is having its first revival. Buffeted by storms, death and primal forces even four weeks can seem like an eternity. But time flies in this expertly acted and imaginatively realised production.

Set ahead of the outbreak of the Second World War, two young men travel to this remote Scottish island to conduct a survey of the birds for the government. But even in the summer months the harsh conditions, isolation and boredom make them turn inward.

One of them, John (Jack McMillan), is a proper man. And a Scotsman. The other, Robert (Tom Machell) is a crazy idealist from London. Together they develop a special bond. There's another man, Kirk (Ken Drury) who has leased the land to the government and giving them a place to stay in a deserted chapel on the island. Puritanical and in search of profit he see's their mission as a way to…

Another look at nowt: The Daughter-In-Law @arcolatheatre

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Last May the Arcola Theatre presented The Daughter-In-Law in it’s downstairs space. Now is the chance to revisit this piece in its larger theatre. And it’s great to have another look at this simple tale and evocative production about lives against the backdrop of the 1912 miner’s strike.

Transferring from the intimate downstairs space gives the production a bigger audience and a bigger space to work with. And while it loses some of the intense claustrophobia of the smaller space it also seemed funnier. And more shocking. With it’s local dialect and intense relationships you soon find yourself drawn into the life of this Nottinghamshire mining town. 


DH Lawrence’s drama, written in 1913, is set a world where money and family are your means for survival. Mrs Gascoyne (Veronica Roberts) has two sons who are still in her orbit. The youngest Joe (Matthew Biddulph) is carefree and careless living at home. The other Luther (Matthew Barker) has just married. 

But the marriage seems to be an ambi…

1975 and all that: Kieran Hodgson’s ‘75 @Sohotheatre

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Actor, comedian, storyteller Kieran Hodgson has picked a topic for his latest show that should serve him well for the rest of his life. '75 at the Soho Theatre covers Britain’s on-again off-again affair with the European Union. You’re left without a doubt that since Britain has been arguing over the past fifty years about its place in Europe. It’s fairly likely that we’re going to continue to argue about it for the next fifty years. It’s not so much that leave means leave but that leave means nothing of any consequence. It’s either an enduring relationship or one to be endured.

This is not a rehash of the Brexit referendum. Even the chaos in parliament following last week’s votes gets little mention. But it doesn’t have to. Hodgson has his eye on the history books. How we got into Europe and how a referendum in 1975 was the way for a divided Labour Party to settle the issue. The referendum of 2016 wasn’t just history repeating itself. But it was a poor cover for the original wit…