West End Eurovision, Shaftesbury Theatre

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by guest critic Joanna Trainor

There can’t be anything more theatrical than Eurovision, right? Well actually MAD Trust’s West End Eurovision is back, combining big musicals with everyone’s favourite European (ish) song contest, and it’s as wonderfully stagey as you’d imagine.

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The Bekkrell Effect, Roundhouse

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by guest critic Rebecca JS Nice

Groupe Bekkrell at CircusFest 2018 presents four women with a climbing rope, teeter board, tight rope, Chinese pole and one energetic stage hand. Four women dressed in tweed and a stage rigged with lights directly at its edge sit tiny as a nucleus within the vast empty dome of the interior of The Roundhouse. Despite the booming base and explosive soundtrack, the work has a gentle expansive presence that dwarfs its surroundings by the time it comes to an end.

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The Gulf, Tristan Bates Theatre

by guest critic Meredith Jones Russell

All is not as tranquil as it seems on a quiet shallow of the Gulf of Mexico – Kendra and Betty sit on a boat one afternoon ostensibly to fish, but in reality to thrash out their relationship. As night sets in, they begin to wonder whether they can ever escape where they have ended up.

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Light Show, Lincoln Center

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by guest critic Steven Strauss

Oily Cart has been producing immersive theatre since long before the current craze became so popular the world over. 

This company specializes in creating pieces for the very young and kids on the autism spectrum. And thanks to Lincoln Center’s hopefully-inaugural Big Umbrella Festival — the first of its kind revolved entirely around such audiences — this New Yorker was finally provided an opportunity to experience their work in person. 

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Coconut, Ovalhouse

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by guest critic Joanna Trainor

Rumi (Kuran Dohil) is a Muslim atheist, having to hide huge chunks of her life from her family. Including her new, white, non-Muslim boyfriend, Simon. What could possibly go wrong?

Coconut is one of those plays where each person who watches it will take away or resonate with something different, for me it was the role religion plays in our lives.

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Interview | ‘All roads lead to Tim Webb’: Peg Schuler-Armstrong on working with Oily Cart

by guest writer Steven Strauss

New York’s Lincoln Center invited UK-based Oily Cart to be one of three theatres from outside the US to perform at the Big Umbrella Festival, the first of its kind dedicated to such audiences.

In addition to Oily Cart’s Light Show, the one-month festival includes other one-off events, symposiums, and professional development opportunities for artists, arts professionals, presenters, and audience members interested in expanding the theatrical spotlight on this shamefully under-served community.

Simply put, major theatres around the world should really be funding such festivals all the time. To find out more about the process of bringing the Big Umbrella Festival to life, we interviewed Peg Schuler-Armstrong, the Director of Programming and Production for Lincoln Center Education, the organizers of the festival.

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How to Be a Londoner in an Hour, Centre17

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by guest critic Meredith Jones Russell

How to Be a Londoner in an Hour is part of a “politically charged” season at new venue Centre17 in Walthamstow. “Politically charged” wouldn’t be the most obvious way to describe How to Be…, unless you count repeated references to Boris Johnson, who hasn’t actually been London mayor for two years.

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