for all the women who thought they were Mad, Stoke Newington Town Hall

by Laura Kressly

Joy is 40 years old, a successful businesswoman, and happily childfree. She is also up for a significant promotion, puts in long hours in a stressful job, and faces daily microaggressions from a systemically racist and misogynistic society. When she witnesses a woman jump from the roof of the 40-storey office block where she works, the experience combines with the societal pressure and violence Black women experience – represented by a chorus of Black women – threatening to completely overwhelm her.

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Red Palace, The Vaults

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by Laura Kressly

In an unnamed kingdom long ago, the prince celebrates ruling for 1000 days despite a prophesy saying that his reign will only be that long. He is convinced he defeated the fates, so has invited his citizens – nobles and peasants – to explore the wonders of his palace in a night of feasting and debauchery. Exploiting the Vaults’ atmospheric tunnels, writer Cressida Peever draws on Edgar Allan Poe and the Brothers Grimm to create this promenade and gently immersive, dark fairytale.

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Out of Sorts, Theatre503

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by Laura Kressly

Zara lives with Alice, her best friend from uni. They work for the same law firm and party with the same friends, but their similarities largely end there. Alice is white and from a wealthy family, whereas Zara’s parents are working class, Muslim refugees from the Middle East. The class and race differences between the two women add to the increasing pressure on Zara to live up to the opposing ideals of the two cultures she inhabits, making her feel out of place in both. But how long can she keep up this balancing act before the strain becomes too much to manage?

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Mission Creep, White Bear Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

Nuclear war has broken out and most of North America has been destroyed. The bombs are getting closer to London, and there are fewer escape options now that the borders are closed. There’s a sex commune in Wales, or the opportunity to join an alien species on another planet seeking a cis het couple to perpetuate the human race. Liam and Tess have applied for the latter.

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The Mystery of the Raddlesham Mumps, Wilton’s Music Hall

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by Laura Kressly

Seven-year-old Crispin, newly orphaned and the last remaining member of the Clumps family, has inherited a creepy, country pile called Raddlesham Mumps. Managed by an ancient butler who could have stepped out of a Dickens novel or The Addam’s Family, of course there’s more to this house than meets the eye. The bright and articulate child questions what seem to be supernatural forces and a familial curse, but the answers he gets in this narrative poem are far from savoury.

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The Ice Cream Boys, Jermyn Street Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

Jacob Zuma, the retired president of South Africa, is in hospital for some tests. On checking into his room he discovers his nemesis, former Minister of Intelligence Ronnie Kasrils, in the room opposite. The two men have a long and complex history that unfolds over the course of Gail Louw’s play as a dialogue-driven wrestling match. Though their relationship has plenty of material to fuel discussions and augments about revolution, women, race and South Africa’s history, the plot meanders through topics rather than telling a cohesive story. Strong performances make this an engaging production minute-by-minute, but the overall result is not satisfying.

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Mephisto [A Rhapsody], Gate Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

Aymeric has been working at the Balbek Theatre, in a small town miles away from the nation’s capital, its culture and politics, for five years. He longs for fame, excitement and to leave the relentless monotony of provincial life behind him and will do anything to achieve these goals. Along with his discontent, right-wing sentiment grows across the country. In the capital, the ‘liberal elite’ make great art, drink champagne and argue over how, as state-funded artists, they should respond to the rising fascism – or if they can at all.

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