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Showing posts from 2017

Laugh yer bastards: The Grinning Man @TrafStudios

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The Grinning Man bursts on stage at the Trafalgar Studios. And even if you’re not sure if it’s meant to be a comedy or an emotional love story, it’s determined to show you a good time.Although the good time is a little on the dark side. As one character comments in this show, “prepare to shit kittens.” If you like that sort of thing then it’s a welcome break from the relentless cheery musical fare around Christmas. The show, based on a story by Victor Hugo throws in puppetry and style. You enter the theatre as if you’re going to see a fairground freak show. Designer Jon Bausor has framed the stage with a giant disfigured mouth. It’s grim, but its the perfect setting for a story about a boy who’s mutilated, saves a baby, makes a living as a freak and then wins over a kingdom. Louis Maskell as the heroic Grinpayne the disfigured boy conveys emotion and excitement of the character. He’s on stage most of the time and is either controlling his younger puppet self or jumping about as the gro…

Christmas in Hull: FCUK’D @BunkertheatreUK

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FCUK’D at The Bunker is a an alternative Christmas theatre experience about life on the margins of British life.A teenage boy kidnaps his little brother and they run away. Escaping their grim council flat, daily run-ins with the authorities and in search of something better than this in the lead up to Christmas.Estimates put it at around 100,000 children run away from home every year. This piece unpacks some of the reasons why. Dad is gone. Mum is either drinking or comatose. Nobody cares about them and so they’re going to have some fun. They steal crisps from the supermarket. They steal a car. And then they burn it for warmth.Written and directed by Niall Ransome, the story is told in verse. Ransome took inspiration from his experiences growing up in Hull.

It’s delivered convincingly by Will Mytum as the troubled youth. He engages you through it’s short duration. Pacing about the stage, eyeing the audience, brining to life this tale about never getting a break.The stage is a square o…

Land of hope and glory: The Melting Pot @Finborough

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Poor old worn out Europe. Racked by violence and injustice only America serves as hope for a new post race new world. Given that part of making America great again nowadays is to close the doors to immigration. Or at least to certain people and religious groups. This hope seems misplaced.Yet this is only part of the message from Israel Zangwill’s 1908 play The Melting Pot. It’s having a brief run at the Finborough Theatre and is another Finborough rediscovery.You’ll walk away fascinated by the hope and optimism of this piece as migrants take their place in this new world. But along the way you’re never in doubt of the struggles that lie ahead. Survival is dependent on what money can be made. And if you aren’t part of the right religion your options are limited. It opens in the home of an immigrant Jewish family in New York. Mendel Quixano (Peter Marinker) scrapes out a living as a musician and has taken in his nephew David (Steffan Cennydd). He too is a musician who barely survived the…

Delightful, delicious: The Box of Delights @Wiltonmusichall

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Wilton's Music Hall's production of The Box of Delights is a  delightful night of theatre that never ceases to amaze. A great ensemble and imaginative staging make this a must-see Christmas show.

They've employed every theatrical trick to tell this Christmas adventure. There's puppetry, projections and people popping out of wardrobes. Adapted by Piers Torday from the 1935 novel by John Masefield, the story seems reminiscent given it involves a  mysterious box, the three friends on an adventure and an orphan boy. But while you'll be recalling stories by Tolkien and JK Rowling, the ingenuity of this adaptation is how it grabs your attention and never lets up.

We're introduced to the hero Kay Harker (played by the heroic looking Alistair Toovey) as he's travelling home from school. He's visiting his guardian for Christmas. On the trip he meets a Punch and Judy man Cole (Matthew Kelly) and his dog Toby. He also has an encounter with a spooky looking couple …

Wicked men with beards: The Woman In White @charingcrossthr

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What makes The Woman In White interesting is the cast assembled for this tale about imprisonment, nasty men and poor artists. Even if this story makes no sense, it's a chance to be amazed by performers who hopefully will get to go onto bigger (and better) things.

