Pericles Prince de Tyr, Barbican

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by Laura Kressly

Flawless royal blue walls reminiscent of the sea surround an unresponsive, middle aged man lying in a hospital bed. Nurses and a doctor flit in an out, efficiently checking vitals and holding quick, whispered conversations with waiting family. This is Pericles, physically and mentally buffeted by a life of grief and tragedy, but this is not quite the story of Pericles that Shakespeare and Wilkins co-wrote. Translated into French and then adapted, Cheek by Jowl here present a man in poor physical and mental health trapped inside his head, in a world composed either of memories or the figments of his imagination.

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Plastic, Old Red Lion Theatre

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by guest critic Joanna Trainor

“Think Columbine, think Virgina Tech, think Sandy Hook.”

Teenage Ben repeats this again and again in order to calm his nerves when he’s being mercilessly mocked by the football team. Less than two months after the Parkland shootings these words don’t sit right. In Ben’s mouth they sound blasé, and they’re not.

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Big Bad, VAULT Festival

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by Laura Kressly

A woman is chained up in a damp cell. Alone, she is watched by an unseen group of men, afraid of her power. She rants, lectures and mocks them, gradually exposing the real reason she is imprisoned. It’s a pretty horrible thing, but her story of abuse, sexual power and society’s fear of strong women echoes like the howl of a wolf.

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Boots, VAULT Festival

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by guest critic Lara Alier

Willow is a 35-year-old chemist who works at Boots and is writing a scientific journal. Liz is an older woman who takes care of her sick husband and spends half of her time  walking in the woods. They both become curious about the other,  and eventually care for each other. The non-judgmental writing creates really round characters with many different layers.

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Girls & Boys, Royal Court

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by Laura Kressly

A woman stands on a pastel blue stage and starts at the beginning. She tells us a love story – how she met a man in an airport, fell in love and built a life with him. Great jobs, a family, a house, the full works. It’s perfect. Until it’s not.

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