The Ice Cream Boys, Jermyn Street Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

Jacob Zuma, the retired president of South Africa, is in hospital for some tests. On checking into his room he discovers his nemesis, former Minister of Intelligence Ronnie Kasrils, in the room opposite. The two men have a long and complex history that unfolds over the course of Gail Louw’s play as a dialogue-driven wrestling match. Though their relationship has plenty of material to fuel discussions and augments about revolution, women, race and South Africa’s history, the plot meanders through topics rather than telling a cohesive story. Strong performances make this an engaging production minute-by-minute, but the overall result is not satisfying.

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What Girls Are Made Of, Soho Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

When Cora Bissett was 17, she joined a band. It’s the stuff of many indie kids’ school days, but Darlingheart found overnight success. They went from tiny venues to opening for the biggest britpop bands in the country in an extraordinarily short time, but their fame was just as short-lived. Bissett’s show, assembled from the diaries she kept as a child and into adulthood, chronicles her rise to fame and subsequent readjustment to real life. Tenacity, banging tunes and engaging storytelling celebrate Bissett’s resilience whilst critiquing the music industry in this vibrant gig-theatre piece.

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Shackleton’s Carpenter, Jermyn Street Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

In 1914 Sir Earnest Shackleton set off to cross Antarctica via the South Pole, but the mission was cut short when one of the two ships froze in an ice floe that eventually crushed it. Miraculously, the men were able to seek help due to the ship’s carpenter repurposing the life boats to make them suitable for long journeys in turbulent water. That carpenter’s name was Harry McNish, and in his dying days on a New Zealand dock, he relives his memories of that voyage.

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The Dark, Ovalhouse

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by Romy Foster

The Dark is an exhilarating and personal journey through the dusty backroads of Uganda in 1979. Jumping between then and present day, Michael Balogun tenderly tells author Nick Makoha’s story of how he and his mother escaped the terror of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin’s reign and crossed the border heading for the UK when he was four years old.

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My Love Lays Frozen in the Ice, Greenwich Theatre

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by Romy Foster

As funky European folk music fills the air, actors buzz about the auditorium during the audience incoming, handing out vodka shots to the audience. Everyone is excited and the atmosphere is electric, setting us up for a feel-good show. Actually, My Love Lays Frozen In The Ice follows Mathilde (Jodie Davey) and her heart-breaking tale of how her finance, brother and friend died many years ago in a tragic accident.

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The Wider Earth, Natural History Museum

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by Laura Kressly

Newly-minted Cambridge graduate Charles Darwin wants to collect insects and rocks, but his father wants him to enter the clergy. When one of his lecturers recommends him for the positions of resident naturalist onboard Naval ship The Beagle, the 22-year-old jumps at the chance. Over the next five years he sails the world, collects specimens and constructs ideas that eventually become On the Origin of Species. He is also a part of an imperialist mission ridden with Christian colonial attitudes that, in this script, are disappointingly excused in favour of spectacular design.

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