Elsa, VAULT Festival

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by an anonymous guest critic

Isobel Rogers delivers a spectacular one-woman performance, collating humorous millennial moments and sharing them in a unique musical format. As the show opens Rogers takes on the persona of ‘Elsa’, a bored, overqualified waitress who is dreaming of a life beyond her bill-paying day job, where she can actually do the career which she has a degree in. This is certainly a scenario most of the creative audience can relate to.

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Mission Abort, VAULT Festival

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by guest critic Serena Ramsey

One in three women will have an abortion at some point in their life. The chances are excellent that you know someone who has had one, but being such a taboo subject, we are conditioned to not discuss it.

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Providence, VAULT Festival

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by guest critic Tom Brocklehurst

We discover H P Lovecraft, cult horror writer from Providence, Rhode Island, standing on the banks of the Providence River in 1910 threatening to drown himself. In an It’s A Wonderful Life-style intervention, the ghost of Edgar Allen Poe (Dominic Allen) arrives to try to talk him around. We then flash forwards through the rest of Lovecraft’s life in this biographical comedy, with Poe helping him along the way.

It sounds like a strange idea for a play, but it’s a suitably bonkers device for a show about a weird man who wrote very weird tales.

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The Listening Room, Stratford East

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Can violent criminals be rehabilitated, and can their victims ever forgive them? The Listening Room says yes.

This verbatim piece tells the stories of three violent crimes, primarily from the perspective of the perpetrators. Some character background sets the scene for climactic moments where they commit their offences, but at least half of each of the five characters’ stories spotlights the rehabilitation process and mediation between the assailants and their victims.

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The Nassim Plays, Bush Theatre

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An actor stands on stage. They are handed a script they have never read before. A frank look at suicide, choice and learned behaviour unfolds after a menagerie of animal impressions.

An actor stands on stage. They are handed a script they have never read before. An hour of hilarious and revealing Mad Libs ensues.

An actor stands on stage. They are handed a script they have never read before. It’s a recipe that the actor must prepare whilst reflecting on the cultural importance and ritual of food.

An actor stands on stage. On the screen behind them, a script is projected they have never read before. Then there’s a live feed, a language lesson and a tender reflection on the meaning of home.

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Britney Spears: The Cabaret, The Other Palace

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by guest critic Michaela Clement-Hayes

When she first sprang onto the scene with her bunches, we all lost our minds. She was a cool teenager, singing about stuff that we were going through. Or at least we thought we were, but the truth was that we were younger than she was and didn’t really understand it. But we still loved her. And she had morals. Ish.

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Mrs Orwell, Old Red Lion Theatre

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by guest critic Simona Negretto

In 1949, George Orwell lived the final months of his life in University College Hospital due to a severe case of tuberculosis. Torn between an uncertain faith in a recovery and the consciousness of the approaching end, hoping to write again, he decided to marry Sonia Brownell, a young and beautiful magazine editor. The marriage, as the play keeps reminding us, was a sort of pragmatic contra-deal conceived more out of interests than of love.

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