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The man in the rubber mask: The Toxic Avenger @toxicavengeruk

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An eighties rock ballad score and a terrific energetic cast make The Toxic Avenger a lot of fun. It’s back in London at the Arts Theatre.

With just a small cast of five performers, they change characters, change sex and mutate. All while singing an eighties inspired rock score. It’s amazing and exhausting to watch.The story is meant to be B-movie schlock. In Tromaville New Jersey, a nerd metamorphasises into a toxic superhero after being dumped into some New Jersey sludge by some jocks. He had discovered his local evil Mayor’s plans to use the town as a dumping ground for toxic waste from New York. Or something like that. And he falls in love with a girl. Who is blind. But the story is probably not as important as the people performing in it. Since they’re determined to show the audience a good time.

Chopping and ageing: Le Grand Mort @Trafstudios

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If you ever wondered what eating a light dinner might be like at Julian Clary’s place, Le Grand Mort at Trafalgar Studios gives you an idea.

It's a meticulous affair. Everything is stainless steel in Justin Nardella’s sterile kitchen set. As you would imagine a gay man might do to a Notting Hill flat. Food is already prepped and portioned into little bowls or packets. And any spillage is sprayed and wiped up. Based on Clary’s public persona you could assume it is him, even if his character's called Michael.

And  while the show and the food may not be to everyone’s taste, it's amusing and disturbing enough to keep you fascinated.

Copy that: Dolphins and Sharks @Finborough

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At the end of the piece one of the characters asks the rest of them “So we’re just going to sit back and accept this?” Before turning to the audience and asking the same question.
This is a key question in Dolphins and Sharks, a firey and sassy take on the world of work, dead end jobs, race and power. Written by James Anthony Tyler it’s having its European Premiere at the Finborough Theatre.

The story is set in rapidly gentrifying Harlem, where non-white people can’t get a break. But the argument about just going to sit back and accept this might ring true to many of the residents of Kensington and Chelsea, where the Finborough is based. Afterall this is the borough that has continued to convulse over the horror from the Grenfell Tower disaster in June. A disaster that feels like the culmination of negligence, a gulf between rich and poor and general disinterest.

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?