It’s having its first revival at Charing Cross Theatre. Pared back from its original production which premiered in the West End over ten years ago, here there are less effects and a bigger focus on the story.

But the story doesn’t make much sense. Two young bored women Laura (Anna O'Byrne) and Marian (Carolyn Maitland) trapped in the country enlist the services of an artist, Walter (Ashley Stillburn), to help them draw. The artist sees a ghostly woman dressed in white on the way to their house. Walter falls in love with Laura. But Laura’s engaged to marry Sir Percival Glyde (Chris Peluso) as it was her father’s dying wish. Her father mustn't have liked Laura much as you just know by Sir Percival's facial hair…

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…

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.

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.

Rubbing the wrong way: The Red Lion @Trafstudios

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Patrick Marber commented that his play The Red Lion dramatises something about England. One part is about community and belonging, and the other part is about business. But it also could be about not being terribly good at the sport, either in playing it or managing it unless you're importing it. It's currently playing downstairs at Trafalgar Studios.

It's a locker room comedy-drama set in a semi-professional football club in the north. Kidd (Stephen Tompkinson) as manager has spotted Jordan's (Dean Bone) potential and puts him on as a reserve. But his real plan is to transfer him to another team. With a transfer, he and the club stands to gain financially.

Victims of circumstance: Mother Courage And Her Children @swkplay

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War is hell. War is a bitch. But everyone has to scrape by and make a living. Tony Kushner's translation of Mother Courage And Her Children was given an epic staging at the National Theatre in 2009. Here in the more intimate surroundings of Southwark Playhouse, there's less spectacle. But it's still worth a look. Particularly if you're sitting on the right side of the traverse.

Brecht's piece should make you feel uncomfortable with sharp observations about capitalism, war and religion. This production just makes you feel uncomfortable. If you're sitting on the wrong side you will have to make do with either stretching your neck or imaging what's going on behind you.

Smirking out loud: The Diary of a Nobody @KingsHeadThtr

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The Diary of A Nobody returns to the Kings Head Theatre for a short run over the next few weeks. Rough Haired Pointer’s reimagining of the classic Victorian lower middle class tale was a hit a few years back. First at the White Bear Theatre and then at the Kings Head. But something seems amiss this time around. The comedy seems strained and the pacing a little slow. At best it elicits smirks out loud rather than belly laughs.I recalled it being it funnier and full of energy, allowing you to overlook some of the more curious interpretations of the source material. This includes the decision to have an all-male cast play a range of female roles.

Bad stuff happens: Insignificance @arcolatheatre

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Insignificance at the Arcola Theatre takes four famous people from the 1950s and puts them in a hotel room. Is it a nostalgia piece or is there a deeper meaning? Written by Terry Johnson, it’s having its first revival in over twenty years.
In the second act, the senator (meant to be Joeseph McCarthy) talks about how heroes, geniuses and stars serve as a convenient distraction. It’s also tempting to see parallels with the present day.
Thirty five years ago it was the Reagan era and the threat of nuclear war from a trigger-happy b-movie actor-president. In the intervening years there have been desert storms, coalitions of the willing (with or without poodles). In the future maybe there’ll be a battle between little rocket man and the oversized Oompa Loompa. Horrible stuff happens. And the heroes, geniuses and the celebrities exist just to make us feel there’s hope.

A broad range: Jinkx Monsoon Sings Everything @lsqtheatre

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Thanks to Ru Paul’s Drag Race being one of the shows available to stream for some time on Netflix, series five winner Jinkx Monsoon is a bit of a star over here. Now she’s here in London for a few days at the Leicester Square Theatre singing songs, improvising and doing stuff. For the few people that don’t have a Netflix subscription, Ru Paul’s Drag Race is a hilarious send up of the reality show format. But it’s also given rise to a new breed of drag super stars. They sing, they strut, they teach you how to throw shade. In this show, with her combination of improvised comedy and a relentless voice, Jinkx Monsoon gives you a night to remember.

