The Dog/The Cat, Hope Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

Dividing up shared belongings after a breakup is awful, but custody battles are even worse – even if they are over a pet. With emotions running high, fallouts are inevitable when it comes to who gets to keep Fluffy or Fido. These two, one-act plays explore relationship dynamics through a filter of pet ownership, though both struggle to translate big ideas into coherent storytelling.

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Follow Suit, VAULT Festival

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by guest critic Meredith Jones Russell

As you enter Follow Suit, four people dressed in variously ill-fitting suits stare back at you. When you leave 45 minutes later, you realise you’ve barely glanced away from them. And their gazes have hardly left yours either.

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Consumables, VAULT Festival

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by guest critic Gregory Forrest

A young drug-addicted porn star is looking for someone to kill and eat him. A clean-freak older man is looking for a good, tasty fantasy. So what happens to the carving knife? It’s a strong set up, and when cannibalistic fetishism is first introduced to Consumables – effectively delayed in Matthew Kyne Baskott’s’s script – the topic undoubtedly sticks in your throat.

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The War Has Not Yet Started, Southwark Playhouse

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by Laura Kressly

We may not be living in a war zone, but everyday life is a series of battles to be won or lost. These tiny fights may be life or death in the moment, but can feel silly, meaningless or absurd from an outsider’s perspective. This isn’t lost on Mikhail Durnenkov, who presents a sample of vignettes addressing problematic aspects of modern life, from mobile phone overuse to airport security.

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The Poetry of Exile, White Bear

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You can be who you want to be, right? Rob, a driving instructor in modern day Romford, believes himself to be an 8th century Chinese poet from the Tang Dynasty. When he finally chooses to live the sequestered life of a poet out on the marshes in a wooden hut, it has huge repercussions on his family and friends. The whole thing’s silly – sure, you can choose a career, or where you live, but contrary to what Rachel Dolezal and desperate sci-fi fans may think, we cannot chose our race or the century we live in.

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Ionesco/Dinner at the Smiths’, Latvian House

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By guest critic Archie Whyld

On arriving at the front door of Latvian House I am by a very smart, besuited Italian butler who refuses to let me in and won’t really give me a clear reason as to why. Had the performance begun? He suggests I get a drink at the bar in the basement but won’t allow me to take the most obvious and direct route to said bar; instead I use the tradesman’s outdoor, wrought iron steps entrance. The bar seems to be in Riga, Latvia, what with all its eastern Europe chic. I stand at the bar waiting to order. No one comes. Meanwhile Latvian drinkers enjoy interesting looking beers, chat in hushed tones and completely ignore me. I stand, thirsty, with multi-coloured disco ball lights streaking across my face. Is this all part of the performance? Or am I in a dream?

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