Funeral Flowers, The Bunker

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by Laura Kressly

CW: rape and sexual assault

Making a bouquet of flowers is more than just bunging some random blooms in a vase. It takes care, thoughtfulness, skill and time to craft something beautiful and unique. People need that same sort of care and nurturing too, especially children and teenagers. This high stakes, solo performance shows the pressures that young women encounter daily, and how much they need support to grow and flourish in a world that is out to exploit them.

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Oral, Camden People’s Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

CW: sexual abuse

I don’t think much about my mouth. I’m not a fan of the dentist – who is? – but I quite love filling it with food. In any case, I don’t really put any thought into my relationship with it. Theatremaker and mental health activist Viv Gordon, on the other hand, relives a childhood scarred by oral abuse every time she gets her teeth checked. Brushing them makes her gag. Yet her experiences are often dismissed, ignored or patronised, making her feel invisible. She’s had more than enough of that, so she made a show that demands awareness of the survivor’s plight.

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Wolfie, Theatre503

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by Laura Kressly

Britain is a nasty, hostile landscape of bureaucracy for children in care. Their lives are at the mercy of under-resourced local councils, overworked social workers and teachers, and a hegemonic class system that sees them as unwelcome, sub-human burdens. The Sharky twins, the heroes of Ross Willis’ “some sort of fairytale”, fight to defy the government’s disregard for the hardship they endure and their odds of survival in this genre-bending, complex critique of the county’s failings to look after those who need it most.

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Waitress, Adelphi Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

Butter, sugar, flour – these pie crust ingredients form a comforting motif that gets Jenna through each day. There are her solace every morning as she bakes her insecurities, worries and feelings into pies that are served in a small-town American diner. The young waitress is full of hopes and dreams but her story, like the script that contains it, has another ingredient so thoroughly embedded in the narrative that it leaves such a nasty aftertaste that it overpowers everything else.

CW: abuse, abortion, assault

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Play Two, Tristan Bates Theatre

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By an anonymous guest critic

As the audience enters the small studio space, we see a young man scribbling animatedly on a legal pad. Whether he’s mentally troubled or just in an intense creative state, we’re not sure. The mystery of this young man named Trevor (played by the play’s author Scott Howland) unravels over the course of the next hour in this new production directed by Harriet Taylor.

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Velvet, Vault Festival

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by Gregory Forrest

A red velvet chaise-lounge is a telling symbol. Positioned in the middle of the stage, the piece of furniture manages to evokes tacky luxury, softcore porn, and casting couch culture all at once. It is just one example of how smart Tom Ratcliffe’s one man show Velvet is.

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Thriller Live, Lyric Theatre

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by Louis Train

Thriller Live, the Michael Jackson concert show on the West End, celebrated its tenth anniversary last night with a performance and a reception. The performance was great fun and the reception was tasteful, and the evening, overall, was a success. But I feel there were some lingering questions that neither the personalities on stage nor at the party can answer.

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