Mother and son: The Busy World Is Hushed @Finborough

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Family and faith is at the forefront of The Busy World Is Hushed by Keith Bunin. The characters here have their faith tested, gained and lost over the course of the piece. It's having its European Premiere at the Finborough Theatre.There's Hanna (Kazia Pelka), a widowed minister and bible scholar. She's received a recently discovered gospel and engages the help of writer Brandt (Mateo Oxley), to help her turn her research into a publication.As they start work her only son Thomas (Michael James) returns home from a trip out in the wilderness. And Brandt and Thomas take an almost-instant liking to each other.But Brandt has just discovered his father has a brain tumour. And Thomas is still searching for reasons why his father died before he was born.

Lost and distant: All The Little Lights @arcolatheatre

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All the Little Lights by Jane Upton is a dark and moving story about girls who have slipped through the net. But the unsettling part of the piece is that they can come from all sorts of backgrounds and how easy it can happen to anyone. It's playing at the Arcola Theatre.

It opens with Lisa (Sarah Hoare) and Joanne (Tessie Orange-Turner). Once they were like sisters but something has happened and now they're distant.

Easy Extensions and free love: Hair #jointhetribe @thevaultsuk

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Last week marked the fiftieth anniversary of Hair. It's the original rock / concept musical about hippies, the anti-war movement and Western hypocrisy. And with this slick and seductive production, you would have to be a member of the alt-right to not want to join the tribe and get up and dance.

The cast, the music, the production and the performances make this not just a must see show, but one that deserves repeat viewings. You get a sense of the freshness and fun that must have amazed and shocked audiences fifty years ago.

The underground space of The Vaults at Waterloo have been transformed into an immersive enclave for the alternative. There's a strong ensemble cast with seductive vocals (and bodies). There's also a terrific sound from the band under the music direction of Gareth Bretherton.

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?

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…

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.

Unfinished business: Continuity @Finborough @Continuityplay

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It's an odd feeling to laughing along with man about plant a bomb... But such is the world you're drawn into with Gerry Moynihan's Continuity, currently at the Finborough Theatre.

What's chilling about this this monologue is how it hooks you in to the story . Here the cause is taken as a given. Unquestioned, unflinching and ongoing... The Good Friday Agreement is the thin veneer of peace that conceals what's really happening on the ground. The ongoing rough justice, score settling and resistance that is largely unreported.

The story involves Padraig (Paul Kennedy), a member of the Continuity IRA. He is dedicated to the cause. But after meeting a girl from Barcelona, he soon finds his colleagues questioning him  about his commitment. And he begins to wonder about it himself.

Jam: Just To Get Married @Finborough

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What's exciting about watching Cicely Hamilton's Just To Get Married is how it captures the spirit of a changing world. The piece is having its first London production in over 100 years at the Finborough Theatre.

It's lost none of its bite with its central argument that women are forced into marriage for their own survival. It's the only way they are judged as a success and they don't get the same opportunities as men.

It also captures life in Edwardian England where there was a fine line between living comfortably and just about managing. Here there is no safety net. No pensions. And if you're a woman, no right to vote either. Today, while some of the attitudes and priorities may have changed, some of the values may still seem familiar...

Remote arguments: The Marriage of Kim K @arcolatheatre @marriageofkimk

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The Arcola Theatre's annual Grimeborn Opera Festival opened this year with Leoe & Hyde's The Marriage of Kim K. It contrasts the life of Kim Kardashian and her brief marriage to basketballer Kris Humphries with the different backgrounds of the count and countess in Mozart's opera.

But this piece really boils down to who has the remote control in the living room. There is a third couple in the proceedings - Amelia and Stephen. She is a law student and likes to watch trashy television and he is a composer who wants to watch something more challenging.

