After previous runs at the Soho Theatre in the upstairs space and at Edinburgh Fringe, this American comedian returns to the to the bigger cabaret space for her most recent, hour-long set. This is the story of Emily Wilson’s starring role in the first X-Factor USA, first as part of a duo and then later in an ill-advised, 10 kid group.
Nina, an achingly cool yet awkward young Londoner, wasn’t expecting to meet Gabriel at a BBQ in Tooting, but she does. Their burgeoning relationship seems perfect. Descriptions of dates, parties, meeting each others’ families and moving in together feel natural and healthy, until things start to deteriorate. Moments that were previously joyful become tense, and physical affection is now forceful. As much as this is a monologue about falling in love, it’s also a piece about its deterioration into abuse and finding a way out.
Operation Desert Storm. An English primary school. Guantanamo Bay. The Green Zone. A village in Afghanistan. These are some of the places where writer Sînziana Cojocărescu situates individual stories of colonisation and oppression. Informed by interviews with over 90 people involved in or survivors of war and conflict, as well as activists and researchers, the resulting collage of violence forces audiences to reckon with white western imperialism.
Kate is a 30-something woman in Belfast expecting her first child with her husband, Brendy. At the same time, Northern Ireland and its political parties have announced that peace is finally coming. Though Kate and her country should be looking forward, she is troubled by recurring abdominal pain and memories from her past that threaten the peace she has made for herself.
As part of Clean Break’s 40th anniversary celebrations, this outdoor, in-person production showcases some of the work the company created over the past year. The collection of short monologues created by Clean Break members and associate artists all share stories of loss, isolation and loneliness, which are further contextualised by lived experiences of incarceration. The character-driven pieces are remarkable examples of human resilience in the face of systemic oppression and a criminal justice system that is punitive and cruel.
The first pub theatre reopening after 5 months of COVID-19 closure feels like a celebration of survival. Given the governmental neglect of the theatre industry has faced since lockdown started, and the number of job losses this has caused across the industry, a tiny space in Clapham being able to stage its first socially-distanced, indoor production is huge. However, this unassuming new play by Michael Dunbar is more of a tangled character study that, though largely well-performed, consists of under-developed subplots and good intentions that aren’t effectively conveyed.
Patricia has spent the past year constructing the perfect speech to deliver to the man who used to hit her. Patricia now has to decide if she is going to go have dinner with him, what she is going to say, how she is going to say this, as well as what she is going to wear.
Kevin arrives at his last call-out for the day, a dilapidated house in the middle of a forest near where he grew up. Li Na presents him with a washing machine that no longer spins, but as Kevin attempts to repair it, there are obvious hints that the machine isn’t the only thing that’s broken. Intertwining mythical and personal histories, Julie Tsang’s horror story is a compelling blend of the supernatural and the real.
A new Caryl Churchill play is a special occasion, but four at once is a treat. Radically different in tone and theme, this collection ranges from pleasantly surreal to shocking and strange. Though they stand alone as short plays, as a whole they take on an array of society’s ills – but the pronounced concepts that Churchill is known for occasionally stale here, despite regular moments of brilliance.
It initially seems like a harmless premise – after a tween boy in early 90s New Jersey is embarrassed in front of the girl he has a crush on, he makes a wish that he was bigger on a fortune telling game at the carnival passing through town. On waking up the next morning, he discovers he’s still 12 years old, but in the body of a grown man. Though his mum chases him out of the house, his best friend Billy offers to help him track down the machine and reverse the spell.