The Canary and the Crow, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

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by Meredith Jones Russell

In this semi-autobiographical tale of a working-class Black kid who gets in to a prestigious grammar school, writer and performer Daniel Ward is an insanely likeable and undeniably talented focus. His character, Bird, draws us immediately into his story with warmth and charm, accompanied by original grime and hip-hop tunes.

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80 Days: A Real-World Adventure, Underbelly Southbank

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By Meredith Jones Russell

Loosely based on Jules Verne’s classic adventure novel Around the World in 80 Days, Fire Hazard Games’ new immersive game 80 Days: A Real-World Adventure invites groups to race across central London solving clues, raising funds, making critical expedition purchases and deciding whether or not to trust the characters they meet along the way.

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The Flies – Les Mouches, Bunker Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

Jean-Paul Sartre wrote this in 1943, at the height of Nazi occupation of Europe. The adaptation of the Orestes myth centres on the city of Argos, ruled by King Aegisthus, who deposed and killed the previous ruler Agamemnon 15 years previously. Aegisthus then married Agamemnon’s wife Clytemnestra, enslaved their daughter Electra, and sent the young Orestes out into the woods to die. Since then, the city has been plagued by giant flies and the civilians must lead sombre and mournful lives – but Orestes has now returned to exact his revenge. This update is well-staged with a clear aesthetic, but the pace is often too slow for the high-stakes story.

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Outrageous Fortune, Greenwich Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

It’s 2019 and we’re in purgatory. Some (many?) might say hell, considering the late capitalist nightmare and and rise of right-wing extremism, but Gertrude, former Queen of Denmark, has assured us we’ve arrived in purgatory and will shortly be assigned to our own, personal patches of dusty, red rock.

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Dead Dog in a Suitcase, Lyric Hammersmith

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by Laura Kressly

John Gay wrote The Beggar’s Opera in 1728 to reflect a London ridden with corrupt and dangerous politicians, inequality and violence. Not much has changed in those nearly 200 years, then. Kneehigh updates the story to a rundown coastal town where all the citizens resort to cold-hearted ruthlessness in the name of survival, resulting in an extravaganza of murder, betrayal and spectacle.

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Operation Mincemeat, New Diorama

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By Laura Kressly

Musical theatre excels at turning an otherwise serious subject into an extravaganza of high camp. Though it’s easy to dismiss such approaches as light and frivolous, SpitLip – a new company formed by members from Kill the Beast and Felix Hagen & the Family – tell the true story of a British intelligence operation with plenty of panache and satirical social commentary (and heaps of high camp) in this smashing new show.

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Drag Becomes Her, Soho Theatre

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by Maeve Campbell

Drag auteur Peaches Christ has made their name as an adaptor of cult movies, directing the great and good of Ru-Paul’s Drag Race in leading roles. Drag Becomes Her stars charming long-term collaborator Jinx Monsoon and the ‘terminally delightful’ Ben DeLaCreme in the Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn film roles. What results is a raucous hour and half-long mess of a show, that’s both stressful and exciting to watch.

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