Elixir, Underbelly Southbank

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by guest critic Rebecca JS Nice

Elixir’s programming at Edinburgh Festival 2016 packed out the purple cow and Thomas Gorham, Rowan Thomas and Cal Harris filled the expansive space with charisma and flying bodies. Playing to a much more intimate audience in the Underbelly’s Spiegeltent this year, Australian company Head First Acrobats carefully adapt their relationship with the audience which is bought right up close to a whizzing cyr wheel and regurgitated tonic water.

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Bingo, Pleasance Theatre

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by guest critic Amy Toledano

Bingo hits you right where it hurts in this one-man comedy show at The Pleasance Theatre. With its mile-a-minute comedy stylings and all-too-relatable references to the difficulties of being an artist in London, Bingo with have you gasp-laughing the entire time.

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The Unbuilt City, King’s Head Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

Claudia is a reclusive collector whiling away the time in her Brooklyn Heights townhouse overlooking the East River and lower Manhattan. Jonah is a young writer day jobbing for his old university’s academic archives. He’s been sent to see if Claudia has a priceless item, long thought lost, hidden away in her home. As her life approaches it’s midnight hour, she is desperate to cling to the last thing that gives her some power and Jonah is desperate to win this commission which would financially secure his immediate future.

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The End of History, St Giles in the Field

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Paul (Chris Polick) is a London property developer. He’s a smooth talker and wears impeccably cut, expensive looking suits. He goes to exclusive chillouts where he takes pills and fucks men he doesn’t know. He’s waiting for the clinic to phone.

Wendy’s (Sarah Malin) an art therapist for a few different charities. She’s a liberal activist, and works with homeless people when budgets allow. She and her boyfriend Dave have just split up so moved out and has no where to go. With luggage in tow and work in the morning, she’s reached the end of the line.

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San Domino, Tristan Bates Theatre

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by guest critic Gregory Forrest

I really wanted to love this.

A new musical about gay men under Mussolini (politically, if not physically) sounds so exciting. Silvio Berlusconi’s claim that ‘Mussolini never killed people, just sent them to holiday camps’ brushes off the dark reality of imprisonment, violence, and unrecorded deaths. Yet by clearing out the closet, government officials gave gay men in particular the freedom to live openly and form tentative relationships in their Mediterranean exile. It was a queerly liberating sea breeze.

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Cafe Society Swing, Theatre Royal Stratford East

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by an anonymous guest critic

An evening of spectacular performances depict the true story of New York’s first jazz club, Cafe Society, run by immigrants and allowed black and white audiences to integrate. The club’s audiences watched the most talented performers of their time, including Billie Holiday, who gave her first performance of harrowingly beautiful lynching song ‘Strange Fruit’ there.

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Translations, National Theatre

National Theatre

By Laura Kressly

Mud covers the Olivier stage. It’s dark, nearly black, thick and peaty. The ‘emerald’ part of the Emerald Isle is pointedly absent. The muck’s heavy and pervasive, working its way into every crevice of the rural hedge school where students of all ages learn Latin and Greek. They don’t mind the mud. But the British soldiers that come with their imposing colonisation, also working its way into nook and cranny? That’s where the villagers take issue.

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