for all the women who thought they were Mad, Stoke Newington Town Hall

by Laura Kressly

Joy is 40 years old, a successful businesswoman, and happily childfree. She is also up for a significant promotion, puts in long hours in a stressful job, and faces daily microaggressions from a systemically racist and misogynistic society. When she witnesses a woman jump from the roof of the 40-storey office block where she works, the experience combines with the societal pressure and violence Black women experience – represented by a chorus of Black women – threatening to completely overwhelm her.

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The Mystery of the Raddlesham Mumps, Wilton’s Music Hall

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by Laura Kressly

Seven-year-old Crispin, newly orphaned and the last remaining member of the Clumps family, has inherited a creepy, country pile called Raddlesham Mumps. Managed by an ancient butler who could have stepped out of a Dickens novel or The Addam’s Family, of course there’s more to this house than meets the eye. The bright and articulate child questions what seem to be supernatural forces and a familial curse, but the answers he gets in this narrative poem are far from savoury.

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River in the Sky, Hope Theatre

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By Laura Kressly

Waves quietly break along the beach outside a remote holiday home. A woman drinks Earl Gray, eats biscuits and mourns her infant son. Her husband checks on her regularly, but within the icy sea of debilitating grief, they’ve lost the ability to communicate other than through fantastical stories of mythical creatures. Time all but stops in this sparsely-written series of snapshots depicting a couple trying their best to piece their lives together after a tragedy.

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Lunatic 19’s, Finborough Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

As ICE parasitically invade peaceful American neighbourhoods and imprisons people in concentration camps, the country’s president spaffs racism from his twitter feed and white supremacists take to the streets. Life for immigrants in the US, documented or not, is terrifying right now and Tegan McLeod’s “deportational road trip”, certainly proves this. Though immigration control and the human face it takes on here is horrifying, McLeod’s script never quite settles on the narrative she wants to tell.

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Pizza Shop Heroes, Tara Arts

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by Laura Kressly

In an unassuming takeaway pizza place somewhere in London, four men answer the phones and process orders. They also reminisce about the journeys that led them there. From Afghanistan, Albania and Eritrea, they made their ways through war zones, deserts and detainment centres on their own, as children. Now they’re adults with hopes and dreams like anyone, but they are irrevocably shaped by their experienced as children seeking safety in a country that’s doing its best to deter them, and others like them, from living safe and peaceful lives. It’s time for us to listen to what they have to say.

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CLASS, Bush Theatre

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by an anonymous guest critic

CLASS, a play from Ireland co-written and directed by Iseult Golden and David Horan, is set around a teacher-parent meeting in a Dublin primary school. The teacher, Mr McAfferty (Will O’Connell), is a seemingly conscientious man who takes his job seriously. He invites the parents of one of his students, nine-year-old Jayden, to discuss his literacy learning difficulties.

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Why the Child is Cooking in the Polenta, Gate Theatre

by Louis Train

Why the Child is Cooking in the Polenta is an odd show, odder even than the name promises. Edith Alibec stars as a young Romanian woman, pre-pubescent in the earliest scenes, who grows up in a traveling circus where her mother hangs from the big top by her hair. The play is based on Aglja Veteranyi’s autobiographical novel of the same name.

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