You would think they would get a tablet and headphones and stream like everyone else. But this story was added after composer and director Stephen Hyde fell for his leading lady Amelia Gabriel. So a show about a reality show becomes its own reality show. It's so meta it is enough to do your head in.

Feeling bleat: Sheep @whitebeartheatr

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Sleep deprivation, angst and strange goings on in London are things we all can relate to. But Sheep, a dystopian take on London doesn't disturb or amuse in the end. It's more a tease. It's currently playing at the White Bear Theatre in Kennington.

The problem is that the central character Dexy hasn't slept for 21 nights. Played by Ciaran Lonsdale he looks too calm, clean and controlled to be believable in this dreamlike scenario. There's no bloodshot eyes, erratic behaviour or general wandering about looking like shit. Even for a comedy getting the mood right is important.

It opens with him complaining about the duck down pillow and brooding over his missing girlfriend. Soon he is visited by some strange men in his life. There is the overly camp Leo and the dull bus driver Vic. Then there is the mysterious lady Margot who likes to go out dancing.

Murder on the dance floor: Disco Pigs @TrafStudios

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Twenty years on, Enda Walsh's Disco Pigs still manages to shock and fascinate with its evocative and provocative world of deprivation. It's currently playing at Trafalgar Studios.

But with its endless slang and two unpleasant characters, it's often an an impenetrable world. Even with two masterful performances and slick production values, this is still a journey through hell.

The piece is about Pig and Runt. Born on the same day and at the same time in the same hospital, they've been inseparable all their lives. They have their own language, own rules, and exist in a world of petty crime, violence, drinking and dancing...

But as they approach adulthood, Pig's feelings for Runt grow. Runt struggles to break away from Pig's advances and the world in which they have built over their lives.

The best of all possible worlds: Candide in Concert with @LMTOrch @CadoganHall

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It is possible to see the best of all possible worlds after experiencing the passion and sublime music making from London Musical Theatre Orchestra's concert version of Candide.

Playing for one night only at Cadogan Hall, you left the theatre sharing the joy and passion the musicians felt for Bernstein's work.

Based on a story by Voltaire, it's about a young man determined to cling to optimism despite the frequent tragedies he encounters. Along the way he's expelled from home, dragged into the Bulgarian army, brought before the Spanish Inquisition... But the plot is not so important...

As a concert version, Bernstein's operetta lets you overlook the sillier parts of the story and focus on the music and performances.

Eat it up: Mumburger @ORLTheatre

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If barbecues and eating bring people together, Mumburger takes it to a new level in dealing with death and loss. Currently playing at the Old Red Lion Theatre  Sarah Kosar's take on death, family and meat is funny and thought-provoking. And a little off-putting if you're squeamish.
Mum's dead. She got hit by a truck on the M25. The two people she left behind - a father and daughter are grieving. There are the usual funeral plans and picking up relatives from the airport. But there is also the arrival of a brown package of meat patties to deal with.
Did their mum arrange for them to be delivered on her death, knowing full well that unlike her they were only part-time vegetarians? Or are they symbolic of something more?

Silly monkey: King Kong (A comedy) @thevaultsuk

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King Kong (A Comedy)is currently at the Vaults at Waterloo. A show that needs to tell you it's a comedy (albeit in parenthesis) might give you reason to hesitate. If it's funny why does it need to tell you that it will be? But fortunately it is like a sketch show put together to tell the story of the beast that almost conquered New York. 
King Kong is such a silly story that giving it a comic treatment actually doesn't change much of it. Struggling producer needs a leading lady for his next animal picture. No self-respecting actress would work with him and so he finds a lady off the street. Only this time she can speed read ancient texts and maps. There is enough silliness to appeal to children and enough adult themes to keep the rest of us tittering away.
A cast of serious (and not so serious) actors; Ben Chamberlain, Rob Crouch, Sam Donnelly, Aix Dunmore and Brendan Murphy play a range of characters that featured in the film.