In Clay, VAULT Festival

by Zahid Fayyaz

This is my first show at the Vault Festival, which has been on hiatus until now since the pandemic started in 2020. London’s version of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, this is a wonderful festival in the tunnels underneath Waterloo station that hosts almost 2 months’ worth of new shows, cabaret and stand-up comedy.

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Project Atom Boi, VAULT Festival

By Luisa De la Concha Montes

Project Atom Boi follows the story of Yuanzi (Xiaonan Wang), a doomer who, pressured by a self-indulgent Filmmaker (Francesca Marcolina), starts re-exploring the memories of her childhood in China. Yuanzi grew up in Factory 404, a Cold War ghost town in the Gansu province that was built in the fifties with the sole purpose of hosting a nuclear weapon. As Yuanzi travels back in time, we also meet her childhood best friend Erdan and her grandfather (both played by Kelvin Chan).

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The Commitments, New Wimbledon Theatre

by Zahid Fayyaz

Originally from the Roddy Doyle book, which was also adapted into a wonderful Neil Jordan film, this is the latest touring
version of the musical, The Commitments. Set in 1980’s Dublin, this is the story of a young band coming together to ‘bring soul’ to Ireland, before it all falls apart. Featuring a great soundtrack of soul songs, this has been around in some form in the UK for the last 10 years, and for good reason.

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A Pissedmas Carol, Leicester Square Theatre

by Zahid Fayyaz

Shit-faced Showtime has returned to their London home, the Leicester Square Theatre, for their annual yuletide version of Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol. The USP of this particular Christmas Carol, to distinguish it from the other versions across the country, is that one member of the cast is completely hammered and the rest of the case have to work around and incorporate their drunken ramblings into the show. The cast also incorporate a number of contemporary songs into the narrative, which occasionally do not work, though not at the fault of their singing talent.

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The Lost Lending Library, Bernie Grant Arts Centre

by Tom Brocklehurst

Celebrated immersive theatre company Punchdrunk, currently performing across town to grown-ups in The Burnt City, prove that they have the capability to engage and enchant a younger audience as well through their educational arm, Punchdrunk Enrichment. All tickets are pay-what-you-can so it’s a brilliant incentive that allows access to families who might not otherwise be able to afford a family Christmas show across most of London.

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Little Red Robin Hood, Battersea Arts Centre

Ali Wright

by Romy Foster

This December, audiences of Battersea Arts Centre are transported to the vibrant forest of Cherwood where big bad wolves, beloved outlaws and worldwide superstars run amock. This inventive mash-up of the famous childhood classics Little Red Riding Hood and Robin Hood make an unlikely but hilarious twist as we follow the townspeople being terrorised by the sheriff of Nottingham in his wicked attempt to build a car park over the village.

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Handel’s Messiah: The Live Experience, Drury Lane Theatre

by Euan Vincent

When Handel wrote the Messiah in 1741, he faced fierce competition within the dwindling operagoing-market to get more bums on seats. Opera was seen as obtuse, elitist and too expensive (oh, how times have changed). Faced with this reticence, Handel wrote Messiah as an oratorio, which is similar to opera but isn’t typically staged, is written in English and focuses heavily on Christian themes – all of which were designed to broaden the appeal of his piece to the widest audience possible.

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Perfect Show for Rachel, Barbican Theatre

by Laura Kressly

Inclusion and engagement are a core part of Zoo Co, a theatre company of disabled and non-disabled artists that intrinsically embeds access in their work. This does does the same thing, though Artistic Director Flo O’Mahony takes a different approach to accessibility in this production. Inspired by her learning disabled sister Rachel’s joy in telling people what to do, this show is just for Rachel.

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Pinocchio, Unicorn Theatre

by Laura Kressly

As autumn turns into winter and Christmas approaches, the lonely toymaker Geppetto pleads with the blue moon gleaming over his village in the Italian alps, to make him a father. Luckily, the Blue Fairy hears him and brings to life the boy-sized puppet born from Geppetto’s despair. Her gift comes with a condition, however; The wooden child Pinocchio must learn how to be good by Christmas. If he doesn’t – and Geppetto fails at parenting – then he turns back into a toy. Like the iconic Disney film, many hair-raising adventures ensue, portrayed by the fantastic cast of five.

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