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Love is all you need: The Island @cervantesthtr

A drama set on the seventh floor of a non-descript hospital waiting room may not be everyone's idea of a great night at the theatre. But love and all other forms of the human condition are dissected in Juan Carlos Rubio's The Island. Translated by Tim Gutteridge, it feels like everything is up for grabs. What is love? Is it a bond between two women with a fifteen-year age gap? Is it the love between a mother and her son with a severe unknown disability? A wonderful life full of health and happiness is not always an option on the menu, and the choices may become a bit less palatable. Throughout a series of sometimes banal conversations, what comes out is a story of two women with lives that are separate and together. And while the piece becomes darker on one level as it progresses, it never ceases to fascinate and draw further insights into the couples. It's currently playing at the Cervantes Theatre .  A couple waits in a hospital waiting room for the outcome of an accident

Christmas Fare: A Christmas Carol @ORLTheatre

A Christmas Carol at the Old Red Lion Theatre is an enjoyable and evocative version of the tale that uses resourceful staging, some fine singing and subtle performances to tell Dickens' tale.

The story of ghosts, greed and goodwill is now a regular Christmas theatrical tradition and works best mixed with carols and some festive cheer.

There is a timeless element to this production. While there are nods to the Victorian period and the piece is faithful to the original story, the ensemble dress in contemporary clothes and use modern props as if to prompt you to ponder about the inequalities that exist today. There may not be workhouses but there still are the working poor.

Alexander McMorran as Scrooge is moody but never over the top. His transformation after being visited by the ghosts of past, present and future also avoids over-sentimentality.

The ensemble play a variety of characters but also provide vocal effects and commentary that add to the atmosphere and inventiveness of the piece. I particularly liked the interjection when Scrooge curses where they apologise for the audience having to see that.

An enjoyable 80 minutes of Christmas fare along with being a little thought-provoking as well. It runs through to January.

Photo credit: Production photo by Anna Söderblom

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