Feature | Top Ten Shows of 2018

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by Laura Kressly

Growing global discontent has been the hallmark of 2018, and 2019 is looking even worse. The last few years have marked a rise of the far-right, but theatremakers in opposition are letting audiences know it from the stage. Some of the best shows of this year show anger, fear, uncertainty or simply let the world know that enough is enough – it’s time for a fairer, more peaceful society that pays homage to all of its people.

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Drip, Bush Theatre

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by Amy Toledano

In anyone fifteen years old, emotions are running high. Everything feels bigger and more extreme than it actually is, so it’s easy to be swallowed up by all the feelings. Add on top of that being queer in the North of the UK, and the teen years are bound to be an absolute rollercoaster. Drip is a lovely reminder of what it feels like to be young, and how important friendship is.

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Lands, Bush Theatre

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By Laura Kressly

A woman sits at a drawing table analysing jigsaw puzzle pieces under an anglepoise lamp. On the other side of the stage, another woman rhythmically bounces on a small trampoline. What starts off as just another post-narrative, young theatre piece becomes a satisfyingly layered work questioning subjects as wide-ranging as ableism, friendship and polarising opinions. 

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Parliament Square, Bush Theatre

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by guest critic Nastazja Somers

James Fritz’s Parliament Square, the winner of 2015 Bruntwood Prize Judges Award, is an
ambitious piece. It explores the human desire for change whilst posing important questions about the significance of protests and martyrdom. Dramaturgically, Fritz’s proves himself to be a vital voice yet this production does not hit its full potential.

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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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Heather, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

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Harry receives a children’s book manuscript from an unknown writer, Heather Eames. Impressed, he wants to discuss an advance, rights and making her book the Next Big Thing, but Heather’s based outside of London, heavily pregnant and ill. It doesn’t really matter that they can’t meet in person, so they move forward with negotiating. Three books, several films and endless merchandise later, the public are desperate to meet this mysterious author. But she still refuses to meet her publisher or her fans. Harry pushes and pushes until the truth is revealed.

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Hir, Bush Theatre

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Issac is returning home after a three-year stint as a US marine where his job was to pick up body parts after front line attacks. He longs for the peace and quiet of his nuclear family and the familiarity of middle America so he can make peace with the demons of war. But on opening the door of the house he grew up in, he discovers a revolution has taken place on the home front. After a stroke turned his father into a near vegetable, his mother is avenging years of abuse. His sister Maxine has transitioned to Max. Both mom and Max have rejected social conventions and are living in an anarchic mess of laundry, dishes and socio-political soundbites.

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